Hurts, Habits and Hangups
12 Steps to Healing the Natural Man and Woman
Based on the LDS Addiction Recovery Program (ARP)
Earth life, always teeming with snares and pitfalls, can leave any of us bruised, battered and scarred. Therefore we struggle and fall, then pick ourselves back up, make necessary changes, and get back moving. As we do, we remain constantly aware of the shortcomings that follow us, constantly reoccurring despite all we can do. So we try again, hopeful that, one day, we’ll finally summon up enough will power to finally shed ourselves of our special brand of weaknesses, the ones that seem to shadow us, like a dark cloud, in all we do.
As C.S. Lewis explained:
“…human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way.
They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in. (Mere Christianity, p. 8)
As a result, the years pass, the weaknesses remain and we begin to despair we’ll ever, truly be free of them.
The good news, and truly it is good news, is that a loving Heavenly Father, who prepared our earth experience, never intended us to perfect our self. It was never a part of His Plan of Happiness. He knew that the natural man and woman within each of us, left to its own devices, would constantly try to embrace the faulty promises of the world and, like the prodigal son, eventually find itself lonely and empty. The natural man, wandering around in its fallen state, finally “comes to himself” and discovers that he has wandered “from a more exalted sphere” and his inheritance appears spent.
Our entire earth experience, by its very nature, leaves us with destructive patterns, habits and behaviors that stalk our growth and threaten our peace. Our hurts, habits and hang-ups act as a constant reminder to us, that regardless of how gallantly we fight, no matter how impressive our effort, in the end, we cannot find the permanent change we seek on our own. In fact, the Lord reminds us that if when we do turn to him, “I will show unto men their weaknesses.” (Ether 12:27) We need help beyond our own.
The Savior’s infinite atonement has a two fold effect on mankind: first, it was a sinless, selfless sacrifice to redeem us from the fall and draw all men and women unto Him. Secondly, the atonement is available to help each of us daily accomplish, what we cannot do on our own. His love, his sacrifice, can bridge the gap and lift us beyond our abilities—if we will allow it. It can literally transform who we are, changing our very nature until it is brought closer to the nature of our Creator. When that happens, we grow until we ultimately taught to love as He loves, serving in the same way he would.
Through the atonement of Christ, our hurts, habits and hang-ups are healed and taken from us; not by virtue of our efforts, but often in spite of them. Accessing this marvelous power requires that we trust Him and allow the power of the Atonement to change us. In short, we must completely surrender and trust Him. We then begin to do things His way and with his divine timing. And earthly weaknesses that are not part of the “Divine Nature” simply melt away.
The following 12 Steps to Healing the Natural Man and Woman, follow in the tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous and the LDS Addiction Recovery Program. Seen for what they are, against the backdrop of the restored Gospel, they are literally a step by step access to the transforming power of the atonement. However, many Saints who struggle endlessly with hurts, habits and hang-ups do not have an “addiction” and so do not see the need for an ‘addiction’ program. They will, however, benefit from a structured program that helps them set aside pride and ego, trusting completely and fully in the grace and mercy of the savior and allow the heavenly Physician to “cure all our ills. (1 Nephi 7:ll).
whether done individually or as a group, is designed to walk you through the steps of change. A word of warning, however.
The natural man is impatient, seeking immediate results and guaranteed results. The Lord, on the other hand, sees us in
the broad sweep of our present and future needs. For this reason he has His perfect timetable
for us. He will remove hurts, habits and hang-ups in his timetable, not ours. Learning to trust him means learning to trust
in his divine plan for us.
It is for this
reason that you will need to begin this program without a clear understanding of how long it will take. If you undertake
this with a goal to complete it in 12 weeks or 12 days you will be disappointed. His changes for you will not happen according
to your timetable. Allow these changes to occur as you continue to study and learn and trust in a Heavenly Father who loves
Some changes can happen quickly. Others make take months or longer. Avoid holding yourself to a set deadline for the spirit does not work that way. “My ways,” he warns, “are not your ways.”
Ready to begin?
Hurts, Habits and Hangups
Step 1- Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your hurts, Habits and Hangups and that with them, your life has become unmanageable.
