Friday, May 30, 2014

Of Endings and Beginnings

I resist change. I dislike leaving parts of myself behind. I think this is almost universally true. Some of us are better at accepting change and moving smoothly through it but even those who adjust well need to adjust in some way to change. I think it's the adjustment that is hard.

Why is this? Why is it that we grieve so violently at someones death? or after a breakup? or feel so homesick when we move away? In all of these situations we feel that we have lost something, and truly we have. For me these moments effect my soul, they pull at the very fabric of who and what I am.

In a recent conference held by my church one of the speakers helped me answer this question in a profound way.

"In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.
Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.
The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, April 2013)

On some level I need the endings. I need to experience these moments. I need the loss. I need the change. It is these things that create opposition, it's from these experiences that I come to know who I am. I am able to recognize my character and more fully define it.

I have experienced the ending of good health a chronic illness of a parent brings; the death of a loved one; the ending moving far from home with little contact with family for over a year is; breakups, heartaches and sorrows life brings. Some of these things I am experiencing now. All of these things have forced me to change, grow and grieve at the endings they create. Yet I am forced to admit that I wouldn't give them up. Not for anything. I would not trade the refining fire they have been and what I am now for all the riches of the world.

I was once talking with one of my dear friends who has had family trouble for most of her life. We were discussing how her family has suffered due to their own poor choices and how I have watched my family suffer due to health problems. We paused for a moment and considered if we would trade struggles straight across. It surprised me to realize that she didn't want mine and I didn't want hers. I'd rather have the ones I've been given.

Paul, in the scriptures, said, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Christ suffered to better "succor his people" (Alma 7:11). He suffered to better understand us and our needs. Is it any wonder then that we must suffer as well, partake in some small way of his sorrow in Gethsemane to better know Him?

So as I face the endings in my life, as I change and the world changes around me, I will seek an eternal perspective. Cuz lifes not over yet. 

~Katie Jean~

Monday, May 12, 2014

Let It Be

Be Still and know that I am God. (Psalms 46:10)

I never really thought about these word in connection to worrying about the future. I am a bit of a worry wart. I have a tendency to be anxious about life and what will happen as things progress forward. I feel the best advice (that I often freely give and forget to take myself) is to let it be. To just allow life to move forward.

Now I know if you're anything like me you are thinking sure, easier said then done. I agree, relinquishing control (or what we feel is control) of our lives is hard. Weather you believe in a God above or not, recognizing that you don't have control over the path you walk is scary and hard. But it's the payout at the end that makes it worth it. You are suddenly free. Free to be you and just allow life to take it's course.

A leader in my church once said "the submission of one's will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God's altar. It is a hard doctrine, but it is true. The many other things we give to God, however nice that may be of us, are actually things He has already given us, and He has loaned them to us. But when we begin to submit ourselves by letting our wills be swallowed up in God's will, then we are really giving something to Him" ("Insights from My Life," Ensign, Aug. 2000, 9).

I was once dealing with my fears and anxieties while serving as a missionary for my church. As I was struggling I was speaking with one of my leaders and he shared with me a scripture that taught me a very important concept. It read's " you know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much my a very small helm in the time of a storm. by being kept workways with the wind and the waves." (D&C 123:16)

Example of a Helm
At the time I knew very little about sailing so the analogy was a little lost on me. I still know very little about sailing but I was taught a little to help me understand by my mission leader. He explained that ships move quickly and easily by being guided with a small helm or rudder, it guides the ship through the waves and helps them chart a course. The phrase workways refers to a head on course, keeping the ship in a direction that makes it possible for the ship to remain afloat and not be capsized by on coming waves. This is not accomplished by turning the ship about. In a true storm a ship has to crest the waves and flow with the waves to keep from being overturned. Ride the swells.

The correlation drawn for me at the time was to keep moving in a forward direction no matter how big the wave appears to be that is coming toward me. I related it to the wave of emotion and anxiety that I was feeling. It applies to almost anything that we feel may be too overwhelming and that could capsize us. The current application for me is my worries. I am borrowing tomorrow's worries to dwell and fixate on today. Thus I am capsizing my ship by running away from the waves rather then facing them in faith. It's a good correlation.

So to wrap this up in the words of the Beatles:
"when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be"

~Katie Jean~

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Don't Give Up What You Want Most For What You Want Now

There are so many dreams I have, so many plans for the future and so many ideas and plans I have right now. Sometimes I have to take things back to the drawing board to remind myself what is most important. I've heard this most often expresses in the phrase eternal perspective.

There was a point in which I was dating someone who I didn't feel was the right fit for me. We fit together better emotionally and mentally than anyone I'd ever met yet spiritually there was a disconnect. I really cared about him but the longer things went on the more I struggled. I wanted so badly to just ignore the consequences and just date him. In the end the words from my mother, "don't give up what you want most for what you want now", were able to bring the perspective I needed. I was able to let go for both of our sakes. I will be grateful for that decision because of the eternal principle it taught. It taught me what I want most, and in the end what I want most is what God wants for me.

I am all about what your viewpoint is, what perspective you're looking at life from, as I hope is evident from my past post's here on this blog. It truly follow's in my heart that God's perspective is really the perspective I am striving to find and see in my own life.

In the LDS bible dictionary it says under the heading Prayer:
 "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings." (italics added by me)

If I truly understand who God is then I want to have a true relationship with him. I, like Christ, seek to do his will and not my own. and thus I will be able to have an eternal perspective.

~Katie Jean~