Last weekend, my husband and I sat on a panel for a Q&A session with the youth (ages 12-18) in our church congregation. The topic was pressing forward with faith in Christ. I was inspired by each person's responses to the questions asked by the youth.
As I listened to the responses and reflected on the questions asked, I was reminded that each of us needs to walk by faith. We often don't know the struggles those around us have faced or are facing. Each person we interact with is experiencing or has experienced a time in life when he/she needs/needed to exercise faith.
A few days after the Q&A session, my mind was fixated on the oft-quoted scripture found in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
I find the hardest part for me is "lean not unto thine own understanding." I find myself saying in my heart, "I trust in God, but I need things to make sense." Yet, that is not how God works. God's ways are higher than our ways. Things won't always make sense, and I don't think they're necessarily supposed to.
So much power is found in this scripture. The promise of being directed by God is the greatest blessing we could have here on earth. However, sometimes that path may be steep and may be rocky. But it's better to be on a steep and rocky path with God as our guide, than on a smooth path wandering without the guidance of God. God knows best where we need to go. His knowledge is far greater than ours.
One thing I do know is God is a loving God. He knows that exemplifying this scripture is hard and will take a long time to master (probably forever). He is a patient and loving Father, and I think He knows the experiences we gain while seeking to trust more and lean less on our own understanding will be priceless blessings we will carry with us throughout eternity.
He's not trying to punish us when things go "wrong" (in our eyes), He's trying to guide us.
I have been horrible about writing on this blog lately. To be completely honest, I haven't really wanted to. And to be even MORE honest, the reason for that is how casual I became in my faith. There wasn't a huge crisis, but I started to feel kind of ... meh. This from a girl who was still praying, reading scriptures, going to the temple weekly etc. However! I found myself going through the motions, and not really meaning it like I usually do.
I was speaking with my roommate in relation to this topic. I told her sometimes it's hard when you are living on your own to find the motivation to be better. I am doing fine, but it's almost as though I need extrinsic motivations to improve. (Which - probably don't ask for those :) ). And I stated that sometimes it's hard when your motivation has to be all intrinsic. And that only person that you really answer to is God, someone who will love you just the same regardless.
I guess when my little "aha!" break through moment came, was when I realized that God does love me the same regardless. There is nothing that I do or don't do that garners more or less love from Him. His love for me is eternal and perfect. My motivation to be better cannot be to gain more love from Him - I have to want to be better to show my love for Him. And in turn realize that I will be happier in the process.
I guess what I am saying is that everything ebbs and flows. And sometimes you might be going through the motions a little :) But what helped me best was remembering I am a child of God, who loves me, and who will always love me. When we are assured in the knowledge that there is someone who truly loves us, our fears are washed away and we have a better vision of our potential. Having that sort of confidence in the love of my Savior, allowed me to "pull it together, Picard!" and remember why I do care.
I am grateful for a God that has patience in my weakness, and that I can rely on for strength to be better when I turn to Him in faith. Life is such a beautiful journey and I hope that I am always learning what I can from it :) Hope you have all been doing well! And as always - thanks for being a friend and helping me be better!
Love you too much!
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
Sometimes I let little, inconsequential annoyances rob me of happiness. I complain about my long commute, even though I enjoy my job. I comment on a daily basis about how much I hate the cold, even though I love the calm peace that Winter seems to always bring. I get stressed making dinner, even though I am grateful to have food and the opportunity to learn new recipes. I could go on...
As a result, I want to make 2016 a year of cheerfulness. To me, cheerfulness is a combination of faith, happiness, and optimism. Sometimes little, inconsequential annoyances rob of us cheer, and sometimes really big, life-altering trials seem to soak up all our joy. Yet Jesus Christ invites us to “be of good cheer” no matter what stage of life we’re in.
I think He knew there would be times in our lives that would be smooth and times in our lives that would be rocky. I’ve found that I can find something to complain about in both the smooth and rocky times. But that is contrary to the Savior’s command to “be of good cheer.”
I love this quote by Thomas S. Monson, God’s living Prophet on the earth today: “To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility. You ask, 'How might we achieve these goals?' I answer, 'By getting a true perspective of who we really are!' We are sons and daughters of a living God, in whose image we have been created. Think of that truth: 'Created in the image of God.' We cannot sincerely hold this conviction without experiencing a profound new sense of strength and power, even the strength to live the commandments of God, the power to resist the temptations of Satan.”
To focus on developing cheerfulness, I want to focus on getting a truer perspective of who I really am and my relationship with God. Will you join me in making 2016 a year of cheerfulness?
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