Where Can I Turn For Peace?

Peace of mind.  What a gift.  You don’t realize how wonderful it is until you don’t have it.  For years I lacked peace of mind.  I could function just fine most of the time.  But there was always this dark cloud following me around-if I started to feel great and happy, it was there to steal the peace.  Most of the time I tried to ignore it, but it would flair up here and there and I would try and face it, defeat it, please it.  “What can I do to make you leave me alone?!”  I tried to do all I could to feel good, and sometimes I just tried to function and go through the motions.  I thought this was just how life was.  I knew heaven had to be better than this, and I hoped that maybe, just maybe, I could get in.  I really thought I would stand before God when I died and hang my head in shame as He would let me know how disappointed He was in me.  I am so glad I was wrong!

Like a light in a dark cave, the Lord taught me that this nagging guilt that followed me around for years was not Him.  It was never, ever Him.  Nor was it reality.  But when I would feel bad about myself, I would withdraw-most of all I withdrew from God.  I just thought these guilty, nagging feelings were true and I thought they came from God to try and get me to be a better person.  If I could just try harder.  If I just had more (fill in the blank gospel principle).  I thought many “good” opportunities that came up needed to be done, or that I was a loser and didn’t have what it takes to be a saint.  It all felt so hard!  I had been viewing life through a guilt filter-and I discovered this was not only not God-but of the devil and to heed it not!  Don’t even let it in.  The scales began to fall from my eyes and this led me to having a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father.

And through the grace of a loving Savior, I began to taste of the love of God.  It felt so good!  And it wasn’t because I earned it…it was a gift.  And I know it is a gift available to all who come unto Christ.  Not be a good person and then come to Christ, but come now and any time.  It is never too late.  There is never anything too big or too small for the Lord.  He heals us.  I feel like I’ve found the secret to life:) This is the indescribable joy that I thought only came in glimpses and here a little and there a little.  I didn’t know that life could feel this good.

I can be still.  And have peace of mind.  Now when thoughts that lack peace come-I can know that it’s an absence of God’s spirit.  This isn’t God.  Whether it’s a condemning thought about myself or someone else…whether it’s a lack of peace when I’m trying to do my will and not God’s…whether it’s something I just need to say no to.  If the feeling lacks peace-let it go.  And come unto Christ.  He shines light on confusion and darkness and He can help us see things as they really are.  It is absolutely essential to stay close to Him-so we don’t forget where our true worth comes from and how loved we are.  And if we’ve never felt that love, to come unto Him so He can give us the gift.

Therefore, ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.  3rd Nephi 27:29

I love this article my sister sent me…reminds me of how light and loving a pathway with God feels:

http://ldsmag.com/article-1-4724/

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Convictions

I’m all about following your convictions.  If I’ve learned anything over the last year and a half-it’s to follow your heart. Follow that inner voice, the compass, the Spirit-and be true to your convictions.  I didn’t realize how often I was ignoring that inner voice before-sometimes because of perceived outside pressure, after all-everyone’s got an opinion and I would often feel tossed to and fro with what to do, what’s best, what brings happiness, and on and on.  But I found the voice-and I’m trying to follow it.  And I feel more like myself than ever before-I feel happy and life’s good.  But what about those times where people each have their convictions-and these convictions seem to be at odds with each other?  Well I feel like that’s when the magic happens.  I haven’t always felt this way-I feel the Lord teaching me a better way-a 3rd alternative that I really never thought of.

So before this 3rd alternative-I would process everything through  a filter…”hmmm, is this right, is this wrong…how does this fit with my view of the world?  And while I embraced a lot, other times I would often ignore information, ideas, and people thinking “that’s just nutty.”  And I would interpret the world around me this way.  This is different than personality traits, food preferences, and what you like to do in your spare time.  I can understand how people prefer different things and that’s great.  What I’ve been pondering on goes deeper.  It’s no coincidence that a few things came up all around the same time that really shook me-to the core.  Yet I felt invited to search and discover, and I pondered over a lot of things that have changed my heart and mind.  I found myself in a situation where I was just so sure I was right-like I felt peace about it and everything.  I was dead-set.  Only thing was, this didn’t involve only me.  There was another person that was part of this decision-and they felt the opposite.  I felt so set on my convictions-and they were just as set on theirs.  Funny thing is, I pled with the Lord to change their heart-to help them see the light.  Ha!  It’s funny to me now cause I had a lot yet to learn here.  But I was so sure THEY had a lot to learn.  I honestly felt like I was coming from a good place, but it was really a “Oh bless their heart-they just don’t know…”  Which is really like saying, “It’s too bad they don’t know what I do, but someday they will…and hopefully sooner than later cause this is wearing me out!”

