Sunday, January 12, 2014

How to be a champion at anything!

Well I've taken a long break from writing in the blog. Not because I don't like it, but I've just been super busy with other things. However, I'm finally graduated and hopefully I'll be writing more often than just once a week too! I'm not sure why, but it gives me a fulfilling feeling to write on our blog.

I've found that this week was really hard for me, which seems silly when I think about it. Ben started school, as well as working both his jobs. I on the other hand don't have a job or school to think about. I felt so useless (and still do sometimes)! On top of not having anything to do, I was very sick this week, so I didn't even do housewife stuff like laundry and dishes and cooking.  Talk about being bored out of my mind.

I don't like not having anything that I can work towards (heaven help us when Ben retires!), because I feel like there is no purpose in my life. Sure, I can read books and take naps, but in the end, there is nothing really driving me to something bigger and better.  I finally had a bit of a break down and cried to Ben about how stagnant I felt. He (as always) was a huge help. We talked about things I could do to feel that I was moving forward with life, but that didn't make me feel better about what had happened. I was still upset that I had become an emotionless bump on a log for the last 4 days, and I was beating myself up for not having done better.

Of course, there was nothing I could do about what had already happened...there never is.  Even though I knew what I needed to do to feel better in the future, all I could think about was how horrible I had done in the past. When Ben realized that that was why I was crying he did a really great job of explaining something to me. What he taught me is that God wants us to look forward to what is coming next, and not to dwell on our past mistakes and beat ourselves up for them. Of course, it is essential to recognize when we've made a mistake so that we don't repeat it, and so that we can try to mend any relationships our mistakes might have damaged (most importantly our relationship with God).  However, once we have corrected our mistake/realized what we need to do differently, we need to look forward.

There is someone else at work who doesn't want you or me to move forward. In Christianity we call him Satan, others might call it simply the opposing forces of the universe.  Whatever or whomever you refer to this force as, his goal is always the same: he wants to stop us from progressing. If he can get us to focus on how horrible we have done, we will never have the courage to try to do better.  If he makes us think about how horribly we do all the time, then we will believe that we are bad at whatever it is, and are incapable of getting it right. This is a lie. God doesn't create failures. He made you with the potential to succeed in anything you set your mind to! That doesn't mean you will succeed on the first try - you shouldn't expect to. What it means is that you should never stop trying, because with each attempt you will get better.

I'm very grateful to know that even though I make mistakes, I can do it right. I can do anything right! I just have to stop counting how many times I've fallen down, and simply resolve to always get back up and try again. I know that God didn't create me or you so that we could be failures. He wants us to be champions at whatever we set our minds to do! He wants us to be happy, I know He does. 

Testimony of God

Let's try something different today.  I feel impressed to testify to you of the reality of our Savior Jesus Christ.  I know that He lives and that He loves us.  He died for us on the cross and rose again on the third day so that we could return to God's presence.

I know for myself that this is true.  I have felt an outpouring of God's love this past week.  It was the first week of the new semester and I sacrificed some of my time twice this week to go help some neighbors move.  The result?  From too much time in the cold I got a nasty cold/flu thing that made me miss one of my days of school.  But it all worked out.  I would help 100 more people move with the flu if I had the opportunity.

I got a random phone call on Friday from a good friend who was asking me if I would be willing to return to a very special choir called From the Heart here at BYUI.  I hadn't even thought about them, really.  But when he called, it just felt right, and I knew that Heavenly Father was directing me and guiding me down paths that I need to walk.  I know it will be a blessing in my life this semester.

I just want to put my feelings out there so that you all know that I love God.  I love Him and do not doubt He is there and that He is guiding my life.  He loves each and every one of us and wants us to return to His presence.

The reason this post is different is because I want to encourage you to respond.  Now that you've read my testimony, please respond with your own short testimony.  Tell us how you know God lives and loves you.  Feel free to do it in whatever language you want, and at whatever length you feel inspired.  I just want us all to benefit from our collective testimonies and experiences.  So please, share your feelings with us and we will respond in kind.  :)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

You can't do it alone

Sorry it's been a while, folks.  I'd give you excuses like being out of town for two weeks, getting ready for school to start, etc., but that's all they are, excuses.  But what matters most is that we're back!  Gauchay and I love writing in this blog and we sure love all of you that read it.  We may not know who you are, but we hope that in some way we are able to write something that allows the Spirit of God to touch your heart.

I've had an interesting few weeks.  I've discovered that you really find out who you are when you're taken out of your daily routine, when you're put in an entirely new situation.  It's one thing to be able to live a Christlike life when you've gotten into your groove.  When every day is the same and you start to be able to expect where Satan might tempt you or what situations you usually find yourself in that require a little extra courage.  But then that all changes when you end up in an entirely new situation.  And to me that's when you finally find out who you are.  That's the experience I had over these past few weeks.

Now don't get me wrong, I loved spending 2 weeks with my in-laws and out-laws, but it sure taught me something.  All of a sudden I had no routine to fall back on, no normalcy that told me what to do next.  And I found out that I wasn't really living the gospel the way I wanted to.  And I found out that I was relying entirely too much upon myself to get through those times of temptation.

Satan sure knew what he was doing.  He knew just where to tempt me and what to put in my way so that I would be faced with a new situation that might prove challenging.  And instead of relying upon the Lord, I relied upon myself.  And as I've contemplated this over the past few days, I've been re-taught something I've known for a long time, but seem to have forgotten: I can't do it alone.

Today our bishop said something that I found quite interesting.  He said that we are about to the point to where we can do everything ourselves.  If we don't know something, we look it up on the internet on our personal computer.  We can completely entertain ourselves on our personal devices.  We all have our own cars, our own phones, our own debit cards, our own Facebook accounts, etc.  We, as a people, seem to be withdrawing more and more into ourselves.  But this is not the Lord's plan.

He does not want us to do it alone, because He knows that we can't do it alone.  In the Book of Mormon it says, "it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." I hope that those colors don't make it confusing.  There are two key points here: first, that it says that we're saved by grace.  This grace is not something innate within us.  It is the grace of God that comes from Christ's Atonement.  So we are not saved by ourselves.  But, it says that we are saved by grace after all we can do.  So first we have to do everything we can, and then turn to Christ and let his grace help us.  

As we contemplate this new year and look at all that we want to accomplish, I pray that we will all recognize that we can't do it alone.  As you try it alone, you will find that you are constantly lacking, that it never quite works out right, and you'll feel a spiritual void in your life.  I promise that as you turn to Christ and tell him your plans and what you plan to do, He will, according to the righteous desires of your heart, help you to reach your eternal and spiritual goals.  This I know, and I am so incredibly grateful to my Heavenly Father for teaching me this over these past few weeks.