A lady in our sacrament meeting today gave a talk about the Atonement. Her talk was very well done and precise as she focused on subjects related to the Atonement that she has had experience with in her field of mental health. Two things in her talk really stood out to me.
The first was that there has never been a succesful addiction recovery program in the world that has not had a spiritual element included. No pychologist or other doctor has come up with a program that has not included, basically, giving up your addiction to a higher power and leaning on that higher power for help and forgiveness. It is as if a part of the atonement is at work, and needs to be at work, in each of these recovery programs.
The second was a rather matter of fact comment she made. She said that a person can not see what they need to work on in themselves if they are surrounded by people who critizice them and are always on their back. The person will not be able to see nor want to work on these things, because of the fear of not being loved any longer if they change. The constant criticism makes them fear and this fear keeps them stuck in their bad habits.
I have a friend who I feel gets a bit emotionally abused sometimes by those she lives with. I can see how it keeps her from having the ability to improve herself and improving her living situation. I feel it is important for parents to find a healthy balance between putting their foot down and being loving and caring. You can put your foot down without critizicing too. My friend sort of knows she has things she needs to change, but can not get past that knowing, to actually working on changing. She feels that no matter what she does, she will be criticized. And perhaps one day her family will no longer want her.
Another aspect of life that can cause this same feeling of loath and fear, is a lack of love for oneself and a lack of self esteem. Something else I know from experience is just as important to avoid. Though it is just as hard, if not harder, as it is all internal. You are holding your self back without the help of others. You must learn to love yourself. It is hard. I have been working on it for a long time, but I know it is possible.
In each of these cases the Atonement can help. We can not do everything by ourselves. But if we give ourselves to the Lord, he can help us in our struggles and make the impossible, possible.
I am so thankful for her talk. It seriously was one of the most amazing atonement talks I have ever heard in a sacrament meeting, as she spoke in such a way that I could understand through my own studies and experiences.
I am so thankful that God gave us his only begotten son. That the Lord went through unimaginable pain and suffering for each one of us, ultimately giving his life so that we may be forgiven of our sins. I am so thankful for the Atonement. That the Atonement can change lives and perform miracles.