But there was this feeling, like a whisper to my heart, “There’s more here…keep searching.”  I knew I was missing something.  But I didn’t know what.  Then one thing after another came up that made me rethink my whole view of the world.  “This is beyond right and wrong.”  I have heard that phrase come to me more times than I can count.  But with some things, I really felt like, “Nope-this is right and that’s wrong and that’s it.”  But I kept hearing the phrase, “This is beyond right and wrong” and I felt like I was being invited on this search-which involved big stuff, deep down stuff.  I kept asking God, “What’s right and wrong here?”  And the answer was the same, “Put down your right/wrong view of life.”  But I kept coming back and asking, “No seriously, who is right and wrong-we can’t both be, it doesn’t make any sense.  Aren’t some things a right/wrong issue??”  Finally, after asking so many times and sensing the same answer, I felt like He was laughing.  Which helped me lighten up-and I knew I needed to trust Him.  And then I realized this is all related to releasing judgment-and in determining right/wrong-I’m being the judge, which can really be annoying.  Eespecially when people near and dear to me don’t see it the way I do and we have to decide together!  Cause I can try and love em into changing and making good choices-but then I’m missing a real, pure love.  How about loving them without judgment-with no strings attached, “I truly love you just the way you are.”  God doesn’t give us truth and light to judge others, but to love others.

I’m learning the value of following convictions.  And I know it’s no coincidence that answers to some big problems in my life have been out of the ordinary.  I can look back and see it so clearly, though in the middle of discovery, it’s really a search…with twists and turns, a stop (or several) while I throw my hands up…a really rocky road to the answer.  But it’s such a road worth taking.  The answers are often not what’s typical, not what the experts say…but I know in my heart what I’m feeling and what brings me peace.  Yet I would start to feel the tension rise within me, when my convictions don’t jive with someone else’s-and we have to work together.  I’ve had to learn something about convictions-I won’t get convictions for someone else.  And the beauty of it is in the differences.  “But how can they think this and I think that-we can’t both be right?!”  We are supposed to think differently-and we are all supposed to follow our heart.  And that won’t lead us to the same destination-or maybe it will in that we are all realizing our potential.  The more I follow my own unique path, the more I feel free to encourage others to do the same.  It’s unique and it’s supposed to be.  The issue isn’t who’s right and who’s wrong-and it never will be.  It’s learning unconditional love.  It’s no coincidence that the earth is filled with all kinds of ideas, passions, cultures, religions-We have been given so much good on this planet, but when the focus is on right/wrong and our differences, we lose our power as a great big family.  I’ve been learning right and wrong is irrelevant.  And guess what happens when I quit worrying about it-from what we like to eat, to our deepest-held views of the meaning of life…I find love.  I see people.  I feel free to love them with no walls, no conditions, no “bless your heart you’ll see the light someday.”  I feel free to learn from some pretty incredible people-and they’re everywhere!

If I could put into words my conversations with God through this experience, it would look something like this.  (Although the impressions came as feelings to my heart and mind):

God:  “It doesn’t matter…either way is ok.”

Me:  “Really??  But I’ve worried so much about making the right choice!  It seems like it matters-like a lot.  How could this not matter?  I don’t want to do the wrong thing…make the wrong choice.”

God: “This isn’t an issue of right/wrong, this is about love.  Your life is so full of opportunities to learn love.  You think it’s a matter of making all the right choices so you can be with me….It’s beyond that.  You’re here to learn love, to feel joy, to be happy!  And to share this kind of love with others.  Fill your life with this love and you’ll feel me with you now…not just after this life.  (Then He brings to my mind times where I was doing my own thing and He stepped in to prevent me from making some choices that really were a big deal-letting me know not to sweat the small stuff.  And He reminds me that people feel passionate about all sorts of things-and that it’s ok. That’s the grand design.  And in our differences we can learn love, compassion, joy, and see the world anew.)

Me:  “No way!  Really??  It’s ok either way? But this seems too good to be true…wow, if this is true, then I don’t feel all stressed, worried and fearful.”

God:  “Exactly-those feelings don’t come from Me.”

Me:  “Sweet!  Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!”

And the gratitude keeps on going…and the burdens keep on lifting.  And I realize how many things I’ve been worrying about that I can let go of.  I’m finding a lot of “it doesn’t matter” stuff and it’s great.  I know I haven’t lost any weight over this-but I feel so much lighter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Releasing Judgment

Like my last post, I had a pretty cool experience with some new information.  This experience I’m about to relate happened a week after my experience with the perfection seed being planted.  I know they’re related and intertwined, like everything in life-but I struggle to put into words what it all means.  Both experiences and “one-liners” were heaven sent and have been changing my view of the world.  But I didn’t just embrace them both and run with it…I had to mull it over-a lot.  I wondered how it could be and how it could fit into my understanding of life up to this point.  Anyhow, here’s what happened…

I was talking to a woman about judging and I was telling her how I struggle with judging-that I didn’t want to judge others and knew it was wrong, but it was a struggle for me.  She said, “Stop judging yourself.”  Ok imagine hallelujah, clouds departing and angels singing.  Which isn’t what I saw, but in hind sight-I felt like it was a pivotal moment for me that would alter my world big time.  But it was a totally new idea for me.  I argued with her for a bit, “I know I shouldn’t judge others-but if I don’t judge myself, who will keep me in line?  How will I behave??”  She reminded me there is only one judge and it’s not me.

I know this information came at exactly the right time.  The year before, I had thought God was harsh and punishing, and I’d been learning how wonderfully wrong I was.  I felt like I’d been on a love journey with the divine and was getting glimpses of  how loving and kind our Father is.  I saw the cover of a book the other day that said, “God’s Message to the World”, and the cover had a picture of the earth with a sticky note that said, “You’ve got me all wrong.”  I haven’t read the book but I was in love with the cover-and could say “Amen!” to that.  I am so glad I got Him all wrong.  I can’t get enough of Him!

Well I knew I needed the “Stop judging yourself” message.  This made sense to me, and yet I had spoken this judging language with myself for so long-learning to release judgment with myself has been like learning a new language.  It’s been several months since this message and with time and practice, I’m starting to grasp it.  The more I think this way-the more love I feel in my life.  I keep catching myself since it was previously my go-to way of thinking.  Wow, I can’t believe how much this changes things.  Here I was trying not to judge the world, but was judging myself constantly.  Of course the way I see myself would be projected onto how I see the world-how could I stop judging the world if I couldn’t stop judging myself?  It all started making perfect sense.  I was looking at everything as good and bad, right and wrong.  And when something was going “wrong”, I would so quickly look inward and wonder what I did to cause this problem.  I often saw in terms of bad=punishment, good=reward.  I worried if I ever caused suffering or made mistakes-that I needed to suffer.  But I was forgetting my dear Savior and His Atonement.  I feel like I’m learning to release all the energy I was putting into the good/bad and right/wrong…and just leave it alone.  This frees me from the temptation to blame.  I wanted to find reasons for pain, misery and suffering in the world.  But I feel invited to leave judgment and blame alone.  Focus on my Savior, focus on following His Spirit.  And leave things alone that take away the light.  Who’s right and who’s wrong are irrelevant.

I feel like my regrets are fading.  And my memories are healing.  I feel free to observe life, memories, and people as I get judgment out of the way.  And there is so much light everywhere!  And truth!  With opposition in all things there is also darkness and lies-and it’s all essential and part of our glorious journey.  I feel like I’m seeing things “as they really are” and I’m shedding a lot of heavy baggage beliefs that I don’t need to carry anymore.  When the scriptures talk about denying ourselves of all ungodliness, I’m seeing what this means to me personally.  I can add judgment to guilt, shame, fear, and whatever else keeps me from Him.  Those things are heavy,  achy and blah!  I used to think, “If only I knew then, what I know now.  I would have done things differently.”  And I felt sad about the wasted time.  But without judgment, I feel like it’s all good.  Everything-even those times I was searching and searching for peace and happiness-and looking everywhere but up, because I was too afraid.  Even then. I love that I’m learning more of the nature of God this way-the bitter to know the sweet.  To learn what isn’t Him, to find Him. Everything has a purpose.  As my husband reminds me, I wouldn’t be the same person without all these experiences.

