Being Defined

I have been thinking a lot about some conversations I had with an old friend, a long time ago now, about being defined.  The conclusion was we can either be defined by the world, or by God.  I want to explore both of those.  By being defined by the world, it would be by the things we have, by what clothes we wear, by having the most, the best and the beautiful is the desired outlook.  I like to think of this as being defined by the “natural man”.  By being defined by God, it would be our soul, our relationship with Him, the true desires of our hearts, and our willingness to trust Him.

I began thinking about how I could bring these two more in line with each other.  And then I was reminded of a scripture I know in the Book of Mormon. It comes from Mosiah where a King/Prophet is telling his people his last words to them.

19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

God

World

-daughter/son of royalty -car                                            -clothes
-spiritual gifts -house                                       -money
-knowledge of truth -body type/size
-desires of heart -charisma

Feels like

-peaceful and safe -comparison to others
-better than I think I am -never good enough
-unique, no comparison needed -criticism is at the core
-infinite potential -no perfection ever reached
-takes me where I am, builds me up and allows me to learn -scared

Do I want to be in the middle? No, not really.  The natural man, or the carnal man, is an enemy to God.  Trying to be defined in the middle of the world and God isn’t comfortable, and it never will be.  How can I see myself through God’s eyes (and see others the same way) and put off that natural man?  Go back to the scripture above…I need to become as a child…submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, and willing to submit.  This hits me hard.  How many times as a parent to I inflict MY will on my kids and really they have NO CHOICE?  Most of the time they are willing to submit to me (going to the store, sitting in the school pick up line, eating their dinner) am I as willing?

I need to YIELD my heart to God.  To yield means “to give up and cease resistance or contention” according to my friend Merriam-Webster.  There is an action required on our part to yield.  A couple more scriptures, if you want to look them up, go for it!  2 Chr 30:8- yield to the Lord and ENTER His sanctuary, Helaman 3:35- yield your heart=become SANCTIFIED (becoming submissive and teachable), and Romans 6:13 (12-14)- less likely to sin because yield to RIGHTEOUSNESS, not the opposite.  So I can’t have both, I can’t just straddle the fence.  So where does my sense of self come from?

This is a hard question to answer.  Truthfully I struggle with my self esteem…my natural man is always telling me that I am not enough.  Not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not fashionable enough, not able to be an amazing decorator…blah blah.  So if my sense of self comes from the world/natural man= temporary, finite, and corruptible.  But if my sense of self comes from God=Infinite and eternal.  It is hard when one seems so tangible and the other not touchable but is more FELT on the inside.  As I am working to quiet my natural man and to truly YIELD to the spiritual, it truly is a fight! Like everyday.

My biggest battle, I want to please everyone.  I want to be able to do everything great all the time, and look great, but you know what…I can’t.  I can try my best and TRUST that God will make up the rest.  That said I am not saying everything worldly is bad.  Our bodies are a gift.  I am amazed at how much I can do with this body of mine, even though I am not slim.  I am trying as hard as I can to do my best with it but it is not perfect.  Control what you can control, do your best and give up the rest!

And one more scripture: 1 John 3:20 God is greater than our heart.

There are times when I don’t know if I can do it, but you know what? God knows and I choose to trust Him.

Believe Him

I read something this past week that I have been thinking about A LOT.

“We come to know the Lord as we not only believe IN Him, but also BELIEVE HIM and His assurances.” David Bednar

This thought has been rolling around in my head almost non-stop.  I kept asking myself that same questions, “Do I really believe in Christ” and “Do I really seriously believe Him”?  The first question was easy for me.  I do believe in Christ!  I know from study, pondering, and prayer that He is real, present, and our Savior.  The second question though was a different matter.  There are many things that I believe that Christ will do and can do for “us” but I never took things personally.  Do I believe that He will help ME, an ordinary red-headed girl living in a great big world?  There are many times I have prayed for someone to receive a certain blessing because I know that Christ would do that for them.  There have been times when my prayers were not as sincere and although I would pray for something, it was more of a trite phrase and I truthfully never though it would happen to me, because again I am just me.

I remember when I was single and trying to be in the dating scene, but just feeling awkward about the whole thing.  I remember thinking that all my roommates deserved to be married and how amazing they were (and they all still are!) and that the boys should just snatch them up.  I also remember praying one night that some day that I would get married and literally saying in my head, “yeah right” and moving on.  Another day I remember talking to God and telling Him that life was good, I had things figured out and it was totally fine if I never got married…and then before I could go on, I stopped myself.  Actually, I just couldn’t go on.  I remember the feeling of truly feeling God’s love at that moment and that I needed to just trust Him. I didn’t believe Him and that assurance, but then not even six months later I was married.

Why do we sell ourselves short?  Why is it so easy for us to see God’s hand in other peoples lives but discount them in our own?  David Bednar reflected on the account of the father that asked the Savior to heal his son in Mark 9:22-23 and then he said this, “[P]erhaps he needed help to believe the Master’s healing power indeed could be so individual and so personalized as to bless his own beloved son.  He may have believed in Christ generally but not believed Christ specifically and personally.”  Yep, that is what I have felt.

But then again, I have had times in my life when I felt God’s love for me SPECIFICALLY and on a very personal level.  I have been healed through the atonement of Jesus Christ, I have been carried on His shoulders and have been buoyed up in times of trouble.  I have many blessings in my life that have come from a loving Heavenly Father, my family has been blessed in many ways, and I have felt His peace.  I need to LIVE that more. I need to be able to not pause when I think about truly believing Him.  I need to trust more and throw out fear.  And I need to believe MY Savior and remember how personally and individually He loves me.

Watching

meme-alma-prayer-1219873-tablet-1

This week of motherhood has been a huge learning curve.  Last week my daughter got sick, I am not going to go into details, but it is not something that just goes away over night.  It is going to be something that we deal with all the time.  There is a family tendency towards it, but every person is different.  And it is hard.

It is not that her condition is necessarily hard to diagnose and there are things to help, but it is basically try and fail and try and fail and try and make progress and the pattern repeats.  You know what the hardest part is, though?  Watching your child suffer.  It is hard to see my daughter wrench in pain, scream because it hurts, and not be able to do ANYTHING about it.  At times I feel worthless.  All I can do sometimes is just give her a hug and tell her to calm down.  But you know what I want to do?

I just want to take it away and have my happy girl back.

I am sure that is what Heavenly Father feels like at times with me and probably every one of us.  I know that He doesn’t like to see us in pain, but that it is part of our learning curve.  I am sure that He longs to take away our pain, sorrow, and heart ache, but knows that it will teach us so much more then just taking it away.  I also know that He has given me a hug and told me to calm down.  Sometimes it comes in the form of another person who is being His hands, and sometimes it comes as a feeling in my heart.  He never leaves me, unless I turn away.

I plan to be there for my daughter, and know that Heavenly Father is there right now for her and for me.  Sometimes it doesn’t make it any easier, but I am so glad I don’t have to do this parenting thing alone.  I always have someone to turn to and I always can talk to Him, in prayer.  If you didn’t know, prayer is power.  Literally, prayer is power!

My prayers are for my daughter and for ways to be able to help her.  And I know that there will be many hugs for both of us.