Step 2- Come to believe that the power of God, through the Atonement, can heal “all our ills.”
Step 3- Decide to return your will and your life to God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Step 4- Make a searching and honest inventory of yourself.
Step 5- Admit to yourself, to Heavenly Father, to proper priesthood authorities when necessary, and to others, those weaknesses that need to change.
Step 6- Become entirely ready to have God remove your shortcomings.
Step 7- Humbly ask Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, to heal those shortcomings.
Step 8- Make a list of all people you might have negatively impacted and seek to make restitution whenever possible.
Step 9- Make a list of all people who might have harmed you and through the Atonement of Christ, frankly forgive them.
Step 10- Take daily personal inventory and when you are wrong, promptly admit it and ask Heavenly Father for help.
Step 11- Seek through humble prayer to know the Lord’s will and to be empowered to carry it out.
Step 12 Having had a spiritual awakening as result of Jesus Christ, share the message of Hope with others and practice these principles in all you do.
Step 1 - Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your hurts, Habits and Hangups and that with them, your life has become unmanageable.
For many people, the idea, even the word ‘powerless’, causes an immediate reaction. Everything in modern society teaches us that if we are powerless, we are vulnerable. To be without power is to be hurt and taken advantage of. It is to be weak and helpless. Society tells us we are to be strong, powerful and to take charge of our life. And yet these “thorns in the flesh” remind us, daily, that we are not.
So, we spend many years trying to ‘take charge’ of our life, only to find that we maintain a constant string of weaknesses and dysfunctional habits that drain spirituality from our lives and hurt those around us. We have tried valiantly, by sheer willpower, to cleanse those flaws from our lives only to have them haunt us.
Finally, we have been forced to admit that we are unable to remove these destructive elements without help. We know this because we’ve tried everything without success.
We cannot access the liberating power of the atonement without first admitting—and believing—we are unable to change on our own. We are finding that we need Him “every hour”, if we are to have painful weaknesses removed.
In truth, the more
we struggle with our hurts and habits, the more it should be clear that we’ve never gotten past Step 1. We needed
to first surrender our pride, our need to be control. To do that, we came to recognize our powerlessness but
also came to experience the Lord’s desire to empower us.
None of the other steps will be of value to us unless we first allow Him to take over the management of our private battles. And, at times, we will find ourselves struggling and realize that we are again back to Step 1. It will happen over and over again, not because we’re failing, but because we’re growing and needed the insights gained from Step 1 to move us forward.
What does surrender mean? What does it look or feel like? How do we know we’re there?
We are surrendered when we are more interested in His solutions to our problems than we are in ours. We want His loving answers, recognizing that our solutions often create more problems for ourselves.
We are surrendered when we spend more time listening in our prayers than telling the Lord what needs to happen.
We are surrendered when thoughts of the Savior and the Atonement fill us with a sense of gratitude and awe and love.
We are surrendered when inspired thoughts fill our hearts about what we need to do—and we do them rather than question endlessly our abilities or His wisdom.
We are surrendered when we are content with the idea that we are “less than the dust of the earth” and that the Savior’s infinite Intervention will someday bestow on us “all that God has.”
We are surrendered when we see we have no room to judge others, given the amount of divine mercy extended us. We simply pray the Lord will forgive them as he has us.
We are surrendered when we quite trying to perfect ourselves and allow him to polish us in his way and in his time.
We are surrendered when we begin to feel a measure of peace and hope that reminds us that when it is in our best interest, our hurts, habits and hang-ups will be removed from us; not because our own efforts but because of His love.
Read and Ponder
Now was not this exceeding joy? Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness. (Alma 27:18
· In your life, what has prevented you from attaining the happiness you seek? _____________________________________________________________________________________________
Yea, I know that I am nothing: as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will not boast of myself , but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things. (Alma 26:11-12)
· In your ‘heart of hearts’, how much do you trust the Lord? At what times do you trust him the least?
· In the past, what has happened to you when you were ‘weak’?
“…there was given me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me…For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me….and he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee…” (2 Cor 12: 7-9)
· What ‘thorns’ have you been given that seem to ‘buffet’ you the most?
Notes and Ideas: