Winning and Losing

Last week I helped my son study for the regional spelling bee.  He won his school spelling bee which meant he had the opportunity to do the regional bee-the winner would win a trip to Washington D.C. with their parents to participate in the national bee.  The Olympics have also been going the past couple of weeks and I’ve been learning to look at winning and losing in a different light.  I found myself watching the Olympics, so worried about their mistakes, their falls and failures.  Why does there have to be only one gold medal?  I want them all to win.  I know they’ve worked so hard for this moment and it’s painful to watch someone fall.  Knowing this must feel devastating to them and their team of supporters, coaches, and families.  Is it all worth it?  One fall and you’re out.  One misspelling of a word and my son’s out.  Hours and hours of work.  The tiniest thing could go wrong and it’s over.  

My son really wanted to do the regional bee.  He took it seriously but needed a lot of help studying.  I had to quiz him over and over on the words.  Japanese, Latin, Italian, Slavic, and more.  All kinds of words with many we’ve never heard of-let alone knew how to pronounce.  But we studied-looking up word meaning and pronunciation. In the beginning, the task felt overwhelming.  I wondered if all this work would be worth it.  I cancelled a trip to stay home and help him.  If he got one letter wrong in the bee he would be out.  All this work and the smallest thing could go wrong.  I knew I had to look at this as bigger than winning or losing.  I needed to step back and see the bigger picture.  Follow the Spirit.  Do what feels right-helping and encouraging my son with something that means a lot to him.  Believe in him.   Whatever happens-this is all part of life and submit to whatever is God’s will.  He sees the big picture.  He knows the beginning and end of everything.  He knows all events and people in life are no accident and are part of the grand design.  Everything that happens in our life can work together for our good (Romans 8:28), then win or lose, the experience can be worth it.

I spent hours and hours helping my son study.  In the closet, late at night we would hide from distractions and I’d quiz him.  Going for walks we took the words and studied.  His sister helped him, his friend studied A LOT with him. The bee came.  He lasted for a few rounds but then missed a word and he was out.  I watched him on the stage.  My heart ached for him.  For all the time and work he put into the bee.  I knew he wanted to win!  I wanted him to win!  I wanted to run on stage and give him a big hug.  It hurt to watch.  I was reminded once again by the Spirit, “There are no accidents.  Everything happens for a reason.  All things can work together for our good.”

I look back and see all the good that came from the spelling bee experience.  I believed in my son and he knew it.  There were tears, stress, discouragement and laughter.  He wondered if this would all be worth it or even possible.  He wanted something big that involved risk and hard work and he kept at it.  I learned to support my son with something that meant a lot to him.   We had some good times-with all our inside jokes and made up definitions.  I also watched true friendship.  His friend spent hours helping my son study.  Two twelve year old boys spending recess, lunch and after school free time to study spelling words!  He came with us to the regional bee and after for milkshakes.  I was so grateful he was there after the bee for his support and kindness.  I was touched by this Christlike love.

I admired my son for his hard work.  For his attitude when it was over.  For risking loss and disappointment but working and hoping for it anyway.  All things really can work together for our good.

It was all worth it.


Late for Church

Last summer, my family and I had a fantastic trip out to Nauvoo to see my parents while they were serving a mission.  Some trips are great and some are just trips.  This trip was great.  One of my favorite memories of our vacation was the morning we were late for church.  The day before Sunday, my mom reminded me a couple of times to be on time for church.  She was so excited for us to go to their church with them so we could meet some of their missionary friends they were serving with.  She let me know how important it was to be on time.  It was at 8 am.  The chapel would be full of missionaries and if we walked in late it would be obvious.  There would be no sneaking in:)

We were late!  After all the reminders, we were still late!  I had so wanted to be on time.  I never intend to be late but sometimes I am.  We hurried into the chapel.  I felt embarrassed.  Everyone was all sitting quietly and we were surrounded by adults-we may have been the only ones with children there.  I felt all these eyes staring at us.  I didn’t want to look up to any annoying glances or stares so I avoided looking up.  But I could feel all these eyes just staring.  So I lifted my head.  I looked around.  Do you know what I saw?  A chapel full of smiles.  A chapel full of love.  I was overcome with emotion in that moment.  My hurried and stressed morning washed away.  I felt loved by all these people-my parents as well as all these strangers I’ve never met.  I felt their love.  I felt welcome.  I imagine heaven to feel like that moment-an overwhelming  welcome of love.

