Almost 2 weeks ago, "L" posted thoughts on a change of heart, which stemmed from the LDS Family Services' Addiction Recovery Manual, Step 6: KEY PRINCIPLE: Become entirely ready to have God remove all your character weaknesses.
Admittedly, I struggle with the concept of healing, and was feeling a willingness to be exposed at the moment I left this comment in response to L's ideas:
"A Change of Heart...Bobbing up and down, as I tend to do in life, is the hardest thing for me to deal with in my faith. How many times will I make the same stupid mistakes and acknowledge that yet again, my randomness doesn't work or bring me fulfillment? It's hard to pray always, read the scriptures with real intent and maintain fervent belief when my behavior seems all over the board. I'm a perfectionist and I doubt I'll ever be perfectly happy with myself. It's not that I lack love for the Lord or that I don't try hard--I do. But carrying on with faithful desire, realizing that I probably won't measure up in the end to the Lord's standards, based on my prior performance, is the angst I struggle with most."
Now, it is my belief that to admit to sin and weakness is not self-loathing, but a vital step in the process of change and improvement. However, if we are trapped in a cycle of failure and self-condemnation, then we often don't like ourselves very much, and it's hard to have faith in anything. So, how can we overcome feelings of inadequacy, be patient with ourselves, and experience a lasting change of heart? At times it seems so overwhelming.
I think we need to be willing, have faith it will happen and accept the Grace that is already evident in our lives.
I also think the answers are in Steps 7 through 12: humility, seeking forgiveness, restitution and reconciliation, daily accountability, personal revelation and service. This is simply the gospel plan. Our overcoming will probably not be a "poof (!) then gone" experience for us. This doesn't seem to be the typical healing we see in the lives of any saints, SSA or otherwise.
Growth for me seems slow, like the dews from heaven. Yet I can look back on my life and realize much progress. But my immediate-gratification self longs for more spirituality, especially the rich spirtual blessings detailed in my Patriarchal Blessing. I ask myself,
"Will I ever achieve these in my lifetime?"
When I'm distracted with self-doubt, bobbing up and down between spirituality and failure, the answer is usually, "No."
When I'm on the upswing, grateful for my many blessings, filled with love for my wife and family and in control of my angst and attractions, the answer is:
"Yes, God willing."