Life is quite a journey.  I feel like the Savior is teaching me to release this judgment mantle I’ve taken on myself.  I imagine it to be this totally uncomfortable heavy wooden vine that consists of old dead wood.  It’s kind of tangled around me and it’s hard to get anywhere with it.  He lifts it from me.  Sometimes He has to remind me again and again-to let Him take this.  And it feels so good.  And in return, He gives me a precious shimmering jewel in my hand.  “How is this done?  How is this possible?”  My precious Savior, dear Redeemer.  Again and again-He saves me.

Perfection Experiment

Months ago, I was waiting for someone and picked up a book off the shelf and began reading.  Somewhere as I was flipping through the pages, I read something about people being perfect just the way they are.  Those words seemed to stare at me on the page.  I felt like the world paused for a moment to bring the line into focus.  I felt drawn in.  I wanted to believe it, but I couldn’t.  I had all these questions and contradictions in my mind about that statement.  I felt like I needed to ponder on these words but I just couldn’t make sense of it.  The thought of people being perfect brought way more questions than answers-yet there was a peace about it that I couldn’t explain.  It was one of those moments where the world seems to stop or slow down-and that I needed to listen.  If not with my ears, then with my heart.  A seed was planted that day.

Since then, once in a while the thought would come to my mind again-about people being perfect.  And that everything about life is perfect-all the people I know, all the “problems”, the messes, the beauty, the pain.  I felt invited over and over to consider the perfection all around me.  That life is perfect right now.  That everything happening has a grand purpose and is all part of a beautiful plan.  “But what about this or that problem?  What about the suffering?  Why do I feel like this must be FIXED for me to feel peace?”  My thoughts and questions would swirl around and I would always come to the conclusion that people or life being perfect is an illusion someone made up to feel happy-like they had their head in the clouds and were totally void of reality.    I could not embrace it.  Then last night I felt the invitation again-it had been growing for days and I felt the battle going on again.  I started listening more-to the idea of life and people being perfect…and I quit feeding the “problems” and pain.

I felt invited, “Just try it for an hour or two…see what happens.”  So I did.  I saw people and life around me as beautiful and perfect.  The more I tried it, the more love I felt.  “Nothing needs to be changed.  Everything is a gift to be treasured-EVERYTHING.”  Of course, my mortal mind would say, “But, what about this problem that is not resolved?? What about this person or me-that needs to be better.  I can’t settle for who we are now.  We could be so much better!  I don’t want to say it’s perfect now-then we’ll be stuck here and won’t improve.  If I say life is perfect now-how will we grow??”  But I tried to let the questions be and quit trying to answer everything-and just embrace life right here and now.  People-exactly how they are.  And the coolest thing happened-happiness and love grew within me.  And it kept growing.  I felt in love with life and everything around me.  This reminded me of when I was engaged to my husband and life was amazing.  He and I had found each other and come what may-we would be awesome!  He could do no wrong.  Every little thing about him made me so happy.  He was perfect.  I was feeling this again-for life all around me.  Like a life-engagement:) I was in love with life.  I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  I couldn’t fall asleep because I was so happy-and when I woke up I felt totally thrilled to be alive.  I felt like this was a gift from Heaven-I didn’t and still don’t understand it all.  But I feel so much more love and I know it’s related to God’s grace and ways He is teaching me to more fully love myself and others.

This view of loving people right now-exactly how they are-reminds me of how I see my children when they’re really small.  The first few years of their life-they seem so perfect.  I watch them grow-and everything they’re learning is just amazing to me.  As my one year old is learning to say “no”, I think it’s the coolest thing.  Or even as she sticks her finger in her nose and I watch her curiosity as she realized she has two holes that can fit two fingers…and I love watching her learn.  I love the joy children bring to life.  They are so full of curiosity and emotions-and seem to live in each moment as if that’s all that matters.  Yet we are all children-on this mortal journey, living and learning, stumbling and sometimes soaring.  Everything has a glorious purpose.

The irony of this experience is that I’ve been wanting to feel more joy lately-and more love.  I’ve just been yearning and aching for it.  But I often just see what’s right in front of me and think something has to be different to bring love and joy in my life.  Like it’s right around the corner and I go hunting for it.  Yet it’s right here, right now.  And through the grace of a perfect Savior-He illuminates the perfection that is all around me right now.  And life is so beautiful.  And perfect.

