Monday, January 11, 2016

Being Real

For years I have been living life in a very protective way, not trying new things for fear of failure and not being real. Real had always hurt too much or seemed so unattainable. Recently I have come to a space of trying to listen to my heart and my soul, attempting to find myself. In doing so, my world has been rocked to the very core. I have found a reserve of love I never even knew I had, and I have found a deeper acceptance for myself.

I am not perfect, and I make mistakes. I'm learning that it's okay. Guys, making mistakes is part of life, it's how I learn to be my best self. It makes me who I am today. The struggle is learning the lessons I need to learn to reach my full potential. Sometimes I need to learn the same lesson many times. But I am my best friend or my worst critic, and I have always gone with the latter. Learning to sit with myself and understand who I am is the hardest thing for me to do, because it really hurts sometimes.

Coming to a space of being real has been something I never thought would happen. I am a people pleaser by nature and I always want everyone else to be happy. In living this way, I have neglected my own happiness in so many ways. And I have hidden behind walls that have taken me years to even begin to break down.  I will always struggle with being real, because I feel too vulnerable. But that space of raw vulnerability is what builds trust in relationships and allows me to thrive in my calling on earth, to love and be compassionate and be a tool in the hands of my Father in Heaven. My experiences help others, and other people have experienced that can help me. I was created to learn to love and trust and grow, and allow others to do the same.

I am going to try to live authentically so that I can fulfill my purpose here on earth. I'm learning to accept and love, and even trust myself, and that is what will bring me to a relationship with my Heavenly Father.

Monday, July 27, 2015

'It's Okay'. On Doubts and Insecurities

Today I learned an important lesson. Or, yesterday I guess, since it's Monday now and no longer Sunday. I was talking with a friend, and the conversation took a spiritual turn. We began talking about being insecure and having doubts about ourselves and life in general. My friend was telling me about how scary it is to worry about doing or saying the wrong thing, and I realized that's exactly why I have been hesitant to make connections with the people who are placed in my life lately. As an addict, I have always struggled with healthy connections to other people, especially the 'normal' people out there. I am always worrying more about messing up than I am about how I can help others. It's true that I am not much help if I am not strong myself, but it's the second guessing the strength of my testimony that causes me to be weak in areas of truth.

I have always felt that I need to have all the answers to be able to have a strong testimony. The reality, though, is that the only persons with all the answers are our Heavenly Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I will never have all the answers in kis earthly life. You know what though? That's ok, guys. We weren't placed on this earth to have all the answers. The purpose for this period of our lives is to seek the good and truth, to gain knowledge and a body so that we can learn to be like our Father in Heaven. Seeking the answers to our questions is what brings us closer to Him.

So it's okay to have doubts and questions. It is this that allows our relationship with our Heavenly Parents and our brother to flourish. This is what allows us to be humble and turn to Them as we use the gift of the Atonement to make up for what we cannot do alone. It's okay to sometimes be afraid out of our wits. We are only to do our best and He will make up the difference.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Choosing to be YOU

There comes a time in every life where one must choose to be their own person. I have been struggling with this recently, as I am not entirely sure who my own person is. For years and years I have been defining myself as nothing but a loser, and worthless, and stupid, and eventually, an addict. After I went through the 12 step program and finally began to search for recovery, I learned to define myself as A Daughter of God, which was amazing for me. Yet, the lies of Satan continue to play out in my mind, and I still struggle with what being a daughter of God truly means.  Lately, I have been using those lies to define myself once again, as I am trying to discover my authentic self.

One of the biggest tools Satan uses with me is discouragement. Because I have a hard time seeing the positive things that make up me, Satan is more able to blow the negative things out of proportion, and thus I begin to believe my old defining words; failure, stupid, idiot, addict, and worthless. Eventually all these words push out the fact that I am a daughter of God, Divine in nature, bright, intelligent, and worth His very life.

