Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sticking to the Basics

I have a son who just finished his first year of tackle football.  He is in 5th grade and is a bigger kid, so he got to play on the defensive line.  He spent weeks learning the basics of staying down low in his stance, not standing straight up too quickly, rolling his hips into the blocker for strength, etc.  Heading into their scrimmages, he had these basics down pretty well because he had worked on them over and over.  

The first practice game came up against a 4th grade team.  My son was in their backfield all game, sacking the quarterback and making tackles for loss on running plays.  He came home that night full of himself.  "No one can block me" was his mantra as he strutted around the house.

A few days later his team had their second scrimmage.  This time it was against a team their own age, and it just happened he lined up against a Polynesian player with a lot of strength.  My son was full of confidence because of his past success.  On the first play, he went against all the basic skills he had been taught, stood straight up...and got knocked flat on his back by the offensive lineman across from him.  His over-confidence had caused him to forget the important basics he had taken so long to learn.

I am happy to report that my son learned from this experience and had a fun and successful year in football.  But I learned a lesson from watching him.  As I have worked to overcome my addiction, there are certain fundamentals that are necessary to my progress.  These include:

-Daily capturing in the scriptures
-Sincere prayer asking for my desires to be changed
-Asking the Lord what his will is for me and the strength to carry it out
-Communicating daily with my wife about my progress and challenges
-Working the 12 steps of the addiction recovery program
-Paying attention to everything I listen to or watch to ensure it is uplifting

These basic steps are easy for me just after I have a relapse or am in a humble position where I am desperate to change my life.  As time wears on, I start to become confident.  I start to feel "I am doing this, I can overcome this addiction.  I am doing fantastic, I don't need to pay so much attention to these small daily tasks".  Inevitably, as soon as I start to feel that way, the key things start to slip.  And that is when I can start to go down hill.  

Clinging to the basics, making them a priority every day of my life, is the ONLY way I can make the lasting change of addiction recovery.  These steps draw me closer to Christ and build my faith in him.  Without the Savior, I cannot succeed.

Maybe this is a lesson only I struggle with.  But if you are working on a gospel change,  be cautious of the overconfident attitude which can lead away from the very basics that enable lasting change through a relationship with Christ.

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