As is our nature as humans, we like things to be finite. We want to know the end from the beginning. I think that when we begin tasks, when we try to accomplish most goals, we set a timeline for accomplishing it. In fact, we are told that a metric for goal setting is making sure that it is time bound. Which I do think is important, to an extent. Much of what we would designate as "failure" is when we have not achieved our goal by a CERTAIN TIME. This line of thinking can be detrimental in our lives. We may not accomplish all that we would like to by a given time, but that does not mean we are incapable of still trying. To me, this would completely invalidate the fact that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is infinite. There is NO timeline we must abide by to activate the Atonement in our lives. We have the blessing and privilege of using it as many times as we can come before the Lord in sincerity and humility and ask for His help and forgiveness. The Atonement is the only catalyst for true and lasting change in all of our lives, which if we are placing ourselves in positions to fail, we are WANTING to change. The Atonement will take who we are and enable us to change for the better.
Christ did not say, "if ye are not perfect by a certain time, well, sorry." We are not limited in the progress we can make. As we exist, we will continue to learn and grow and become more like Christ and in turn more like Heavenly Father. That kind of change can't happen over night. And that kind of change won't happen the first time we try. It is repeated effort. And it is failing. A lot of failing.
One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final.
The Lord is intent on your personal growth and development. Your progress is accelerated when you willingly allow Him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter, whether you welcome the experience or not. Trust in the Lord. Ask to be led by the Spirit to know His will. Be willing to accept it. You will then qualify for the greatest happiness and the heights of attainment from this mortal experience.
Based on what I have been learning, I am going to make an active effort to NOT fear failure. I am going to embrace those feelings of disappointment associated with not doing everything perfectly all the time :) , and then turn to my Savior even more diligently for the help that I so clearly need. I hope that we can all KEEP MOVING FORWARD! And not allow our failures to dictate our lives. Here is a talk that I love and a YouTube video in case my message wasn't clear enough :)
Love you too much! Thanks for being a friend!!!!!
READ THIS TALK!
My little brother was a late bloomer when it came to sports. In high school he actually became quite athletic but when he was eight-years-old he was pretty small for his age and would rather play with his gargoyle action figures than play any sport.
This was much to the dismay of my dad who loves sports and had big dreams for his firstborn son. You can imagine he was pretty excited when Spencer said he would like to play midget football.
He registered Spencer and they went to his first practice. Bless Spence’s heart, he couldn’t even do a jumping jack correctly during warm-ups and the practice just went downhill from there. Less than halfway through this season-opening practice, Spencer came over to my dad during a water break and told him that he just didn’t feel like football was for him.
“Let’s go to Sonic and get some milkshakes,” Spencer remembers telling my dad.
My dad told Spencer that he wasn’t going to let him quit and that he needed to run back onto the field. My brother repeated his argument for why he didn’t want to play football anymore and then again suggested they stop wasting their time and go to Sonic for milkshakes.
To make it very clear to my brother that he was not going to let him give up, my dad climbed into his car and began to drive away with Spencer still begging him to let him in the car. My brother said that in that moment he thought my dad was being completely insensitive and he couldn’t believe that his own dad would leave him there to suffer and embarrass himself.
However, 11 years later, when Spencer was serving a mission in California, he began to appreciate what took place on that football field all those years before. He said that each time he felt like giving up he remembered that his dad had not raised him to be a quitter and it kept him going. He wrote to my dad and thanked him for leaving him there on the football field that day.
My dad wrote him back and told him something he had never told him before.
He told Spencer that he vividly remembered that day and how hard it was for him to say no to Spencer’s requests to leave. But then he told Spencer that while he did drive away, he didn’t actually leave Spencer there alone.
He told him that when he thought my dad had left, he actually just drove over to the other side of the football field where Spencer couldn’t see him and he watched his little boy the rest of the practice. He made sure that he was okay and rooted silently for him.
This story is typical of my dad. He is so good and so loving. But I think this also illustrates a powerful message about our Heavenly Father. We often go through hard things. We feel like quitting and we beg Heavenly Father to excuse us from our trials. But sometimes we feel like He gets in the car and drives away.
I am a firm believer that He never actually leaves us on the field alone. He just goes to a spot where we can’t see him and he watches us as we fight through our trials. He roots for us and He makes sure that we’re okay. He does this because these experiences help us grow and he knows that farther down the road we will thank him. We’ll thank Him for not letting us quit and for loving us enough to let us go through these hard experiences, no matter how bad it hurt Him. We’ll thank Him for leaving us in the midst of our trial. And He’ll tell us that He never actually left.
In a recent trip to the hair salon I had time to sit down, open a magazine, and just veg. It was totally great, and I felt a freedom of allowing my mind to think whatever it wanted, there were no restrictions on time or responsibility. Quickly into this moment of relaxation I found that the world I had so much less time for, shocked me with its abandon of morality.