It’s Not About the Food

Or the debt, or whatever tangible, earthly things might be consuming us and causing guilt.  I love the Dave Ramsey analogy of money being amoral-like the brick.  A brick (or money-or food etc.) is amoral.  Meaning it has no morals-it’s neither right or wrong.  These things can be used for good and they can used for evil.  It’s what we do with them.  He says we can build a house with the brick, or destroy and throw it through a window.  Food can be fantastic!  Or it can be a weapon of guilt and shame.

I gave food power over me.  I looked at food as good or bad-and I was good or bad depending on what I ate.  Good girl for having a “healthy” day and eating a salad.  Bad girl for eating too many cookies.  Food consumed me.  I connected this obsession with food to the problem with those last ten pounds that I was always disgusted with.  I couldn’t possibly be happy until they were gone.  When I looked in the mirror, my eyes went straight to my flaws.  I only saw flabbiness and a belly that refused to leave.  If I could just be fit and thin… Size isn’t the issue here.  I have a petite frame and people might laugh at me when they hear me say I struggle with fat feelings.  It’s not about the size.  The key is that I thought I would finally be satisfied and happy if I could just lose a little weight and look more athletic.  It’s not about the food and it’s not about those last ten pounds!  There are plenty of miserable people that are thin and athletic looking. There are also plenty of thin, fit folks that are wonderfully happy. There are plenty of overweight people that are miserable and there are plenty that are happy and content with life.

This is about our souls.  This is a spiritual issue.  Over time, I have come to understand that God loves me enormously and doesn’t want this to consume me anymore.  If it’s His will for me, and a righteous desire I have to be healthy, then He will lead me to healthy.  God’s ways are not our ways and healthy to God may not be what we consider healthy and see on the front of a magazine or when we turn on the T.V.  God has been teaching me to let go of the good food/bad food and good girl/bad girl cycle.  I sometimes feel totally silly that I have to keep hearing the same message from God over and over and over.  He is so gentle and inviting, yet I still hear the world (although the world’s voice is diminishing and God’s is growing with this love and compassion that fills me).  The diet voices are fading.  I am seeing them for what they are.  A big obsession to pull me away from why I am here. A deception that fools me into thinking my appearance provides my worth and will make me happy.

I have given food power over me for so long, that I still reach for  a cookie and have to stop and think about it-wondering if I should really be having that cookie.  I LOVE cookies!  Love, love, love a warm chocolate chip cookie.  When I am at peace with God and I hear His voice, you know what I hear when I wonder if I should eat a treat?  “Have the cookie.  It doesn’t matter.  I love you and if a cookie is what you want then have the cookie, or the ice cream, or the chocolate.”  I know he wants food to be a conscious thing where I sit down and enjoy my food-cookie or salad.  Just enjoy.  Be grateful for this body and the tastebuds you have that give eating pleasure.

We are here to find and follow God.  Through faith and obedience, we will find Him.  He wants us to find Him!  These two opposing forces in our lives will be with us through our whole mortal experience.  This life is a test and trial of our faith.  He is our Father and in order to become like Him, we must have these trials, temptations and all the adversity of earth life.  He wants us to overcome and we can, but only through the strength of the Savior!  We need His strength.  I have had all sorts of things consume me and bring me down in life-to where I could hardly breathe.  He will not give us more than we can bare.  But we must come to Him to lift our heavy load.  To carry our burdens.  It’s too hard to do alone!  All the willpower and self-help books in the world weren’t helping me.  They just kept me consumed.  I knew I had a problem and I wanted to fix it.  “I” is the problem here.  When I listened to Heavenly Father, He showed me the way.  He showed me I was trying to save myself and fix my problems.  He showed me that I will never save myself.  Jesus truly does save us.  He is the way.  The only way.