OPEN

This summer, I joined my husband for a trip to Lake Powell with his work.  I’ve gone a few times with this company and always love it-it’s a highlight of the year for me (http://www.redmondinc.com).  They believe in “Elevating the Human Experience” as their motto says-and I feel it when I’m there.  The environment they try to promote is one of openness.  One that inspires and brings about inner reflection.  I always feel better for spending time with such great people.  I sometimes find myself looking around and wonder how they could get a group of so many incredible people in one place-and wish I could always feel the way I feel there.  Then I realize it’s the environment they’re creating-that brings out this feeling among the group.  There are so many individuals that are serving and sharing-that are openly and honestly hoping to lift others. I can look around and care about everyone-some I haven’t even talked to yet, and others I’ve spent hours with.  No walls, no worries.  We talk, we share experiences, we learn from each other.  This is a very open environment-and I want to package it up and take it with me.

I’m learning that openness can happen anywhere.  It’s a state of heart and mind.  I’m a fan of cultural experiences.  I had one this summer that taught me to open up more-that even what I thought of as a “cultural experience” was limited.  My husband and I went to watch a friend of his drive in a demolition derby.  We sat in a group of people and I was sure we were the only ones that didn’t have a mullet, mow hawk or tattoo.  I was feeling a little out of place, but felt calmed by the thought to just be myself and stay open.  I watched this family in front of me-the wife of the driver we were cheering on.  She was so sweet to watch as she doted on her family.  I loved watching her take care of her little boys. There was something about her that touched my heart and lifted me.  Then her husband came over during a break and I watched the two of them together.  I felt such sweet feelings about this derby driver and his family and wished them happiness.  And I walked away that night grateful that the Lord gave me this “cultural experience” and touched my heart in an unexpected way.

I’ve noticed how I can’t be judging while at the same time trying to stay open.  Months back I mentioned an experience where I was sitting in line in traffic and watched a lady cut out of line. I watched her in annoyed judgment until she pulled off in front of the fire station and hopped in an ambulance to go save someone. This humbled me and reminded me that I just never know all the details. After I posted that, I thought about how it shouldn’t matter whether this woman was jumping in an ambulance or trying to get ahead of everyone so she could pull over and buy a purse…or a diet coke…or whatever.  Seeing her in a heroic light doesn’t mean she’s now worthy of love and unworthy of judgment. It’s that I didn’t even need to judge her in the first place. No matter the scenario and all the evidence before me on whatever anyone does, I don’t need to judge. I’ve had many impressions lately to set aside judgment.  When I’m about to visit with someone, read new information, walk into a mess that someone left behind, or finding myself in a situation that usually leaves me fearful-so many opportunities throughout the day.  And I’m realizing how often I bring judgment with me.  Yet  I feel invited to leave judgment out of it-don’t prepare what you’re going to say to anyone.  Don’t assume.  Just follow the Spirit and see where the moment takes you.  I’m reminded I’m not supposed to judge-discern yes, but judge no.  These moments where I’m able to stay open and without judgment are AMAZING.  These open moments remind me just how awesome people are-and how much more there is to learn from others.

Forgiveness

The past week or two, I’ve been feeling on edge. I couldn’t put my finger on it until last night. I had been feeling as fragile as glass and was quick to feel hurt and offended. I knew how I was feeling wasn’t right but I couldn’t seem to snap out of it.  I had been praying for help and was reminded last night how Heavenly Father hears our prayers. The answer may come after a lot of prayer and pondering, but the answer will come. He wants us to work through it, to help us learn and grow. Living through it has taught me priceless lessons. The key is to work through things WITH Him, not to try and figure it out alone. He wants to help us-and in eternal ways.

I’m on the sensitive side.  I can be hurt easily and I’ve tried to overcome this in life.  Someone once told me she chose one day not to be offended and since then she never is.  “Wow” I thought.  I couldn’t even imagine that. I’ve tried really hard to not let things get to me.  I’ve sadly even tried just living defensively-putting up walls so I don’t get hurt. Sometimes I’m full of love and nothing seems to get me down.  Yet sometimes I’m as fragile as glass and every little thing wears at me.

