Monthly Archives: February 2016

Six Points to Discern the Lord’s Will

Richard G Scott quote re discerning the Lord's will.In this quote, Elder Scott expressed in elegant simplicity what it looks like to live in Step 11: “Seek through prayer and meditation to know the Lord’s will and to have the power to carry it out.” Elder Scott points out that our success in doing this is contingent upon our spiritual preparation to receive two important blessings: knowledge of the Lord’s will for us and the power and willingness to carry it out. In this post I am focusing on the first, discerning the Lord’s will.

The Lord will not compel us to do what would be best for us. That was Satan’s plan. He rarely hits us over the head with personal revelation, either. The Lord’s plan is to allow us to choose our attitudes, work ethic, and activity level. He will grant unto us those things we request which are in harmony with His will, if we do the work necessary to receive them. Two of Elder Scott’s conference talks (“How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life” and “To Acquire Spiritual Guidance“) give us a glimpse of the importance of personal revelation to him and how he went about receiving knowledge of the Lord’s will for him.

What does it take to be spiritually prepared to receive this personal revelation? I think it takes work! Here are six things that I have found to be personally helpful to me as I strive to “live to be worthy to know the will of the Lord and to live to have, with his help, the capacity and courage to carry out that will—and to desire nothing else,” as Elder Scott says.

  1. I have to humble myself and become willing to receive knowledge of the Lord’s will even when it is not what I was hoping for.
  2. I have to spend time in the scriptures, not necessarily to find answers there, but to learn to recognize the voice of the Lord, and to quiet my mind and prepare myself to be able to hear with spiritual ears the message the Lord has for me.
  3. Working my own program – reading the ARP Guide and other 12-Step books and implementing in my life the way of living described there – clears away many stumbling blocks and impediments to receiving knowledge of the Lord’s will.
  4. Spending time talking to others who are living in a state of recovery helps me feel more able to receive knowledge of the Lord’s will, both directly from Him, and in the words and examples of those I talk to.
  5. Writing is, for me, one of the most effective and helpful tools for receiving personal revelation. (See Tools: Quality Prayer.)
  6. Once I receive knowledge of the Lord’s will for me I must act upon it.

I have found that if I do not act upon my promptings quickly, the moment can pass, and I miss out on the blessings that might have been mine. I have also found that if I ignore the promptings I receive for an extended period of time, I lose some of my ability to hear and understand what the Lord would have me do. Sometimes I don’t act because I feel overwhelmed; sometimes because I am afraid. When the Lord wants me to go outside of my comfort zone I tend to question whether I heard Him correctly. Of course He wants me to go outside of my comfort zone! He wants me to grow and reach my full potential! He isn’t finished with me yet.

  • Step 11 says, “Seek through prayer and meditation to know the Lord’s will and to have the power to carry it out.” How satisfied are you with your prayer and meditation practice?
  • How confident are you that you are able to discern the Lord’s will for you?
  • What are you willing to do today to improve in this area?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts: On Being a Perfect RosebudPrayer, Meditation and PonderingTuning In,


A Quick Look at Codependency

Image of parents arguing and daughter covering her ears.
Copyright: ejwhite / 123RF Stock Photo

A reader recently asked me if this blog has any posts about codependency. She wanted to know what it is and how to tell if you struggle with it. I haven’t written much about codependency, although I do struggle with it. Much has been published on the subject by experts in the field. I am not an expert. However, here are my own observations.

Definition of Codependency

I use the term “codependency” to describe someone in a relationship in which s/he is obsessed with the dysfunctional behavior of another to the extent that his or her own life is being compromised. Usually the other person is an addict, in poor mental or physical health, irresponsible, or an underachiever. The codependent person is obsessed with trying to make things better for their loved one. Once the pattern of codependency has been established in someone’s life, it often happens that they “collect” dysfunctional friends and loved ones who are perfectly willing to have someone enable their bad behavior, even if the price is listening to them nag or berate them.

Someone once told me that “virtue out of balance” is a shortcoming. In the mind of a codependent, their obsession with and attempt to fix their loved one is an expression of their love. But it is not healthy love. We have been counseled to love as Christ does. Christ loves us by accepting us for who we are unconditionally, and allowing us to experience the consequences of our choices. Christ loves us by not doing for us what we can do for ourselves, even if we choose not to. He will not force us or beg us to do what would be in our own best interest. He doesn’t try to manipulate us nor does He allow us to manipulate Him. If we ask Him, He will give us direction, and power to do what we cannot do alone. But if we don’t follow His guidance, He does not berate, abandon or ignore us.

