Monday, December 7, 2009

When I Need Something More

Revelations 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come unto him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

There are times when I feel down, maybe even depressed. Sometimes I feel this way because of bad things that have happened, and other times I can't pin point the reasons why. Usually, a good run or a hug from a loved one will quickly cheer me up.

Yet, there are times when I can find no comfort in...anything or anyone. In these rare, but bitter moments I feel as though I will shrivel up in my tears. Wow, I know that I sound like I have an unhealthy case of depression, which is definately not true. What I'm saying is, we all have moments like this, right?

Everyone one of us goes through this at one time or another. We live in a bleak world, with many problems, imperfect people and I know that the advesary uses all of these tactics to destroy us. He tries to make us feel worthless, hopeless and weighed down. We are enticed by the things of the world (good things as well as bad) because we have been taught that these things will make us happy- more money, being better looking, being smarter, more talented...etc. More, more and more! It's never good enough; if you are not better than your neighbor you are not as valuable.

Now, it is wonderful to have dreams and goals of the things that you want to attain. There's nothing wrong with trying to make more money through hard work, becoming healthier and loving your body and improving talents. However, the key to happiness is to not compare yourself with others.

In the game of comparing, no one ever wins. Every aspect of the world revolves around these comparisons we make, and it will take me a lifetime to continue to let go of comparing myself to others. As I have made leaps in this process of getting out of this game, I have felt so much more free and happy. One leap was probably my senior year of high school. Graduation suddenly felt like moments away and I realized how none of the exclusive cliques and the judgements from my peers really mattered. If I had only "let go" sooner, I would have enjoyed high school so much more.

Well, I'm blabbing a bit, so I'll get back to the point that I talked about at first. We've all had our moments where we feel really depressed. We seek happiness in material things and that doesn't last long. Even after talking for hours on the phone to a best friend, we still feel lonely.

One thing that I do a lot is make goals to solve my problem. "If I study this much, I will be smarter and then I can feel good about myself." Good goal, wrong motive. Inaccurate motive, because worth is not dependent upon how smart, good looking or even how righteous you are. The infinite worth of every person is unchangeable.

So, when I have these times where I am in anguish and question my self-worth, gravity pulls me to my knees. I am incredibly humbled as I know that there is one who knows how I feel. My older brother, Jesus, loves me perfectly. I am a precious gem to Him. He probably thought this prior to His atonement, because that is how He was able to endure His anguish- His bursting, powerful love for me sustained Him. He loved/s me as an individual, and He loves each person that ever lived as an individual, with that kind of love.

Christ-like love! - The kind of love that I feel when one of my friends comes to me for a shoulder to cry on. As she tells me about how bad she feels about herself I want to tell her, "Oh, if only you could see yourself through my eyes and why I love you so much". I am sure that our Savior feels this way daily for each of us- "If only you could see yourself through my eyes and know why I love you so much. " He knows our imperfections more than we know each other's, yet He loves us more than we love each other. That's amazing. He not only loves us despite our imperfections, and sees more good and potential than anyone else can.

Jesus Christ wouldn't mean very much to me personally if it was not for His infinite sacrifice. I have a testimony that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He lived on earth so long ago; nevertheless, His life, miracles, atonement and ressurection took place, and were real instances. Not only will I be ressurected physically after death, but my spirit can be reborn and break the chains of spiritual death. This has happened a few times in my life and has been immensely liberating, joyous and miraculous.

So, what I am stabbing at is the principle that when I cannot find comfort in anything, there is only one source where I can turn to and never be disapointed- Christ. Through prayer, reading the words in the scriptures and in priesthood blessings I find relief and peace. In prayer, Heavenly Father listens to me more intently, empathetically and longer than any person I know. I'm a woman- and when I need to spill it, I could go on for hours:) By reading the words in the bible, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, I receive comfort in the words that the prophets were instructed to record to counsel me in this day and age, in my personal life. Through priesthood blessings, Heavenly Father can give me words of guidance and comfort that are personal to me. The Holy Ghost bears witness that God is my Heavenly Father, Christ is my Savior and of their perfect love.

Jesus Christ will forever have His arms extended out to me, anticipating the times when I desire to come to Him, with a "broken heart and a contrite spirit". Synonymous to what it says in Revelations 3:20, Doctrine and Covenants 88: 63 reads, "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you. "

All I need to do is ask with real intent, and a pure heart. Only He can fulfill all of my needs. My problems may not vanish, but my soul will be uplifted and invigorated to accomplish what I need to. With Him, I feel complete and whole- it's a feeling that one can only relate to, and never define. The comfort that we can receive from Him is real and powerful. It is through His atonement that we are saved- not only after death; but to me, saved daily from the trials and sorrows that weigh me down. Now, that is a miracle.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks To Him

Each day I deal with the stresses of life. I make a list in my planner of all the things that I need to do, and wonder how I will be able to do it all. There are simply not enough hours in the day tcomplete all of my tasks. My first and last resort for help has become prayer. By trusting in the Lord to be my support throughout the day, I feel empowered with strength beyond my own. I feel calm and comforted in approaching my tasks and inspired concerning which things would be most efficient to do first.