I began to let the light in.  It wasn’t what I wanted to hear at first.  I wanted to be skinny AND have peace with God.  I had to let go of my appearance worries.  I had to love me right now.  I had to be happy with myself and truly love me right now-no matter my size.  But then I would be saying it’s ok that I have extra weight!  Then I would be settling and I’ll never lose it!  Then I’m saying it’s ok to eat junk all the time and junk is evil.  (Hello shoulder devil!)  That is not what’s happening.  I am loving myself.  I am loved no matter what I look like.  I am feeling how food makes me feel.  I can eat all sorts of wonderful things-and it’s great.  I’m not obsessed.  I’m not a “bad” person because I eat dessert too.  And I’m not “bad” if I have a cookie for breakfast!  I may feel yucky physically and look for something that makes me feel physically better after.  But I have been disconnecting food to my worth and source of happiness.  Food is great.  But it’s just food.  Enjoy when you’re eating, then live your life!

The deception is that we need to look a certain way.  That we will never be happy until…  That is a lie.  Satan is the father of all lies and he wants us to be consumed with ANYTHING that keeps us from God.  I was caught in a vicious cycle of food worry and I really beat myself up over it.  Actually, Satan fed me lies and I believed them.  I would feel guilty that I ate junk food so I figured I blew it and I’m bad…so then I ate away the day.  I would always vow to do better the next day.  This happened for years!  Years of my life I was so worried about being “healthy” and fixing me that I wasn’t able to feel God’s love.  I didn’t let it in because my thoughts were so consumed with being thin and overcoming this habit.  “If I could just stop doing this, I could like myself.  God would be pleased with me and I will quit disappointing Him.”  “Ha! Pray?  Yeah right.  Like you’re worthy to pray.  You let God down and the last thing you need is a beating from Him.”  Lie, lie, lie.

The truth is, there is nothing I could do that would make God love me less.  I look back and see how much I was hurting.  How often I avoided beautiful women because I felt inferior.  How I compared myself to others.  How I didn’t open up and love nearly as completely as I could.  I look back and imagine God wanting to hold me.  To wrap me in His love and heal me.  To guide me and help me see how amazing I am.  To show me this world surrounding me that has so much good to offer.  But I don’t have to imagine-I may not see it with my mortal eyes.  Yet I feel it in my heart-and that’s powerful.  That’s real love.

We Are Here To Love

“You are sent to love each other, not judge each other.”

These words have come to my mind over and over and over the last few months as I’ve struggled to feel comfortable around other people.  When I look at someone and see what’s “wrong” with them, I hear this gentle reminder.  When I get caught up in explaining myself and hoping I’m understood, I hear those words.  When I feel annoyed or the inevitable pain of mortality and relationships, these words come to mind. I know this is the Spirit reminding me why I’m here and to replace my judgment or fear with love.  “Perfect love casteth out all fear.” (Moroni 8:16)  Don’t fear people-love them.  This keeps me reaching out rather than running to hide and feeling like a fool.

Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to understand people and have myself understood, that I get all worked up and stressed out.  When I’m flustered, tied up in knots and just want someone to listen and accept me, I’m often reminded of God’s love for me.  It’s all about love.  “Just love them.  Don’t worry about what they think of you, just love them.”  “Don’t try to figure everyone out and hope they accept you, just love them.”

I feel like I’m on a mission these days.  A mission to share the love of God.  I’ve tasted of this love and it is sweet above all that is sweet and pure above all that is pure…when I am filled with this love, I no longer hunger and thirst for earthly acceptance (Alma 32:42).  I want to share this love with others.  This requires faith.  This requires vulnerability.  I have to continually be reminded by the Spirit that this is my righteous desire and my purpose here.  It’s powerful.  Sometimes it’s so strong I could almost reach out and touch it.  Yet sometimes I feel empty and alone and question what’s going on.  Faith, just keep the faith.  And the love returns.  The love always returns.

We all have a mission and purpose here.  The way we find and share the love of God will be a different path for all.  But everything is centered on this love.  We are here to fulfill the measure of our creation (D&C 88:19).  We are created in God’s image.  God is love (John 4:16).  I am finding freedom and peace in God’s love and trying to forsake my weaknesses.  In this process I am opening my heart and sharing this journey in a very real way.  I’m not celebrating my problems and wallowing in them, but I’ve found healing in my Savior.  Part of sharing this love is sharing my experiences and what I’ve learned.  If there is anyone who has had heartaches, addictions, whatever it is-if sharing my journey could help one soul, it’s all worth it.  I was lost but now I’m found.  God is so good and I want people to know!