I found a few articles that did just the opposite and almost shocked me for their moral nature amongst pages of abandon. That is somewhat how I have felt in my new suburb of Chicago. I have felt a shocking sense of morality, I have seen a shocking sense of happiness and light, and it has led me to wonder- why is this place different?
The "Holy Spirit" is described in so many different ways that it is hard to understand what someone means when they say "I feel the spirit" . I have heard it described as overwhelming emotion that seems to pour out of someone without control, great joy, singing hallelujah and amen, and quiet confidence that God lives and knows His children.
The feelings of the spirit are hard to describe, the outcome is easier to denote, here are four ways you can know if you have felt the spirit:
1. Our minds will be filled with inspiring and uplifting thoughts.
2. We will be enlightened, or given new knowledge.
3. Our hearts will have feelings of peace, joy, and love.
4. We will want to do good and be helpful to others.
All good things come from Christ. He is an active participant in our lives more than we can truly understand. I've been surrounded by a community of churches. On my street alone there are two (and it is a small street), walking through the community there is a different church on just about every corner.
I can say that I have felt the light of Christ, the Spirit of God, in my interactions with these people. Not everyone in this town may attend one of these churches, but the influence of morality I feel cannot be separated from the influence of religion and believing woven into the very threads of the town.
They may not share the same exact beliefs as me but they share the common ground of worship of God, morality, and family values. These people believe in something, and that belief has created their culture of carring and love, respect, and an overall confidence. This is where I felt the world had changed, the idea that beliefs are separate from God, morals are separate from His laws, and that values exist outside of Religion, if that is the case then all of such are subject to change, subject to fail.
I know that with Christ we cannot fail and that we can create communities where He is present even if it is just within ourselves.
About two months ago, I toured the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. This was one of the most memorable museums I visited as a child. As a young person, I was memorized by the size of the shuttles and aircrafts on display. However, this most recent trip was memorable for a different reason.
My grandpa worked as a mechanical engineer on the Apollo missions. He helped put man on the moon. As I walked around the museum soaking in all of the information shared, I couldn’t help but think of him. There in that museum reflected so much of what he devoted his professional life to, and now millions of visitors each year come to learn about the Apollo missions.
However, I think if you were to ask my grandpa what the greatest accomplishment of life is, it would have nothing to do with the Apollo missions. Instead he would say his greatest accomplishment is his posterity.
My grandpa passed away two years ago yesterday. Consequently, you can’t ask him this question. But I do believe what he most cherishes about his life is his family. Certainly his professional skills contributed to amazing advancements in the field of science. And while there is no museum depicting the lives of his family, I believe his greatest joy has come from seeing us grow.
Last week I was at a professional conference and was surprised when the closing keynote posed this question to the audience, “What are you leaving behind for someone else to cherish?” His question wasn’t focused on professional accolades but on human relationships.
It can be so easy to forget that what matters most is human relationships – be it family relationships, friendships, or even acquaintances. Certainly we all “know” this, but do our actions reflect this knowledge?
No one will reward me for taking five minutes to write a note to a friend; no one will say good job for including struggling friends’ or family members’ petitions in my prayers; and not one person will probably even notice if I spend an evening baking cookies for a neighbor. Yet, if my presentation at work goes well next week, people will notice; if I win an award for my professional efforts, people will applaud; and if I help meet the strategic goals of my team at work, our success will be rewarded. However, in the grand view of eternity, my professional accomplishments really mean nothing in comparison to the relationships I form with others.
I am grateful for the example of my grandpa, my parents, and others, who teach me through the way they live their lives that human relationships matter most. The greatest example of this is the Savior Jesus Christ. As Isaiah said:
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs , and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
The Savior, despite all the persecution he faced, always knew that human relationships mattered most. He knew that through his suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross and through his resurrection, we would be provided the opportunity for eternal life and the ability to live with God and our families forever. That is what matters most.
While I've been in Seattle, I've been blessed with good friends who are always out finding things to do - and then inviting me along. This past Sunday, it was inviting me to go to St. Mark's Cathedral and listen to the monks sing. I gladly accepted and was excited to go. I loved walking into the cathedral and being greeted by vaulted ceilings and beautifully haunting memories. There must have been hundreds of people there, and all of them were sitting silently, many even meditating. I was reminded of this scripture:
For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads. (Doctrine and Covenants 25:12)
I love beautiful music, and I know that it can make us feel the love of the Savior in a very unique way. As we were sitting and listening, a man started to recite the lyrics to one of my most favorite hymns. I turned around in surprise and mouthed along with him the words I know so well. When the monks began to sing, it was to a different melody than I am used to hearing, but the effect was much the same. It was a moment when I very acutely felt the awareness God has for me as His daughter. Any number of songs could have been sung that night, but I know that one was for me. The lyrics are as follows:
Jesu! the very thought is sweet!
