I’m afraid, really afraid

I moved this week. As this posts I will be sitting in church with people who have known me for several years, and whom I feel comfortable around.

The familiarity and sociality of these people is the main reason I chose to move. A week ago Friday it wasn’t on the radar, but when I was offered a contract on Saturday, I spent the next 36 hours considering it and chose to make the move.

The things I’ve dealt with the last several months are real. I have yet to really understand the breadth or depth of how I am affected by them, but I know I’ve faced the darkest most difficult times of my life.

I did it alone, and as I felt some of that depression returning to my life, I felt that moving to where I have social support would be a positive choice.

But the thought hit me today:

What if this divine door to a more supportive area/ward was opened because I’m not even close to coming out of the darkness I’ve been in and it will get worse for a long time before it gets better? What if this move is meant to provide me support as times get only more difficult?

That scared me shitless. All I could think was, “Dear God, Please No. I don’t need that.”

I couldn’t do anything but cry and pray and beg that wouldn’t be the case. I want some relief. I want to be myself again. I want to be able to talk and laugh and not have thoughts of incompetence plague my brain.

As those thoughts went through my mind, it was hard to believe the incredible blessings that were being pronounced as I participated in temple initiatory.

One day my shoulders may be able to support the burdens I am given. One day perhaps I will have a testimony of being able to endure and overcome this.

For now, I have only a belief that I will not be given more than I can overcome. And if things do get harder, I’ll know I have people around me who know and love me. I hope things get better, and eventually they will; but I’m tired of struggling being the current purpose of my existence.

Momentum changes and initiating such

A few weeks ago, I had the following thought stick strongly in my mind:

The way forward begins with me taking one step.

It struck me so strongly that in the middle of sacrament meeting, I loaded up the Cloudpebble IDE online and wrote a app for my watch that displays the quote.

The way forward begins with me taking one step. Inertia is a real thing. It’s obviously a principle of physics. It is also true regarding non-physical things. Making decisions, accepting circumstances, learning from emotions, and so much more begins with making a single decision and beginning to act.

I found this true when I became convinced of my need for help last October. I didn’t want to call and make an appointment with the therapist–I didn’t need help that badly–but I made the call and set the appointment. And that started my momentum down the path to being more healthy.

This was true when I started going on dates again. Asking was never something I was good at. But I was worse at it–and didn’t want to fix it–until late 2014. But taking a step forward and starting to ask, even if I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, put me on the path toward dating again.

There are many applications for this: you can think of far more than I can name. but the principle is true. If you take a step, the second step will be easier.

My current struggle is with home teaching. I believe the program is inspired. I’ve benefitted so much from home teachers. They’ve rarely come, but I’ve always know who mine were and always tried to ask them for blessings before anyone else.

However, I haven’t done well as a home teacher. I’ve known who I home teach for several months, but I haven’t reached out to them yet. I have reasons, but they don’t much matter.

All the matters is the way forward begins with me taking one step. And today is the day I can take that step.

Season of thanks: Examples of friends

I like to spend time with my friends.  Some friends I want to spend more time with than with others.  It just makes sense.  :)  I have one friend I’d like to spend more time with than I do, and I hope the feeling is mutual.

A few nights ago, we had a chance and I indicated as much while talking with her.  Essentially, she said, “I’ll see you a different time.”  She chose instead to attend the temple that night and spend time with her family.

Although I may have been slightly disappointed, I have to be grateful that I have friends who have solid priorities and place them first.  As I try to be better, I realize I must have my priorities in a similar order: God, family, friends.  (School might fit in there somewhere, but finals are over and we won’t discuss school for a while.)

I, therefore, am grateful to have one friend remind me of priorities and where mine should be.  Mine may not have been far from that, but spending time together would have altered hers and I didn’t intend that when I suggested we spend time together.  So, friend, thank you for (possibly unknowingly) sticking to your priorities.  I appreciate your example and what you taught me.

Peace

As you might gather from reading the myriad things I blog about, there’s a lot going through my head.  It can get really loud in there.  Between over-analyzing almost everything I hear and thinking about far too many things, I find I need to do a clean-out nearly weekly.

I find the best thing for that is to attend an LDS temple.  The closest one for me is in Provo Utah, pictured below (link).

My appreciation to Kevin Miller photography for posting this picture.  He’s got a great eye.

Anyway, aside from being picturesquely located across the globe (an image search for LDS temples can back me up), temples provide a place where members of the LDS Church can go to worship God, perform saving ordinances for those who have died, and receive revelation.

I want to focus on the last point.  Because my mind is so busy, I face two big problems: (1) I have so much vying for thought resources (I’m describing my brain like a computer…) that it’s hard to take time to seek revelation, and (2) revelation comes so quietly that I often don’t recognize it, or I just ignore it.