I sometimes laugh at how different we all are.  There are billions of people on earth and we are all uniquely different.  But in a beautiful way.  Every piece of a puzzle is what makes it so beautiful-so complete.  We all have gifts and talents.  There is no one right way.  We need each other.  These rich and diverse relationships teach me love.  I feel like God has given me a desire and love in my heart to reach out to someone-often someone I previously thought was too different for me to open up to.  All these amazing people around me that were here all along…when I see myself with love, I see them with love.  And they are extraordinary.

My path in fulfilling my purpose will be unique to me.  All of God’s children are unique and different-yet we all want love.  We search for worth and can only find real worth in God.  We must learn Christ like love with one another.  This mortal journey is the only way.  A world full of differences yet we all need love.  Our differences can add beauty and mercy to our lives.

I feel this yearning to be open and be myself around people that I previously haven’t.  Before I was guarded and living what I considered a “safe” life.  I didn’t have to share my pain and weaknesses-but then I missed out on help and love.  I thought it was safe to only show people the part of me that was acceptable.  I knew very well my struggles and sins and I didn’t want to be judged.  Sometimes I was so desperate for help with something that I would finally talk to someone.  Sometimes I felt ashamed and wondered why I dared open up (hello Satan and deceptions!) But sometimes I felt love.  When love is present the Spirit will speak to our hearts and help us help each other.  Love leads to healing.  We are Christ’s hands on earth and we can help one another and comfort those who need comfort (Mosiah 18:9).  Not with excusing our sins or validating our wrongs, but in reaching out with love and leading others to the Savior.

I want to share the love.  I may be rejected.  I may never know how or why I felt compelled to open up-not in this life anyway.  I can’t worry about how I appear or I withdraw from people and find “safety” in avoidance.  I feel alive when I feel love.  There is a risk in following God’s will for me.  He is teaching me to trust in Him.  My little faith is rewarded and my cup runneth over (Psalms 23:5).

I feel like I have so much to share, like “my tongue is loosed”.  God says, “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.”  As I have sought to obtain God’s word and His will for me, I feel His Spirit and power guiding me.  I’ve found I must speak from my heart and follow the Spirit-then carry on.  I can’t stress over saying what people will want to hear.  Then I focus on glorifying myself rather than the Lord.  I have to speak from my heart and let it go.  Come what may, I must live from the heart.

We all need each other.  We need to reach out and love one another.  I was previously very careful about sharing myself with others.  There aren’t too many people that really, truly know me.  In fact, the Savior is the only one that knows EVERYTHING about me.  All my pain, heartaches, sins, mistakes, joy, love, worries-He knows it all.  He is the only one.  In desperation I sometimes seek for validation.  I say to my Heavenly Father, “This felt right and I knew I needed to do this or share that.  Why? Why does it feel like it was all in vain?  Why do I feel like a fool when I’m just trying to follow thee and do thy will?”  He reminds me I’m worrying about the judgments of man.  Keep the faith and just keep loving.  Like in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”  I  hear, “Just keep loving, loving, loving.”  Love heals.  Love teaches.  Love calms a troubled heart.

Running Full Circle

Years ago I discovered running.  I was nineteen and a friend talked me into training for a marathon with her.  I didn’t know about running a marathon but I committed to training together.  Well, our running together fizzled.  She fell in love and got married.  I fell in love with running.  I loved getting my heart rate up and running through our beautiful little town-at the foot of the mountains or down main street where the noon whistle blew.  Early summer mornings or late afternoon snow.  I would run with anyone willing.  I would beg my brothers and sisters to join me.  They were young so it was often a 9 year old on her bike keeping me company.  Or my 10 year old brother dribbling his basketball while we ran-for 7 miles!  I often ran alone, but I loved a running companion.  When no one would go, I would bring my mini tape cassette player and earphones and run to music.  I loved to run!