In that dear Name all heart-joys meet;
But more than honey sweeter far
The glimpses of His presence are.
No word is sung more sweet than this:
No name is heard more full of bliss;
No thought brings sweeter comfort nigh,
Than Jesus, Son of God most high.
Jesu! the hope of souls forlorn!
How good to them for sin that mourn!
To them that seek Thee, O how kind!
But what art Thou to them that find?
Jesu, Thou sweetness, pure and blest,
Life's Fountain, Light of souls distressed,
Surpassing all that heart requires,
Exceeding all that soul desires!
No tongue of mortal can express,
No letters write His blessedness,
Alone who hath Thee in his heart
Knows, love of Jesus! what Thou art.
Alone who hath Thee in his heart
Knows, love of Jesus! what Thou art.
I think it is impossible for mortal tongue to adequately express the love I have for my Savior, and conversely the love He has for me. But I am grateful for the way music helps to bride that gap. I love this hymn - and I know that as you listen to it you will also be able to feel of God's love. Love you too much! Hope it's a good day :)
“We’re all just walking each other home.” –Ram Dass
On a flight home to North Carolina in 2011, I picked up the book called “The Walk,” by Richard Paul Evans to read on the plane. The book is about a man whose wife passes away and whose life seems to subsequently crumble around him. With nothing but a little bit of money to his name, he decides to walk across the United States and, as he does, the book documents the places he visits and the people he meets along the way.
In the book he says, “There are people I've yet to meet who are waiting for my path to intersect with theirs, so they can complete their own journeys. I don't know who or where they are, but I know for certain that they are waiting.”
I immediately fell in love with this quote. I loved the concept that we have certain people that we are meant to meet in order to complete our journey here on this earth. Sometimes we have something to offer the other person and other times they have things to teach us that are crucial to our progression in this life.
I have been the beneficiary of these meetings over and over again as Heavenly Father has taken me on a path that I never expected or imagined. In the last seven years I have lived in Washington, D.C. and Washington State. I attended two different Universities and now live and work in Utah, a place I once said I would never live.
As my path has taken twists and turns, I have found that He has repeatedly placed me exactly where I need to be. I know this because of the people I have met along the way and the ways in which they have blessed my life.
Tonight as I was trying to think of what I would write for this blog post, I went for a walk with a friend. We talked about a lot of different things that probably would have made for more interesting or more articulate blog posts than this one but after I got home I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the quality human beings God has placed in my life. I realized how blessed I am to have family and friends who love me, and who I can be 100 percent myself around, but who also make me want to be better.
So while there are a million things in this world that are worth blogging about, I am just grateful for good people. Some of these people have come and gone in my life very quickly while others have stayed awhile but I have found that it doesn’t take long for people to make a lasting impact on your life.
Another quote from “The Walk,” says:
“It is in the dark times that the light of friendship shines brightest.”
As this world seems to become increasingly darker, we need each other more than ever. I am so thankful that God has allowed my path to intersect with so many good people, people who have walked with me and who have helped light my path. After all, "We're all just walking each other home."
Strolling with Samuel on one of our frequent walks to the grocery story I sideways glanced at the newspaper stands, quicker than I knew--I had been violated, trampled, made a fool.
Nestled within the glass, quietly shouting from the corner of the headline was a cut-out picture of a completely naked woman. I walked by unaware of the glare I would see in the reflection, instantly my worth felt compromised.
A Colbie Calliat song, "try" speaks about what the world defines as "womanhood". I wondered what Heavenly Father would think about this divine creation, twisted, distorted, lost in the world, made as a joke on the front of a newspaper.
How is the value of a woman defined? Here are the lyrics to "Try":
"Put your make up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim
So they like you. Do they like you?
Get your sexy on
Don't be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong
So they like you. Do you like you?
Get your shopping on,
At the mall,
Max your credit cards
You don't have to choose,
Buy it all
So they like you. Do they like you?
Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you're all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?
You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing
You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing"
All of this doesn't add-up to womanhood. The world mocks women, it tells us that we need to be something, show something, dress like something, think like something, but in reality we are daughters of God. He is our Father, He has given us privilege and love, and through our relationship with Him is where we can feel true beauty and peace.
"She could become discouraged, especially if comparing herself unrealistically to others or focusing on what she is to do instead of on what she is to be. Her self-esteem cannot be based on physical features, possession or lack of a particular talent, or comparative quantities of anything. Her self-esteem is earned by individual righteousness and a close relationship with God. Her outward glow is generated by goodness within."
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