While I may not always be successful, and while I very definitely make lots of stupid decisions and mistakes, the truth of the matter is that because I was created as a daughter of God, I have an amazing potential that I have not yet discovered, and this life is a test meant for me to become the person Heavenly Father created me to be. I cannot face Satan's lies on my own, nor can I dispel them without a greater, positive outlook on my life, and in turning to my Heavenly Father, He allows me that outlook, and the strength to dispel that which Satan strives for me to believe.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am tired of defining myself in negative ways, and with the help of my Father in Heaven, I know that those negative things can be changed to positive, healthy ways of defining myself and who I am. As a daughter of my loving Father in Heaven, I have the ability to let Him direct and guide my life through His Divine Influence. Thus, I am going to try ever harder to live to be worthy of that gift, and strive to allow His hand in my life in everything I say and do. Though I know I really suck at commitments, I know that even that fault can become a strength in Him. Today I am grateful to know I have that precious gift, and a Father and Brother in Heaven who love and care for me enough that they allow me to struggle in life, giving me opportunities to turn to Them to strengthen my faith and my testimony.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

They Crucified Our Lord

I want to type, to write my amazing love for my Savior Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for me to the whole world. Yet I cannot find the words to share this truly personal connection I have made with my Savior. Gethsemane, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection; all of His life and His gift was for me. For my sins. Not only did He feel my pains, sins, and temptations on a very personal basis, He did the same for everyone. He has been where I was, where I have been, where I am now, and knows everything that I have been feeling, every temptation I have come across, withstood, and even succumbed to. They whipped and scourged Him, pierced His head with a crown of thorns, and then mocked Him and spat upon Him. But He suffered in silence, keeping His peace and knowing that He was doing this for me. And for you. Still on the cross He appealed to the Father for their forgiveness. Then He rose again, that He may conquer death for us. Even in our darkest hours, He is waiting for us to return so He can also appeal to our Father in our behalf, to forgive us and return His Spirit to us with peace, comfort, and yes, even love. While I still do not understand this love and this gift completely, I am grateful for Him, and for His sacrifice in ways that words cannot express. Indeed He has rescued me once more.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Robins and Roses

Recently I have made a discovery. Wild roses look nothing like regular, tame rose bushes. And yet, even so, they are one and the same. More importantly, their beauty is not lessened in the slightest because they are different. In fact, completely the opposite has happened. A wild rose has every bit as much beauty as a regular rose, if not more. Just because it got there differently should not matter to the eye of the beholder. We as humans are like that as well.

I started to write this blog weeks ago, but in the dark abyss of my depression, even writing has been too painful for me for the last little while. During my work as a home health aide, I have seen people in many different walks of life. But there is one theme that remains common between all of my clients, and that is the belief in someone, or something, more powerful than them, who is always there for them. While I know this being as my Heavenly Father, there has been a part of me lately that has been struggling with that belief. Knowing, I have discovered, is not believing. All people go through a period of time where they try to find their beliefs, but the important thing is that when they find them, the person begins to see his, or her, beauty through the eyes of Christ; even though they may not recognize Him as Christ. Little do they know, they already have been beautiful in the sight of God because He is our Father. He may get disappointed by us at times, but He is always there, ready to reach out His hand if we turn to Him.

I came across a song recently that really spoke to me and reminded me to turn to Heavenly Father and remember my worth in His eyes. It is called What His Love is For, by an LDS boy band, Jericho Road. Though I looked for a movie and an mp3, I could find neither, so here are the lyrics.

You say the world is cold and gray.
Your eyes are brave,
But your confidence is slipping away.
(Refrain 1)
I see shadows
move across your face.
And I wish I could save you.
Take you from this place.
Beyond the ache you feel right now.
There’s one who feels it more.
So worry not and let it go.
That’s what His love is for…
That’s what His love is for…
You think you’ve got to,
Carry this all on your own.
So hard for me to see you try
And do it all alone.
(Refrain 2)
I’m here for you
I’ve been where you are.
But He then will find you,
Just open up your heart.
Beyond the ache you feel right now.
There’s one who feels it more.
So worry not and let it go.
That’s what His love is for…
And nothing you can do will change His love
For you… For you…
Whatever it is He will be there…
Be there for you…
(Repeat Chorus 2x)
I also heard a song by the same band called every single tear. That is a video I can upload, and it is also an amazing song, so here it is. Enjoy. Perhaps it can help someone the same way it helped me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On Giving Up Control and Gaining Confidence

We must cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But this kind of trusting doesn't come naturally. It's a spiritual crisis of the will in which we must choose to exercise faith.” 
― Charles R. Swindoll

 I'm not sure how this is going to tie all together, or if it will even make sense, but I learned something about control today, and I wanted to share, and needed the accountability I give myself by writing here. 

I have started to take some horseback riding lessons. The stable I am working with so that I can ride has a lesson horse that has been working with beginners for years. We call her Cupcake, and she is a fabulous mare, and really knows her stuff. Last week I got up on her, and it felt so easy and natural, and good. My teacher said that meant I was doing things right and not fighting her. However, this week, I got up on her, and the whole lesson felt like a fight. She was turning the wrong direction, she was crowding my leg against the wall, and all around just not minding. There were two reasons for this. First of all, we were both tired. Second of all, I was anxious and stressed, and worried about other things. Because I was uptight, she was also, and I was not willing to give up the control I was fighting so hard to have. At the one point where I did relax and didn't try to micro manage her, things were smooth again.