Over the years my running evolved.  I set challenging goals for myself.  I ran a marathon.  Then more marathons.  I qualified and ran Boston.  I ran some fast race times for my short little legs.  What started out as a love and passion eventually became an obsession. When I first started running someone pointed out that I’d lost weight.  I hadn’t even noticed till he said something yet I realized my clothes were looser.  With time, I related running to being thin.  I noticed the more I ran, the thinner I became.  I had issues with food for years and as I started letting go of the food worry, I replaced my food obsession with exercise obsession.  I felt so relieved I didn’t have to obsess about food all the time.  I thought about how much “healthier” I was being consumed with exercise.

Whether it was food or exercise-these things were idols and kept me from really living.  They kept me from God and His will for me.  I was always chasing something and people were obstacles.  Before I would run with anyone and everyone willing.  But over time, I didn’t want to run with anyone.  I didn’t want them to hold me back and affect my training plan for the day.  I became a slave to my Garmin and race times.  Deep down I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t want to listen.  In the middle of my Boston experience when everything seemed to be getting in the way of my dream race, I laid awake in bed and cried.  I felt so disappointed.  A gentle whisper of the Spirit taught me in that moment that running had become too important to me.  Boston turned out to be a humbling and treasured experience that taught me people are more important than race times.

A few months ago, I had a “born again” experience. This changed my life.  There doesn’t seem to be a part of me that this hasn’t affected and it’s only been a gift.  Gift after gift.  Things aren’t what they seem and I keep learning so much from God.  I had to set aside my idols and come to Him.  I thought running and countless other things made me somebody, or made me better than somebody.  Life isn’t a competition and I don’t need to prove my worth through these things.  If I love to run-great! Run fast and far and whatever makes me happy and improves my life.  When I use good things or talents to lift myself above others rather than uplift, I’m missing the mark.

For a while, I stopped running.  I stopped exercising.  I previously thought I couldn’t function without my daily exercise.  I used to plan my life around my workouts…then I just quit.  Here I was, not running and I was happier than ever.  How could this be?!  God showed me the ultimate source of joy and I had to let go of this idol in my life.  I wondered if I was done running.  That didn’t seem to be the answer either, but I’ve been learning to follow and trust God since He keeps pouring blessings on me as I do.  He is joy.  He is love.  I want my will to be His will.  He brings out the best in me and is showing me my potential.  It’s not at all what I thought and it’s better than ever!

Recently I started running again-it feels good and I want to share it.  I am willing (and begging!) to run with anyone and everyone. Some of my favorite runs have been recently as I’ve enjoyed running with a friend-laughing, crying, chatting away.  I really wanted to run long this morning but I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.  One friend can’t run while she’s pregnant, another is in St. George, one is in Florida.  My husband has to work.  So I said a little prayer this morning, “I know it’s just a run, but please help me run with someone today.” As I’m walking out the door, my six year old shouts.  “I’m running with you Mom!”  He’s in his jammies and playing the wii, but drops everything and comes along.  I smile and thank heaven for this unexpected answer to prayer.  We zigzag, race to stop signs, sprint, walk, then sprint and walk some more.  We laugh… Running is fun again.

We Don’t Really Know Each Other

This title is inspired by my sister.  We were talking one day and I told her how much I’ve enjoyed getting to know people more as I’ve opened my heart.  I was telling her how there are so many people all around me that are remarkable, that are extraordinary, that are sad, or that are struggling to get by.  I was telling her of people I have interacted with for years yet I am finally getting to know them.  I told her how “we don’t really know each other” and yet here we are interacting all the time.  She said, write a post on that! So this is inspired by my sister and other amazing people that have been here all along…

The other night I was at the grocery store and smiled and said hello to a woman who lives a couple of blocks away.  I felt a little nudge by the spirit to tell her how cool I think she is.  I tell people I hear voices:) But don’t we all?   This was my internal dialog: “Tell her how awesome she is.”  “I can’t do that, we’re in the produce aisle and that’s weird.  She’ll think you’re dumb-another time.”  “But you’ve been wanting to tell her for years!  Especially the last few months.  You keep thinking it but never say it.”  “I will later-like at church or something.  This isn’t the place or time-just get your groceries and get out of here.”  So I proceeded to get my groceries and even smiled at others I saw and recognized from around my neighborhood but felt like a dork and wanted to just leave the store.  “The store is for buying groceries not mingling!” (Bad voice!) So I bought my groceries and left.  But I think the world of this woman and I wanted to tell her.

