Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why Don't You Understand Me!

Have you ever had a pity party?

I found myself having a pretty good one last night. Aren't you sad you didn't join? 

In an effort to change my selfish and self-centered feelings, I read scriptures. I listened to music. I spent time writing in my journal.

Truth from a loving Heavenly Father
distilled upon my heart and mind 
as the dew distills upon the grass
I postponed prayer because I didn't feel like praying. But since I've discovered that prayer is the most effective tool for inspiring hope and happiness in my heart, I finally gave in. I knelt down and began to visit with my Father in Heaven. I try to be honest with Him because that's the only way I can find resolution to my problems.

"Why doesn't anyone understand me?" I opined. "I make such an effort to understand others!"

I continued in this vernacular for an unreasonable amount of time until this heaven-sent thought sunk deep into my heart—
Why don't you understand me? I understand you perfectly.
Friends, how much time do we spend worrying about what others think instead of worrying about what God thinks? How much time do we waste vainly hoping that others will accept and understand us when we could instead be making an effort to accept and understand God?

For me, the answer is far too much, far too often! I'm reminded of a statement from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
We consume such precious emotional and spiritual capital clinging tenaciously to the memory of a discordant note we struck in a childhood piano recital, or something a spouse said or did 20 years ago that we are determined to hold over his or her head for another 20, or an incident in Church history that proved no more or less than taht mortals will always struggle to measure up to the immortal hopes placed before them. Even if one of those grievances did not originate with you, it can end with you. And what a reward there will be for that contribution when the Lord of the vineyard looks you in the eye and accounts are settled at the end of our earthly day.
Our precious emotional and spiritual capital is better spent doing things that will bring us closer to God. In an effort to better understand He who understands me perfectly, I am recording the lessons He teaches me through prayer and scripture study. These lessons originate as thoughts which come gently, almost imperceptibly into my mind and heart.

I record these lessons in a journal. I invite you to do the same. These treasured spiritual tidbits will provide great comfort and direction to you in moments of stress and confusion.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Love > Fear

Did you know you can actually replace fear with faith?

I didn't believe it either. I had been taught my whole life that faith is the antidote to a whole host of ills—fear being the most commonly mentioned. I struggled to wrap my head around such an abstract concept as faith until I internalized this life-changing verse of scripture—
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.
I've learned that love is the great motivator while fear is the great de-motivator. Love for Jesus Christ inspires faith in Him and motivates us to keep His commandments. Fear of the Lord causes us to question His divinity and our worth as His children. Love for our neighbors motivates us to serve and share truth with them. Fear of our fellow men causes us to withdraw from the world.

So the bad news is that fear is a real emotion with drastic, eternally negative consequences.

The good news is that love—a real action word and the primary manifestation of faith—is the antidote. If I'm feeling fear, all I need to do is love or serve somebody and that awful feeling will vanish.

That's my two cents. Here's yours—
  • Rian: Singing a hymn helps...and prayer. Sometimes I'm pretty sure that I don't overcome my fears; Heavenly Father just helps me ignore them for a while
  • Andrew: Every fear is just a diluted version of the irrational fear of dying that permeates most of our conciousnesses. If you can remove the fear of dying there's nothing else to be afraid. And why should we be afraid to die? Exactly—no good reason at all
  • Emma: I overcame my fear by praying. God helps us overcome our fears by giving us peace. Fear is what the devil instills in us. God replaces our fear with FAITH!
  • Sue: Our place here on Earth is to share the gospel and to lift one another up, and the best way for me to overcome a fearful situation is through prayer, fasting and the study of scripture. I often use my Bible Dictionary or Topical Guide to reference scriptures pertaining to my concerns and then exercise faith through prayer and obedience to receive the comfort of the Holy Spirit. I have been blessed with such an amazing peace that I know could only come from the Spirit.