Choosing Love

I have had a hard couple of days.  I don’t want to write about what has made it hard, I want to write about things I have learned from hard things and what I am choosing to focus on instead.  But, by disclaimer…when things happen that are hard one thing I always do is turn to my Heavenly Father.  I can definitely say that as I have prayed that I know that God is aware of me and has helped lighten the burden.  Now onto things that I have learned, in no particular order…

I can CHOOSE to love someone even if they don’t show, express, or seem to love in return.  This is REALLY hard for me to do and it hurts REALLY bad, especially when it happens repeatedly.

I can CHOOSE to hold onto the hurt or I can choose to put it behind me and hope for the best the next time.  But I don’t have to let the negative thoughts hijack my life right here, right now, or for a whole week.

When I CHOOSE to love people, my self-worth is not dependent on what they choose to do or not do with my love.  People/or the relationship does not define me or make me inherently bad.

I can CHOOSE to live my life with more meaning and more purposefully.  I can still show and express love and compassion.

Even though some people appear to not give in a relationship, that doesn’t mean that others cannot.  My husband loves me more than I can express and I love him more than I can express.  He understands me and loves me and is able to talk to me and help me.  He is AMAZING and I will always have his love.

I can CHOOSE to keep trying to show love and be part of people’s lives even though it makes me VULNERABLE (and I don’t like that feeling).

I can CHOOSE to love myself even when others don’t, can’t or won’t reciprocate.

-I can CHOOSE to love!

Instead of dwelling on the bad I am working on focusing on what I learned and about how to put it into practice in my life right now.  It doesn’t make it any easier that hard things happen, but our reaction to them can make all the difference.

A graphic of train tracks coupled with a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley: “The course of our lives is … determined by … day-to-day choices.”

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.

Learning Happiness

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We all face trials, whether big or small, they are trials.  Sometimes it is hard to get through them from one moment to the next and others you feel like you are able to walk tall still.  No matter what, there are times when we need help.  Acknowledging our dependence is not a sign of weakness.  It is in fact, at those times when we realize that we need someone else to help, that we truly become stronger.  I believe in God.  I know He loves me, individually.  There have been times in my life when I was trying to do it all, okay, lots of times, but when I finally reach my hand to God things change.  It is when my Savior walks with me in my daily life that I can face those trials.

In the Book of Mormon, we learn about the people of Alma. These were people that had given up everything to follow a prophet of God, to live what they believed, and be willing to walk with the Savior.  They came under subjection to a mean king and were given heavy burdens to carry, LITERALLY (Mosiah 24:15).  They were told that they couldn’t pray any more, or else they would be punished.  But you know what, they were still happy.  Am I that way when I am given heavy burdens to carry?  Or do I feel bad for myself, complain to my Heavenly Father, and pray to have them taken away RIGHT NOW!? Well, I know that I am usually not the happiest.

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One thing that I have been learning lately though is to change my prayers.  I think it is human nature to not want to be in uncomfortable situations, or ones that hurt, are unpleasant or that make us feel like we are failing.  When the people of Alma were told that they couldn’t pray out loud, they probably actually prayed more.  They were pouring out their hearts to God…not out loud but in their hearts.  If you feel like you are not able to make the most of your prayers at night or in the morning, trying praying in your heart.  What a marvelous experience you can have.  The other point that I would like to bring up is that the heavy burdens on the people of Alma were not taken away right away…they were made light.  Again, back to changing my prayers.  Instead of learning from my trials I just want out of them.  So now, it is more of a plea to help me carry this burden with His help and see the tender mercies along the way.

And what an amazing thing to happen.  There is one burden that has almost consumed me, it is hard, and I don’t like that I think about it constantly and try and figure out ways to take it away.  I used to pray to just have it taken away, now I am looking for those little things that make it better.  I don’t think that it is magically going to go away, but those little victories are making a huge difference to me, because I am actively working hard WITH my Heavenly Father and actively looking for His hand in my life.

Another scripture that comes to mind when I have been thinking about this, is to live after the manner of happiness (2 Nephi 5:27).  Is it possible to be happy when carrying heavy burdens?  Yes, it is.  It is not always easy to find, but if you look it is there. Sometimes the happiness is discovered through  a change of perspective or simply letting go.  I learned wise counsel from my mission president, his motto, “Control what you can control.” When we do our best to truly be a disciple of Christ then we will be supported, no matter what.  We have to be willing to accept His help.

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