Thinking on this experience afterwards, I realized that it works the same way with our Heavenly Father and our Savior. While they may not necessarily get uptight when we are stressed and anxious, They do still worry for us. I realize now that when I get stressed and worried, I feel insecure, and I do not trust anyone else to be in control because I am worried that something will happen that I am not prepared for. So, I begin to try and micro manage my life and my security, by trying to do everything my way and not listening to others who know better, or to my Father in Heaven who knows all things. However, my control quickly fades away because I am too overwhelmed.

Because I am an addict, I want everything to work for my pleasure. When I get overwhelmed and insecure,, I no longer feel happy and at peace, so I take it upon myself to try and fix that-since I at that moment trust no one else to fix it. Therefore my seeming control becomes more of a type of instant gratification. If I can 'control' my stress and anxiety by over spending, or getting on the internet, or acting out in any other way, then I will do it. And in the moment it feels like I have nothing in the world to worry about. Magically, my stress and anxiety, or whatever it is at that moment, is gone and I feel like I am back in control.

The reality is, I am not driving the horse when I try to hold on so tightly to that control. Instead of a relaxing, more secure ride, I feel like I am on the edge, ready to fall out of the saddle at any moment. And sometimes I do, because my life-horse rears on its hind legs because there is nothing stopping it. Yet, when I turn my life-horse over to the Lord, He teaches me how to quietly and firmly take the reins and allow the horse to work with me as I try to be a better rider, a better student. He helps me to relax, and He shows me that there is a better way than fighting against the bit. His hands reach out and take the lead rope, teaching me what to do as He walks by my side guiding me. That is when I gain the confidence and the strength to live as I have been taught to live. And that is when, working with the Teacher, I become an all star student. But it only happens if I turn to Him and give Him the control I am fighting so hard to keep. In reality, the control comes from giving Him the reins and allowing Him to lead, guide, and show me what I need to do.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Overcoming Depression

I didn't post on Thursday. Partly it was because I haven't had a moment to stop and breathe, let alone type, this week. And the other part is that I have been struggling with a deep dark depression cloud for the last month and a half that is slowly starting to lift.

So the question I am faced with is, what can I do to help the depression cloud tear so that a little light can come in again? This week I have found that writing every night, even just one thing I was grateful for during the day, has been a huge help. I am finding that if I try to find the room to be grateful, even when I don't want to be, I cannot hear Satan's lies as loudly. They are still there, make no mistake about that. But they are not front and center when I am making it a point to be grateful.

Every day I turn the depression over to my Savior, and every day it starts to lessen even just a little more. I know that the times I am the happiest are when I am trying to live the gospel with my whole heart, and trying to know my Father and my Savior. I've been struggling with that over the last little while, but over this last week things have started to look up again, and I know I am not alone, though some days I feel terribly alone.

The alone feeling is what Satan wants us to feel, because in feeling alone, there seems to be no reason to turn to a God who seems to not pay attention to us. If we feel alone, then Satan has managed to convince us that there is no one who knows how we are feeling, or what we are going through. This is a lie. Every word that Satan uses to tell us that we are alone, or will always be lonely, or are worthless, reeks of falsehood. It does not feel truth. Truth does not leave us feeling down and out and discouraged the way Satan's lies do. God is near, and He is aware of us. He is aware of me, He is aware of you. There is no way to get around His awareness of us. And there does not have to be any reason for us to feel like He does not care. When we turn to Him, He will do all that He can to help us and bring us to a point where we can grow. Last night, for instance, I had a really restless client and so did not sleep well at all. Finally around 7 o' clock this morning, I asked the Lord if He would please help this client to rest so that I could get even an hour and a half worth of sleep, to have the strength to continue on through the day. After my prayer, I ended up being blessed with three peaceful hours, and I was able to sleep for two of them before I needed to get up and get some things at the client's house taken care of.

He answered my prayer, even though that seems like something so simple. It may seem simple, but it meant the world to me this morning, and I know that if God was not aware of me, that would not have happened. I'm grateful to know that when things are important to us, the children of our Divine Heavenly Father, they become important to Him as well. I love my Savior, and my Heavenly Father. My prayer now is that this dark cloud will continue to get lighter, and the sun will shine through so that I can continue becoming the daughter He created me to be.