So I’ve been feeling easily hurt lately and last night my husband said something.  I quickly said, “What’s that supposed to mean?”  Feeling hurt before he even answered.  Poor guy.  And I looked at myself and thought, “What is wrong with me?! Why are all these things bothering me that before didn’t bother me at all?” And I wondered yet again why the past several days have felt heavy and achy.  Then my answer came.  It came and has been coming ever since.  There has been many “aha” and “oh yeah” moments.  Here I was trying not to feel hurt at what I thought was rather hurtful-then a thought came to my mind…”you’re trying to forgive all these wrongs-but what if there is nothing to forgive? What if you rewind to before you even feel hurt and remember there is nothing there to forgive?”

And I was reminded of a conversation I had with someone earlier in the week.  She asked how I didn’t have issues with someone over something that happened many years earlier.  For the most part, this wasn’t a problem for me.  I knew distance was best.  That I could feel love and no hard feelings at a distance.  But the moment I felt hard feelings-that was a problem.  It was clear to me that I would only be fooling myself if I harbored any resentment.  When I thought of “forgiving” this person, I even felt uncomfortable with it.  Because then I would be saying they “wronged” me and I couldn’t say that.  I felt compassion and concern for this person-and when I didn’t, I knew I was wrong.

I realized I had been feeling “wronged” the last couple of weeks.  The littlest things were bothering me, even old memories about a comment some guy made at a baseball game over a decade ago was bothering me! Left and right I felt hurt, it was like a snowball affect and when I would feel offended about one thing-there would be a dozen more things to feel hurt about.  Life was feeling so hard and painful. What I really needed to do was seek forgiveness for the resentment I was feeling.  I kept feeling hurt and wanted people to know how mean they were.  People need to know the suffering they cause!  I was trying to be the one to judge and exact justice-but only the Savior can do that.  He asks us to forgive all men always. He is the only one that knows everything about everyone.  He is the kindest judge there is, and reminds us how much we need to have mercy for others because oh how we need it ourselves.

Over the summer I had been thinking about forgiveness a lot.  And I believed there was nothing people could do that would justify me feeling bitter and withholding love and forgiveness-and I know feeling this kind of love toward people is a big reason why I experienced so much peace for a long time.  Yet I started to forget…I started to feel bad about this or that.  When I focus on how I was “wronged” I tie myself to it. And then I have to “forgive” to be released. That’s the hard way-the times I never feel wronged at all is sweet peace. When I think I’m taking the high road and mercifully forgiving someone-what I really need to do is ask for forgiveness for the resentment and unkindness on my part. The best way is to not even go to the hurt, resentful and feeling wronged place I go to. This helps me focus on the humanity of people-and keeps me feeling the love.  When I focus on how someone hurt me, the peace disappears.  That peace departing is the Spirit leaving, because I’m giving into the temptation of being offended and judging others.

Here are some quotes that have helped me on my journey, they come from “Bonds That Make Us Free”.  The chapter on forgiveness in this book is really, really good.

“As long as we see others as needing our forgiveness, we will continue regarding ourselves as their victim and will remain accusing still.  We live free of bondage of accusing, afflicted feelings only by ceasing to find and take offense.”

“Of all the initiatives people can take who feel a devastating wrong has been made them miserable, one stands above all others in effectiveness.  It is actually seeking forgiveness for having refused to forgive.  I have observed that when individuals have struggled for years to escape the effects of abuse and have tried everything they can think of to forgive their abuser, they rarely succeed.  The reason is that the forgiveness they aim to produce is a counterfeit to real forgiveness.  It could not be otherwise, because they continue to believe they have been offended.  But when they recognize that the wrongdoing has been theirs, good things start to happen-but not until then.”

“Forgiveness cannot be done from self-concern. It must be done for the truth’s sake, or to right a wrong, or out of compassion for those we previously condemned by our refusal to forgive.”

“We need to note one more element of genuine forgiveness.  Just prior to forgiving someone, we will have been finding him or her offensive.  But with forgiveness comes a realization of the offensiveness of this.  How accusing we must have appeared to that person!  Whatever he or she may have done that we previously found offensive has changed our memory of it…the past is not what we had thought.  Recently we had wondered whether we could forgive that person.  Now we wonder whether he or she can forgive us.”