It is divine and wonderful how Heavenly Father wants us to begin our prayers by giving thanks to Him, before we continue to ask Him to meet our needs and wants. This habit has given me a daily reminder of the things that I am grateful for in my life. I don't often sit down and write a list of my blessings, but I do give thanks in prayer, though not nearly enough! :) By thanking Heavenly Father, I see my life in a clearer perspective. While I may have previously thought that my life was in shreds, I think about how life would be without some of my blessings.
"I wish that I had a car" turns into "I have a comfortable house with lots of living space" and "I feel overwhelmed and depressed" becomes "In my previous times of desperation the Lord has been there for me; I know that He will be with me now."

I also become more appreciative of Heavenly Father as I think of my blessings. I realize that the blessings are meaningless without giving full credit to the Lord. Others assist in His work of service, but He is the source of blessings and joy. Because of this knowledge, I have never had reason to doubt His unconditional love for me. I cannot recall a time in my life where I blamed God for my trials. Hardships come with the package of life, and the greatest blessing that comes is by relying on the Lord, and experiencing his blessing of comfort, strength, peace and love. While these feelings are not tangible, there are the most powerful experiences one can have. I have experienced brief moments in my life where these feelings have been so strong, that they seemed more real and undeniable than anything in the world. The Holy Ghost bore witness to me of the existence of Heavenly Father, His son Jesus Christ, and of their perfect love for me.

Today, on Thanksgiving Day, I have the opportunity to lay all of my work aside, and give thanks to Heavenly Father, and to others. I will enjoy a feast of delicious food with my mother and family friends. My brother is visiting my father and his side of the family. It doesn't seem complete not having him with us for this holiday. Expense prevents our extended family from joining together. While we miss each other, and there is no substitute for not being together, we are united in our prayers of thanks. We pray for each other, even though we may be far away.

Today, I am grateful for many things. Mostly, I am grateful for my family, who have always showered me with their love. My grandparents and both of my parents have done their best to provide everything that I needed- physical necessities, love and education. They have taught me the things that I need to do in life to attain happiness- love and serve the Lord by loving and serving others.

I am grateful that my family can be eternal, and be reunited after death. Through Christ's atonement, I can see my great grandmother again, and my other ancestors who I never had a chance to know. It is hard to see my grandparents age, and to wonder about how many more years I have to share with them. Yet, I have joy in knowing that they will be ressurected to their perfect form. My mother's back pains will disappear and she will be completely healthy again.

Lastly, I am grateful for my Heavenly Father. One day I can be reunited with Him. I am grateful that He loved me so much that He would send His most beloved son, my older brother, Jesus Christ to earth. Christ suffered for my sins, hearthaches, physical pains, and burdens during His atonement. By this, I can repent and be washed clean so that I may dwell with God again. By this, I can be with my family forever, after death. I am grateful for my Savior. Every thing that I have is from Him.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Small Things

Upon turning five years old, I decidedly told my mother ,"When I grow up, I am going to be a sister missionary [for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]." From that time on, I was very serious and resolute in my decision and preparation. I even put pennies and coins in my "piggy bank" and asked her to save them for my schooling and for a mission. When I was about ten, I asked her how much money I actually had in my bank account. Ya, I was kinda crushed when she told me that I had less than a hundred dollars. Haha, cute.

Since then, I have continued to have a strong desire to serve a mission. I still have a few years before I can turn in my papers. While I am very excited and am preparing to serve, I am not positive as to whether I will go or not.

Through many meaningful conversations with one of my close friends, I've come to realize the importance of living and fulfilling things in the present. I told this person about all of the things that I wanted to do in the future- serve a mission, earn my degree, become a marriage counselor,etc. While it is wonderful to dream of things to come, and to set goals in life, I was basing my happiness on the completion of these things. I felt that WHEN I became older, and more experienced I could THEN make a difference. My friend helped me to see that it is possible to make a difference NOW. What a realization! I am so grateful for learning this. My life has become so much more fulfilling as I have tried to find purpose in what I am doing right now. While I still look forward to the great things that I plan for in my future, I am enjoying the present. I think about why I do the things I do each day, and if they connect with the goals that I have. By this, I spend most of my time doing worthwhile things and cut out those things that won't provide true satisfaction in the long run.

Also, I have become more patient with myself. I realize that the most important thing in life is to be striving to improve little by little, in the small daily things that I do. I will never be perfect, and I will never be satisfied with how much knowledge I have obtained. I've come to see this principle as a wonderful blessing. It is by relying on my Savior daily, and by seeking after His words and knowledge that I will improve and grow closer to Him. Without my innumerous weaknesses, I don't know if I would ever be humble enough to come to Him. It is only through Jesus Christ that all of my burdens can be lifted, and my weaknesses made into strengths. It is by Him that I can make a difference. This is so beautiful to me.

My Savior, Jesus Christ, has blessed me with His love, infinite mercy, comfort and peace. I have been healed by the sancitifying power of His Atonement, and I have experienced brief moments of the most incredible joy and peace. Now, my desire is to share this hope that I have found with others, in small ways. This is one of the ways that I feel that I can make a difference.