Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Coping Strategy: D&C 58:27-28

Not long before I served my mission, the mission where I served had a binder of specific mission-rules beyond those in the white handbook. This is actually pretty common I've heard. However, shortly before I got to my mission my mission president arrived and made a number of changes, including doing away with the binder of other rules. In that way, he gave the mission a "longer leash" be leaving their obedience up to the handbook, Preach My Gospel, and the Spirit. You would think that this would lead to more disobedience problems, as a longer rope also makes it easier to hang yourself. While a few missionaries maybe took that route, the majority actually IMPROVED their obedience, because my mission president did something else as well. He very rarely pounded on rules. We knew that the expectation of obedience was a given that shouldn't need constant reminding. As he put it, he wasn't there to play babysitter. He was there to help people find salvation. So, what he did instead of emphasizing obedience was emphasizing work ethic. He taught us to work like crazy and we did. It was hard, but so rewarding and caused miracles across the mission. By focusing on work ethic, obedience actually fixed itself. You see, we simply didn't have time to get into trouble! If you are too busy doing good things, there is no time left for sin. That's why a great way to solve problems with sins of commission is to focus on solving your sins of omission.

Quite appropriately, the scripture I chose for my missionary plaque (before I'd even left) was D&C 58:27-28, which says:

Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

This has proved throughout my life to be one of the best coping strategies for temptation. I've mentioned in another post that I suffer from a chronic form of insomnia and how prone that can make a person to temptations. It is a really bad idea to be awake all alone in the middle of the night in a world with so many ready temptations as ours. So, fill your life with good causes in which you are anxiously engaged. If you actually have time to look at pornography or masturbate, you could probably use another commitment to keep you busy. Add another class for fun to expand your mind in a wholesome subject. Join a club. Take up a hobby. Volunteer with a non-profit. Get a second job. Visit friends in need of help or fellowship.

Now, be careful not to spread yourself to thin of course, but you'd be surprised how much you can get done in a day! (Of course you can do even more if you don't sleep, but if you're not like me I don't recommend trying that). I also offer this warning: being busy can become addictive! I am absolutely addicted to being busy. I'm involved in tons of classes, organizations, etc. but I love every one of them and have found many opportunities to help others and bless the world through the causes I've embraced. I just sometimes need to learn when NOT to take another commitment on. Just follow the Spirit though and He'll let you know where you can be a positive force for good. When I felt prompted to start this blog I told God that there's no way I'd ever have time to work on it. He told me to try it and see. I've actually gotten more caught up on homework and other commitments SINCE I started it than I've been in weeks! God's tricky like that sometimes. Only He can throw you a new commitment and then help you come out feeling like you have MORE time than you did before! Thus does He bless those who take the time to seek out good causes and ask Him if they should proceed and then respond quickly. If not, then we become like those described in the next verse in the Doctrine and Covenants. Here's verse 29:

"But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned."

Eek. Now, bare in mind that "damned" means a halt in progression. If you want to move forward out of sin, or simply forward in righteousness, you need to be proactive in good causes. If you hesitate to take what the Lord gives you, you are't able to move forward, and in that way you are damned. We are all probably somewhere between the two: between slothfulness and anxious engagement; between damnation and salvation. The good news is, as long as we are trying and moving forward--even if it seems like a slow progress despite all our efforts--we've been promised a happy ending! Don't spend a minute fretting over the "damned" part. Fill that minute instead with a worthy cause, and you won't need to worry about it anyway! :) There are many blessings waiting to be discovered along the way as you do so.

My best,


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment or leave questions. Just be aware that I moderate all comments before posting. I won't post things that are offensive. I will post controversial comments and questions so long as they aren't mean-spirited. I'd love to hear your comments and answer questions; just play nice! :)