“Oh That I Were An Angel…”

O that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart, that I might go forth and speak with the trump of God, with a voice to shake the earth, and cry repentance unto every people! (Alma 29:1)

Over the past year, I’ve felt the power of the words, “Oh that I were an angel…but when Alma says he wants to cry repentance unto every people, well I didn’t understand the last part-about crying repentance.  If it was scripture from me, I would have said, “Oh that I were an angel, I would tell the world how much God loves them.”  But lately I’m beginning to see the connection.  I was wanting to type a post on how repentance is about love.  I’m beginning to see on a deeper level, how the gospel is all about love-especially repentance.

Recognizing and then following the Lord’s Spirit in our lives is key to coming unto Christ, and being perfected in Him.  Over many years, I began to think God was harsh and punishing.  But I was wrong, His Spirit is loving, peaceful and inviting.  Anything that makes us fear God and not feel worthy to approach Him, does not come from Him.  God is love.  “I cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” (D&C 1:31)  And “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10) is because he loves us.  Sin is bondage.  And our Father in Heaven, out of love, wants to keep us free.  The devil wants all men miserable like himself, and God sent His Son-to save us.  “Men are that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25).  I want to shout, “MEN ARE THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE JOY!!!” The gospel is a message of love and the pathway to joy.  It’s forsaking the ungodly things in our life for something much better…

I can see for myself in life, some things have been hard to let go of.  Some things I didn’t want to let go of, and other weights and burdens I gladly give up.  “I don’t want this-I’m so glad I don’t have to carry this anymore!”  And I gladly stop carrying the burden.  Some weaknesses and temptations take superhuman strength to overcome and may be a process of giving up-again and again.  The enabling power of the atonement is how we can overcome.  Line upon line.  The Lord loves us so very much.

The other day I was beating myself up for having made the same mistake-AGAIN.  I was feeling all those thoughts of, “It’s just too hard…why can’t I be done with this…” and I felt ridiculous to have to come to the Lord and repent-AGAIN.  The words came to my heart, “I will forgive you.  However many times it takes, I will forgive you.  Just keep coming back to me.”  I felt peace and love.  And I knew I wasn’t in this alone.  I don’t have to be better to come to Christ-HE makes me better, He makes me stronger, He makes me a new person…again and again.

There are no little things…  Recently I was checking something on the internet that leaves me with that mind-numbing feeling.  Deep down I felt like it’s not only a waste of time, but that I needed to stop doing it.  Over the past year, I’ve been able to see how reading certain blogs and checking certain sites actually kept me from feeling a strong spirit.  I’ve noticed how one by one, the Spirit has helped me stop reading things that were not enlightening.  As I checked these sites and blogs less and less, the Spirit was stronger in my life and I was less distracted.  There is a lot of great stuff out there, and then there is just waste of time, distracting stuff. I noticed how much more I was enjoying my life when I would try to focus on reading the things that brought me closer to Christ and improved my life.  But there was this one thing that I didn’t want to stop spending my time on.  And I would get the deep down feeling that I should quit wasting my time…”But I need a balanced life…but this is so harmless and silly to think it matters…” And on and on the justification went.  Then the Spirit got my attention.  The words came clearly to my mind, “This is keeping you from fulfilling your mission and purpose here on earth.”  And I put it down.  I got it.  I was reminded that there are no small things and the promptings and invitations we receive from the Spirit are because He loves us.

I can look back and see the difference in trying to overcome without and then with the Savior.  For a long time, I struggled with something that was a big stumbling block and thought I needed to overcome it by myself.  With the help of the adversary, I was convinced that the Lord didn’t need to be bothered with this and that I needed to overcome it to be worthy to come before Him.  Oh how wrong I was!  When I tried to overcome it by myself-this would just transfer the stumbling block to other things.  I wasn’t getting to the root of the problem-nor could I even see the root of the problem.  Then with the Savior’s loving care, He showed me how.  He shed light on the whole issue.  And through His power and love, he freed me.  He guided me through and I was amazed.

Repentance is about love.  It’s about freedom from bondage.  It’s about forsaking our sins and not letting anything come between us and Christ.  Seeking the Lord’s forgiveness and help with sins and temptations is how we are purified.  “No man can serve two masters” and God wants us focused on the most wonderful, loving and perfect master of all-His Son.