A few weeks ago I started to write this post but kind of came into a rut. I didn’t know what I wanted to say exactly and I started writing about my experience on Good Friday. It started out fine, but in explaining my experience, I started to talk more and more about the LDS church since that’s where I spent my Good Friday evening: in the LDS Institute on Weber’s campus. Upon reflection, I decided that was neither on the topic I really wanted to talk about, nor was it graceful. I have many issues with the LDS church and the words I was saying might’ve been hurtful, especially coming from my blog instead of my mouth. If I want to voice my concerns about the church, it needs to be in person and with less anger than what I was planning on publishing.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand: temptation. We all struggle with it and if you experience it like I do, it’s a double edged sword. I always face the struggle of deciding whether I give into temptation or fight it. Temptation doesn’t always have to be negative, but most times it is. We all run into temptation pretty regularly. To be honest, I suck at dealing with temptation. I really, really suck. I make a lot of bad choices that some people say isn’t so bad and others say is the end of the world. Sometimes I feel glad I give into temptation, sometimes I regret it a little while later, and other times I ignore them all together, or pretend whatever I just did isn’t so bad. For example, when I look in my garbage can full of Cheetos bags and Brisk bottles, I regret buying it. But then the next time I go to get food and drinks, guess what I buy? I know I eat terribly, but part of me doesn’t care. Another part of me really cares and I don’t know how to balance it.
Regardless, that’s what I’m talking about. The kind of temptation I’m talking about tonight, though, is lust. It’s the worst kind of temptation if you ask me just because it pretends to be something good but isn’t. Don’t think lust is harmful? How many times have you seen somebody SUPER attractive and driven yourself crazy over the fact that you can’t have them for one reason or another? Maybe they’re involved, maybe you’re too shy, maybe they just came out of a bad relationship, or maybe you tried something with them and ruined it. That and many other causes can be emotionally devastating. It’s rather immature, but I still experience it and I’m sure many others do as well. Flipping through apps, looking at gorgeous guys or girls who won’t ever talk to you because you’re not attractive back, the feeling that you’re not attractive because attractive people won’t talk to you, or whatever. We love to indulge our lust in so many ways. We watch movies with our favorite actors, especially if they’re taking their clothes off. We daydream about the boy or the girl in our class who sits two rows up and three to the left. We sneak peeks at people at the pool, beach, and water parks. We follow them on Instagram, Snapchat, and everything else we can find them on. We even watch pornography just to get our kicks for a few minutes. Those are just a few of the ways I can think of, but none of those things are seen as inherently harmful, except for possibly pornography. But even pornography is being normalized as something that people watch and is becoming more accepted as normal. Normal doesn’t always mean good! And worst of all is the idea that lust is the same thing as love; just because you think someone is beautiful means you’re in love with them. You can lust after somebody and experience pleasure, but that isn’t love.
Lust and temptation are vitriolic but masquerade as something pleasant. The thought of indulging it is intoxicating and most of the time it’s easy to give in. But when it’s not possible to satisfy lust or temptation, we get depressed, angry, and/or guilty for ever feeling lustful. It’s vicious and hurtful, and that’s what I experienced on Good Friday, in the Institute, with my friends. Such a happy environment filled with beautiful families and beautiful individuals. It was maddening. First of all, I was with my friends and I wouldn’t ever try something with my friends around. Second, I’m not courageous enough to try anything even if my friends aren’t around. And third, 95% of them are LDS, which means there is no possible way anything I start could ever work out or amount to anything beyond a friendship. Friendship is fine; we can never have too many friends, but that’s not what I was looking for in there. That’s not what I’ve been looking for anywhere. That feeling got to me, all that anger and depression and guilt (among other things for reasons I will not share) flooded me and I felt like I was being crushed under a huge weight. The only thing I could think to do was remove myself from the environment, so I left without telling my friends and I walked back to my dorm alone, contemplating my situation and sort of wallowing in misery. It wasn’t a pleasant evening, but I think I made the right choice in walking away from it than trying to struggle through it.
That is one of my few successes in the realm of temptation. Nine times out of ten I will fall victim to temptation, whether it’s saying something I maybe shouldn’t, eating something that might be bad, or something else. I’m bad at saying no, especially to myself. My self control isn’t where it should be and most people I’d talk to would say there’s nothing wrong with indulging myself in the things I normally treat myself to. But it gives me the sense that anything I want I can have, and that’s a lie. We can’t get anything we want for free. There’s always a price beyond the price tag. It sets us up for disappointment, and it’s a really shitty situation to be in. Sometimes I wish I could remove my sense of desire for certain things so I could do what I know is right. But life isn’t that simple, is it?