Knowing this, I’ve tried to be more still mentally, but that hasn’t always worked.  At the temple, I choose to focus on only one thing: serving God and those who have passed before me.  In doing so, I quiet the other thoughts rampaging through my mind.  Peace comes.  Other important thoughts surface (think balls that have been underwater coming to the top–sometimes they surface and jump up, sometimes they just come to the surface.  Because I am at peace, the thoughts tend to come gently and one-at-a-time.  This allows me to handle each one in turn and set my thoughts (and my life) in order.

I leave refreshed and prepared to face another week.  I am grateful to live five minutes from one of the beautiful places of worship.  My consistent attendance and service therein have immensely blessed my life and have prepared me to face much more than I could have otherwise.

Experiences there and throughout my life have convinced me I have a loving Heavenly Father who cares about every experience I have.  And because He is a loving God, He loves each other person on Earth just as much.  We all experience different trials, but there are meant to prepare us to live with Him eternally.  Temple attendance brings me peace and clears my mind so I can focus on what is eternally important, and not just what my scattered mind tells me is important.

Jesus the Lamb

As Christmastime approaches, our awareness of the Jesus story increases.  His birth comes to our minds, and we remember why we celebrate the season.  However, one misunderstood aspect of our Saviour’s birth story helps us better understand why He is the Lamb of God: the shepherds.

We know Jesus is the Ultimate and Last Sacrifice, sent by the Father to fulfill the Law of Moses.  On the day of Atonement, unblemished lambs were sacrificed as the offering for Israel’s atonement.  With these sacrifices made, the nation once again stood pure before God.  Jesus was sent as the Final Sacrifice–the Sacrifice to End All Sacrifices by the shedding of blood.
Jesus’ entire mission was spent leading up to the hours of his Atonement, but His birth, and particularly those to whom the message of His birth was announced, give greater insight to what he was.
We learn, from Luke, that there were shepherds abiding in the fields by night on the eve of the Saviour’s birth.  Though we often think “wow, the angels came even to the lowly shepherds,” this is not the intent of the announcement.  These were not ordinary shepherd, these were shepherds who watched over the temple’s flocks (this is known because of significant internal and external evidence).  These were not the average, poor, run-of-the-mill shepherds.  These shepherds were well-cared for, well-off, and not what we think of when we think “shepherd.”
So this may destroy the popular notion that the angels came even to humble shepherds.  But there is a reason the angels came to these shepherds–a symbolic, and, therefore, much more important reason–they watched over the sheep to be sacrificed for Israel’s atonement.  The angels came, in essence, to say “Come, see the reason you have a job.  See who will end the need for animal sacrifice.”  This symbolism, of shepherds leaving their flocks and coming to Jesus, foreshadows what the early saints had to do:  leave behind the Law of Moses–it had been fulfilled–and come to Christ, recognizing Him as the great and last sacrifice.

Promises of Scripture

As I was reading my scriptures this morning, a passage struck me. In The Book of Mormon, a passage from the Book of Ether struck me. This interlude by Moroni was particularly interesting considering current world events.

Speaking of the American continents, he says,

9 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.

  10 For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.

  11 And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.

  12 Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written. 

We live in a land of promise. A land wherein if we keep the commandments of God, we will prosper. It is one of the Book of Mormon’s main messages. But the inverse promise also exists–and is often recorded as an example for us: if we will not follow God, we will be cut off. There will be punishments for our iniquitous actions. Moroni does not give this warning lightly.
It is evidence to me of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon: its truths speak to us. They are applicable to our day. More importantly, though, as I read it, the Spirit of the Lord tells me through my thoughts and my feelings that the book is of God.

Worship

I love Sundays. I just do. They are probably my favourite days of the week. Each is slightly different and each has so many similarities.

Following the direction of the scriptures, Sunday is my day of rest. Regardless of how much homework I have, I choose not to do it on Sundays so my entire day can be spent in some form of worship.
Sound a little weird? Perhaps. But by worship I don’t mean saying recited prayers endlessly from sun-up to sun-down. I think that’s weird. I don’t think that would entirely encapsulate ‘worship.’
Worship to me is more. But because it is so abstract we will each have our own definition of what worship entails. Sunday (sabbath) worship to me involves service and friendship. It includes praying, study of the scriptures, and attending church. But it is more a way of living than a set pattern of activities every week.
This weekly pattern of worship (in whatever form I can find it each week) brings a renewal of strength (see Isaiah 40:31) that I’ve never found anywhere else. It recharges my batteries for the upcoming week. It makes me use my time more wisely throughout the week. It helps me build friendships. It helps me understand the mind of God because Christ said to know God is to have eternal life (see John 17:3), the greatest of all gifts. And that’s a gift I want. And a gift I want everyone else to share with me.
Why would you not want to share the greatest gift that one could receive?