So, here I sit. It’s eleven o’clock and I have not written down my thoughts and feelings from this morning’s studies. My stinking computer decided to undergo a major update. Ugh! On a day where I need to keep on a tight schedule. I’ve done what I could around it, but as soon as I sat down (because the timer was done and I thought it was too), it needed to unpack and get organized in there. Can anyone say frustration? I even ate lunch already (delicious lasgna from my husband’s work meeting last night) trying to get things done while I waited. I didn’t want to just sit in my office either. You know how I’ve been talking about how gorgeous the weather has been? Well, the sun is slipping further to the south, which is the side of the house my big, beautiful windows are on. It was hot in here! I had to shut the shutters and go in another room for a while just to escape the heat.
Today, the readings were so full of light and hope. It was like a refreshing shower after working in the yard on a warm day or sitting in my office on a warm autumn day. No, really. You’ll see what I mean.
The first messages I combined into a graphic…
So often I come upon challenges that seem too high or wide of difficult to get through. If I can remember to just break it down into smaller chunks, turn it over to God by asking for His help and then get out of my own way by not second-guessing every move I make or am prompted to make, things generally work out okay. Okay as in it may not have been the route or result I expected, but it got done anyway. I can think of one example from my own life. When I was really struggling to get well (again, read My Illness up there) – and it was work – it was all I could do to get through one hour sometimes, but if I prayed and then stopped worrying about what might happen or how I was going to manage it, I survived. Ta da! I’m sure you knew that. Here I sit writing to you. Then, after a while, it became one day and then one week, until finally I stopped thinking about it constantly and only worry about it occasionally now (usually, I worry when I know I’m going to be in a “trigger” situation). If I can turn it over to God and get out of my head, I’m okay.
The next message from Pres. Dieter F. Uctdorf, first counselor in the presidency of my church, was titled Fourth Floor, Last Door. It was the sweetest talk I’ve heard in awhile and it touched my heart. He talked a lot about his wife and their relationship, but he went on to talk about how much we are loved by our Father in Heaven. You’ll see a graphic quote later today of the words he used to express this. It touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. One of the other things he focused on is faith – what it can and cannot do. He states first that faith cannot force our will upon others. They get to choose and we can’t do that for them. He makes the following statement,
The second thing faith cannot do is force our will upon God. We cannot force God to comply with our desires—no matter how right we think we are or how sincerely we pray. Consider the experience of Paul, who pleaded with the Lord multiple times for relief from a personal trial—what he called “a thorn in the flesh.” But that was not God’s will. Eventually, Paul realized that his trial was a blessing, and he thanked God for not answering his prayers the way he had hoped.
I hope one day I can get to a place where, like Paul, I can thank God for my trials and challenges instead of maintaining some irritation about needing to go through them.
Ether, in the Book of Mormon, had a verse in it (12) that also spoke to my heart, but in a hmm kind of way. “And whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do good is of me; for good cometh of none save it be of me. I am the same that leadeth men to all good…” It startles me every time I read a scripture like this. I often forget that I do no good on my own. As a mortal, my desires are prone to be selfish or unkind. I think the society we live in drags us down a bit. However, on the flip side, there is much to be excited and happy about – so much joy and beauty in this world. The interesting thing is that we don’t see that except by the love and light of our Father, who in His tenderness highlights those things so that we can see them clearly and enjoy them. God wants us to be happy and successful in this life, of that I have no doubt. He wants all of us to live in the light and love He has put here for us. Crazy isn’t it? If we just look around, it is almost overwhelming what good there is in this world.
Lastly, we have Scott Saul’s message in befriend. I love how his book is organized. It is small chapters based on people you might encounter and how to befriend them and view them and your relationship with them in a Christlike way. Today the two I read were Befriend the Ones You Can’t Control and Befriend True Friends and Significant Others. Whew! Those are pretty big groups of people. He talks quite a bit about how when we are called out on our bad behavior by either of these groups, we should remember that those wounds are blessings. They help us correct our course and draw closer to God. You know, I don’t like being wrong much. My husband kindly pointed that out to me last month. It shocked me. Why in the world would he say that? Of course, he said it because it’s true. We weren’t disagreeing on anything, he just made the comment to let me know. Ouch! I have thought about it numerous times since and, usually, when we are having a conversation where I have said something incorrect but I don’t want to back down. (Clears throat). So, while it may have stung, I know he’s right and it is something I need to work on. Scott says about this, “Faithful are the wounds of friends who show me a mirror, who praise the good in me but who also point out what’s hurtful, because such wounds are surgical, not punitive. Such wounds are restorative, not insulting.” I would think that most of us find any criticism insulting, but it’s not even how God works. He chastises us because He loves us and wants us to become like Him. We can’t do that without seeing where we need to change. We just need to be open to it. Ugh!
He goes on to discuss how to view those we love – “Don’t just fall in love with who they are now. God says to us. With eyes full of faith, fall in love with their future, fully redeemed, fearfully and wonderfully remade self.” I think about that often. What will I be like and what will my husband be like after we are made whole in every sense of the word? I can’t wait to see him (and myself) and to know that side of him. It will be like being newlyweds all over again! We can learn and grow here and enjoy the results then.
Ah…life, love, happiness, challenges, growth, opportunities. These are all beautiful things and I hope your day is full of them.