Drug of Choice

The drug of choice for someone who struggles with codependency is usually either “to fix” or “to control.” When I hear myself saying (or even thinking) that I want to “fix” someone, I know it is time to do an inventory on my relationship with that person and apply the Steps. When I find myself in a power struggle with a loved one (usually spouse or child) I need to examine whether I am trying to control that person. Even if the reason is that I don’t want them to ruin their future, my trying to “make” them do what (I think) would be best for them is codependent behavior.

I am an assertive person by nature, and my codependency is usually expressed in an assertive way. However, people who are passive can also try to control others, and get them to do what they want. Some play the victim, or allow the other person to walk all over them (sometimes called “being a doormat”) in order to avoid conflict, or in a mistaken belief that it will keep the other person from leaving them. They are still trying to get what they think would be best by manipulating their loved one.

Approaches to Recovery from Codependency

People recover from codependency in different ways. Some people find success by treating codependency as an addiction, and applying the 12-Step program to it in their own lives. Others use more of an educationally-based approach. Counseling can be helpful either on its own or in conjunction with one of the first two methods.

Using the 12-Steps to Overcome Codependency

Many of our LDS Addiction Recovery (ARP) meeting participants are codependents. Some are also addicted to a substance or another behavior. Applying the 12-Steps to their codependency has worked amazingly well for many of them.  They have learned to recognize their codependent behavior and apply the steps to overcome it with the help of the Lord, and the Atonement. There are other 12-Step programs that use a similar approach to overcoming codependency as well – for example: Al-Anon and CoDa (Co-Dependents Anonymous).

Educational Support Approaches

The LDS Church has introduced a new approach to supporting spouses and family members of addicts. It includes a guide that contains 12 principles to be studied along with various talks from General Authorities that relate to that principle. There are weekly meetings in which the material in the guide is discussed, one principle per week. The attendees at the meetings all struggle with the addiction of a loved one, and often learn from each other by listening and sharing during the meetings.

When the person in your life who seems to be making bad choices is a child, it is sometimes very difficult to know where “good parenting” stops and “codependence” begins. There is a fine line between trying to help a child (of any age) find and stay on a path that leads to happiness, and trying to take away his or her agency in order to “make” them do what you “know” is best. I think the term “helicopter parent” is really another name for codependency. I have found a lot of help in trying to learn how to be a supportive parent without being a codependent one from the Love and Logic Institute. They have many resources including books and CDs. They offer classes in many areas. I have recently found support from a Facebook group called “Love and Logic Parents Unite” where parents can share what is working for them.

  • Write about how the various ways you show love are healthy and unhealthy.
  • What approaches or resources might help you overcome any codependent behavior you might have?
  • What are you willing to do today to help you improve the way you relate to your loved ones?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts: Staying Abstinent: Using the Tools – Part 4


Letting Go

Broken Dreams, by Lauretta P. Burns: a poem about letting go."Letting go of my dreams – the vision I had of what my future would hold – and learning to allow God to create a future for me has been one of the more difficult aspects of my recovery. It is so much more complicated than it sounds! It is not really that I think I could do a better job than God, but rather that not being in control triggers feelings of discomfort and fear.

I have become attached to the ideas and the pictures in my head of how my life will turn out. Letting go of them is painful. Trusting that the Lord’s plan for my life will be better than mine is also hard. I love the Lord. I want to trust Him. I know, intellectually, that I can and should trust Him and that He is much more capable of designing the perfect life for me than I am. But what if His plan for me is hard? What if His plan has me wading through trials and pain? What if I have to experience things I don’t want to experience? Sometimes my intellectual knowledge and even my faith that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28), isn’t enough to overcome my fear.

I have written previously about how to let go. This post is just to acknowledge that it is hard. But I also want to say that it is worth it. In every case where I have chosen to let go, I have found peace. I have stepped into the unknown and found the Lord by my side. This poem was particularly helpful to me as I tried to learn to let go in the early days of my recovery.

BROKEN DREAMS by Lauretta P. Burns

As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.

But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How could you be so slow?”
“My child,” He said, “what could I do?”
“You never did let go.”

I testify that God loves us and that He will give us what we need. He will enable us to reach our full potential, if we let Him. Jesus is my friend. He walks by my side. He carries the burden for me when it is more than I have strength to bear. He smiles and is pleased when I grow. He will never leave me. Nor will He leave you.

  • What are your broken dreams?
  • Do you have a testimony that Jesus is always there for you? Write it out.
  • What will you do today to learn to let go?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts: Learning to Let GoSteps 1, 2, and 3: I Can’t, He Can, I’ll Let HimBecoming Entirely Ready