Convicted

I am feeling convicted this morning by Praying Upside Down. Up to this point I’ve just felt inspired, but today, not so much. I want to spend more time in prayer, but not just in prayer – meaningful prayer. I talk to God a lot, but it just feels like a one-way conversations, not a “hey God, what’s up today?” kind of listening experience. I’m not great at listening. To God. Mostly, I just air my frustrations at Him like a toddler.

I woke up fine, but this whole bullet journal issue is bothering me. I know, much more than it should. It’s supposed to make life easier, but easier means it needs to be the right format in the first place and that is the problem. I’m trying another one. Blech. I spent about forty-five minutes on it last night and another hour this morning trying to figure out every detail. So not the point with bullet journals, but that’s just me. I printed them out on 8.5×11 paper, landscape, and I’m just going to clip the whole month’s blank pages into a (cute) file folder with binder clips and then, when the month is over, close the cover and put them in my filing cabinet. Or not. Does anyone save them from month to month? Hmm. Something else to consider.

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In the process of attempting to figure this out, I did manage to purge some more empty notebooks that can be donated. I will never use them and someone might enjoy how cute they are. I like the feeling of getting rid of stuff. We’ve been married twenty-six years, have four children that have their own stuff, and we’ve lived in this house coming up on five years. It doesn’t seem like much, but stuff accumulates fast. It must reproduce itself because we have multiples of quite a few things.

I think I’m trying to do too many things at once again. I want to draw more, pray more, exercise, drink more water, stop eating junk food, stop drinking soda, and eat healthier in general and it’s just all too much together. This is one thing I hate about where I am with this bipolar disorder. I get overwhelmed far too easily. It’s frustrating and then, I started out my day with left-over frustration from last night and wah-la! There you go. I did have all of my studies this morning though, so that’s good.

img_53661I already told you how I was feeling today about Kelly’s book. Although, to be fair, it isn’t the book itself. It pointed out some other methods to draw closer to God in prayer, but it felt overwhelming. Today, it was about keeping a prayer journal. Hey! I’m doing that. That’s a great thing! I just have a spot for “answers” on my bullet journal/planner page. It’s nice to be able to look back through them and see how my prayers have been answered in just a few days. I keep a prayer journal on the same sheet and, when a prayer is answered, I write down the date of the prayer too, so I can go back and see what I talked with God about. He really does just want to bless us.

I used to keep a full on blessings book of all the ways I saw God’s hand in my life and of the lessons I was learning along the way. They added up quickly. I enjoy looking back it now because I can see how those lessons have become a part of me and a part of what I now believe. Life lessons. They can be tough.

One thing about the idea of a journal is that it also applies to the Book of Mormon. Nephi (Lehi’s son) was commanded to keep a record (journal) of their family’s activities. He begins to write a while after they leave Jerusalem, but he starts the story before they leave and explains how his father, Lehi, came to know God and to got his family to safety.

The story starts in about 600 BC in Jerusalem. King Zedekiah is the king, installed by Nebuchadnezzar II, who was the King of Babylon at the time. (I love all of the back story and the historical events of Biblical things. It seems to help the stories make more sense.) So, back to this one. King Zedekiah’s reign began in around 597BC and he was just a puppet king, meaning he just enforced what the empire of Babylon wanted, he had no actual authority of his own. This was the start of the deportations, where the Jewish people were taken from Jerusalem and sent to Babylon.

There was a lot of commotion going on, as you can imagine. There were prophets (including Jeremiah) warning the people of what was coming and those prophets were being killed because the people refused to believe that Jerusalem, that “great” city, could be destroyed. During this time of confusion, Lehi decided to pray about the situation and God answered, calling Lehi to add his voice to those warning the people. Nephi says about this event in his father’s life, “And it came to pass as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much; and because of the things which he saw and heard he did quake and tremble exceedingly.” We know things like this happened to prophets all the time in the Old Testament, but can you imagine?!?

Nephi goes on to say that Lehi was overcome, came home, and collapsed on his bed, where another vision was opened to him and he saw Christ and His apostles going upon the earth to teach and preach. In the vision, he was given a book to read (similar to in Revelation) that showed the destruction to come to his people. After he read those dire warnings, he exclaimed, “because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!”

As was happening with the other prophets of the time, as soon as Lehi began to also be a voice against the unrighteousness, the people decided to try to take his life as well. Obviously, this was a problem, so Lehi again turned to prayer about what to do, which is where chapter one ends.

As far as the actual plates go, Nephi says in verse 3,  “And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.” Just like my journals and prayer journals and even this blog, I do know that the record I am making is true because I am writing it with my own hand and I do it according to what I know. There is more to know with scripture than can ever be completely understood. I am in awe of our God, who created layers upon layers of truths that we can learn from – the basics all the way up to theological students – and for every place in our lives. No matter where or when you stop, there will always be something new to learn and understand and part of that understanding comes through prayer. Kelly is right. She says,

Jesus came to experience life with us. Isn’t that what you and I long for? To share this life with Him?

Sign me up! That is certainly what I want in this life. I want Him to walk with me, especially as I learn and grow in His gospel. I want to understand the scriptures and how they apply in my life. I want to read and glean new information that applies to my life – right now. I know that He provides that and we can pray for even more light for our path. What a great God we have!

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