Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What I Believe - Temptation

You know, being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not keep me from feeling tempted. In fact, sometimes I feel that it's even harder because I am a Mormon. But I think that's just my fretty side coming out.

Temptations come to us all and temptations come in many forms. It can come in the form of a delicious dessert that you know you shouldn't have just yet, a bit of gossip you know you shouldn't share, or even procrastination. It can come in the form of a mind altering substance. It can come in the form of an extramarital affair.

No matter how mild or serious your temptations may appear there are ways to shield yourself from succumbing to even the most dire of your temptations.

I had a situation I got myself into a few years back. On one hand it was most delightsome and desirable, but on the other hand it was a path to sure misery for all concerned.

At the time there really was only one way I knew to help me resist a miserable outcome and that was through prayer. It did work, and, in a most astonishing way, I might add. But there are other ways to fortify ourselves from succumbing to whatever our particular temptations may be. Because, let's face it, we're human and we are weak. Maybe not in every way -- thank goodness! But definitely in some ways, a lot of ways.

Here are a few helpful tips for fortifying ourselves against temptations:

     1. Prayer.
While this may not feel like it works sometimes because the temptation can seem so much stronger, I can assure you that if you will lay your burdens at the feet of the Lord he will help you with them.

     2. Use any protections available.

Perhaps your particular temptation is internet porn or maybe someone in your family may be struggling with this addiction, you can use parental controls, avoid going online when you're alone, or join a help group. In most cases when it comes to addictions of any kind help groups can really make the difference between resisting or not resisting a temptation. It's just really good to have a supportive group of people to help bolster you up when you're feeling weak. I think addictions tend to be things that give us a sense of instant gratification when what we really want may be something that appears to be out of reach for whatever reason. In other words, we may feel frustrated or obstructed in some part of our life and so we fall prey to temptations, which often delay us in our goals.

     3. Exercise.

Oh, yes. That dreaded word, at least for some. Exercise will raise our spirits through knowing that we are choosing to do something really good for ourselves instead of something detrimental. It can take us out of the moment when we are feeling vulnerable, which leads me to another good tip with a similar ability --

     4. Help others.

Nothing makes you feel better and brings out the best in you and those around you like a good, old-fashioned dose of compassionate service.

     5. Sing a favorite hymn.

And if you aren't fond of hymns, a song that takes you to a higher place, a song of hope or a song that fills you with a sense of gratitude will do just fine. Whatever it is just sing it, hum it, think about the lyrics in your head. I love to sing hymns to myself when I'm feeling worried or scared. It really helps me.

     6. Read the scriptures.

Or, again, if you are not a religious person, a good, uplifting book will help, too. Maybe read something on positive thinking, which brings me to my next and final tip --

     7. Think positive thoughts!

For any situation, whether it be when we're feeling tempted or just to help to raise our sense of self worth, because feeling good about ourselves can also help us in so many ways, thinking positive thoughts is a good habit to get into.

Above all relying upon God in all things will get us through anything, even a temptation as sweet, delicious, desirable and beautiful as a piece of Black Forest cake. The Black Forest cake isn't bad or even enjoying a slice of it, but timing can be everything. And Heavenly Father can and will help even with that.

This is what I believe.

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