Thursday, March 19, 2015

Saving vs. Rescuing

My anxiety has come in surges throughout my life.
Thanks to therapy, step-work and a greater understanding of God's will and ways... I can at least see that my anxiety is ANXIETY and not truth.

Danny's been in the house for a few weeks, and my anxiety is full-swing.
I'm picking at my skin unconsciously.  My dreams are restless and filled with various versions of my worst fears: getting in a car accident and then going unseen by everyone and wondering IF I'M ALLOWED TO NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION.  I try to take a nap and my mind fills with worries... what if the baby goes outside? What if she gets into the cow trough?  She will die.  Where is the baby?  Is the baby dead?  What was that noise?  Did someone cough?  IS IT EBOLA?!?!

In my early days of seeking recovery, I opened up to someone.  It was scary and freeing all tied up in one glorious stomach knot.  When I finished telling my story, I was hit with one of Brene Brown's most hated comebacks.
At least.
"At least he's trying."
I had felt safe opening up to this sweet woman who had divorced her first husband over sex addiction.
"You don't want to know the pain of divorce," she said.  I walked away from her feeling very put in my place.  I reminded myself in a holy pit of shame to be grateful BE GRATEFUL BE GRATEFUL instead of focusing on the negative.

Years later I can say with shameless confidence, "You don't want to know the pain of staying, either."
 It's not a contest -it's simply that life is hard and staying in a marriage where addiction is and has been present is it's own barrel of monkeys.

I focus on my dailies.
Pray, scriptures, self-care, healthy breakfast, lemon water

My anxiety goes through the roof if I lose focus which tends to happen.  This is really scary stuff.

Yesterday, I didn't take care of myself at all.  I think I did one daily.  My day was really busy and full, and sometimes that happens.  I decided to make today a "make up" day.  I made sure to ALL of my dailies in the morning.  I spent time on my body today: bath, face scrub... I went for a picnic with my kids, bathed my baby.  I ate healthy food (and some not so healthy).
This morning on my walk, I listened to President Monson's last conference talk -Ponder the Path.
As I listened to him talk about the Savior's example, I wondered at the phrasing used in the Parable of the Lost Sheep.
So often as members, we are called on to "Rescue."
The Savior didn't call on us to SAVE but to rescue, to find.

I listened to the last half of his talk twice and wondered some more.

What IS the difference between rescuing and saving?  I know there are very important differences, but I felt some urgency to define exactly what they are for me right now.

I thought of the Parable of the Lost Sheep, and I thought of Brigham Young's urgent call to rescue the saints crossing the snowy plains.
I asked friends and family.
I came across this quote on the LDS Church's Facebook Page:
“I think that being courageous for someone else would be standing up for others who can't stand up for themselves, protecting those who can't protect themselves, and truly putting it into heart and mind and action of loving your neighbor. And I think doing that is as courageous as you can get when you're doing it for others.” —Kurt

As I thought about it, I realized that what Kurt was saying went in line with what I was pondering... rescuing someone else is doing for them what they can't do for themselves.  Others agreed with this line of thinking, and it is true.  It is.

But it still felt murky.

I realized after some reading an old Ensign article that the difference between rescuing and saving has NOTHING to do with the external circumstances and EVERYTHING to do with internal motivation.

In short, to rescue someone is a charitable act on the Savior's part while saving someone is a frantic, fear-based act on our own part.

When I tried to save Danny, I truly thought I was being charitable, but if I were ever questioned about WHY I was doing what I was doing (making suggestions, leaving articles out, snooping, FOREVER TRYING TO GET HIM TO SEE the truth), I guarantee the FIRST words out of my mouth would have been, "Because I'm afraid ____________________"
He'll lose his soul.
Our marriage covenant will be for naught.
He'll cheat.
He'll mess up our children.
He'll hurt me.
We will get divorced.

And so I tried to save Danny, save myself, save my kids, save the world!
This did NOTHING for my anxiety, by the way.

My Saving Prayers were so specific.  I asked God for SPECIFICS of what I WANTED.
"Please help Danny SEE what he's doing.  Please help him to feel the Spirit.  Please make sure Danny comes with me to church because IT'S SO HARD GOING ALONE."

When I save, we do things MY way.

When I try to engage in the act of rescuing, I find myself wearing anti-porn garb.  I share educational articles WHEN PROMPTED and not when I'm in a panic over the fact that 90% of the church is unaware that 90% of men are looking at porn.  Rescuing is raising awareness, it's speaking out.  Rescuing is taking meals to sick people, donating clothing where it's needed.  Rescuing is done most effectively when I've taken care of myself properly... when I'm fed right and my mind is calm and my thoughts are clear.  Rescuing is having a mind clear enough to hear God whisper the name of a sister in my ear.  It's being able to hear God prompt me in my Next Right Thing.  Sometimes the Next Right Thing is rescuing my child from a shaming teacher.  Sometimes it's listening to her as she talks through a day she didn't realize affected her deeply until she begins speaking.
Rescuing is "first observe, then serve."
Rescuing is the verb form of charity.

Tears come to my eyes as I think of the bloody, cold pioneers trapped on the plains... what they must have felt when they saw their rescuers rushing toward them!  So often I've seen a figurative version of that scene play out in my own mind:
My family crumpled together, alone and shivering and ready to give up.
The prayers of our friends and loved ones mounted up on angel's wings come billowing toward us and I'll be dammed if our marriage isn't saved on those prayers alone.
Image result for brigham's call to rescue 
(bedard fine art)
So yes -rescuing is praying, "Take care of my loved one, Lord.  Help me accept Thy Will for Them, for Me.  Help my accept Their Free Will."

When I rescue, I do things GOD'S WAY.

I do believe the work being done to combat lust and sex addiction on every hand is a pioneering work.  With every outstretched hand, a victim is given hope.

“Perhaps their suffering seems less dramatic because the handcart pioneers bore it meekly, praising God, instead of fighting for life with the ferocity of animals,” wrote historian Wallace Stegner of the handcart pioneers and their rescue. “But if courage and endurance make a story, if human kindness and helpfulness and brotherly love in the midst of raw horror are worth recording, this half-forgotten episode of Mormon migration is one of the great tales of the West and of America."

 In the midst of raw horror.
I think we can all nod our heads on that one.

The road to God -to Zion -is smoother for some.  It's sunnier and there's more flowers.  Their trial is not the road.
But mine is.  Would that I had more humility that it might not be so, but my face is Zionward, and I will press on.

I will rescue as I am called on by God to do, and I relinquish to God my own ego-driven, fear-ridden, shame-soaked urgency to save any soul, including my own.


  1. This.
    I needed this tonight. Thank you for finding the words.

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  3. Thank you for saying this . It is so good . Your words are a balm to a wounded heart . Thank you .

  4. This gave me some hope this morning. And that's what I was looking for. Thanks. Love the Wallace Stegner quote.

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