On the drive home-I drove by her house.  I really wanted to tell her how amazing I think she is and how much I’ve learned from her over the years.  I felt like a stalker-a compliment stalker!  I didn’t see her car so I went home and put my groceries away.  Then I put on my running clothes and decided to run by her house and tell her that she’s one of my heroes.  So I did.  She hugged me.  I left feeling all warm and fuzzy and laughed at how silly I am.  Why is it so hard for me to tell people how I really feel?  I smiled knowing that in a very round about way, I shared my heart with her.

Sometimes I walk around through the seemingly mundane moments of life and the light touches me. I look up and out of my own little world.  I’m reminded of the divinity all around.  The cashier. A neighbor.  A stranger.  Sometimes I want to hug them, give a high five or just tell them they’re awesome. Sometimes I’m among close friends and family and I want to share my heart, yet I often don’t.  When the Spirit encourages me to share kindness and love with someone and I actually listen-I am always blessed!  Always.  I usually don’t know if the other person was lifted, but I know I always am.

There’s a story of a woman who makes President Kimball a tie.  As she is headed up to his front door to give this tie, she decides she made a mistake.  “Who am I to make a tie for the prophet?”  She turns to leave and Sister Kimball sees her and in their exchange she says to the sweet tie-maker, “never suppress a generous thought.”  I can’t tell you how many times this story and those words come to my mind when I question if I should share happy thoughts.  This story alone has helped me countless times in sharing the good stuff.  In fact, I bet this story has encouraged hundreds, if not thousands of people that have heard it to “share a generous thought”. The ripple effect of this kind act is still going on decades later.

The more I share my heart with these awesome people around me, the bigger my heart gets.  There’s a risk and often a leap of faith involved.  When I follow the light and open up, I usually get to see a glimpse and sometimes more of a truly extraordinary human being.  I feel a connection and my love grows-love for this person in front of me and love for my Savior and Father in Heaven.

As we share our hearts with one another, I often think, “I can’t believe I’ve known you for years-but I didn’t really know you.”  In these moments, I feel a little taste of Heaven on earth.

Fiery Darts

I never cease to be amazed at how quickly I can fall.  Lately I’ve felt so happy.  I have been seeing my life and experiences with such clarity and peace.  My weaknesses are well known to me but with the Lord’s strength I am seeing them for what they are and not feeling hopeless about them.  The Lord has been showing me the good, the light, and the love.  But sometimes I fall.  Sometimes I feel bad.  Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing and who do I think I am?

A dear friend shared a great article with me yesterday.  The link is below-it’s called shunning temptation.  As I started to read the article I thought it was referring to the obvious sins all around.  The article talked about being unwilling to repent of “small things” and spoke of unworthy thoughts, immodest clothes, and inappropriate movies.  The past week or so I have been struggling with thoughts of discouragement.  I was starting to feel like a fool for all the recent growth I’ve experienced and how I’ve shared so much with others around me.  I questioned what I was doing and thought maybe it’s better to say nothing at all-then I don’t risk annoying anyone or appearing like a fool.  Then I don’t have to worry if I’m prideful or worry about what others will think of me.

Then I read this article and realized these discouraging, worrisome thoughts were fiery darts from the adversary (1 Nephi 15:24).  The weaponry Satan will use on us is endless and custom made for what we struggle with.  He knows not to tempt me with drugs and alcohol or stealing.  But he knows I struggle with feeling unworthy.  He knows I worry what people think.   He knows if he can get me worried about how I might appear to others that I’ll withdraw and live inside myself. There are plenty of other things I struggle with, but I am seeing lately how effective these negative thoughts or “fiery darts” are when I listen.

There are no “small things” when it comes to temptations.  Initially I felt silly thinking of these negative thoughts I was having about myself as temptations.  I thought a temptation was something that appeared desirable.  Why would I be tempted to believe and dwell on these bad things about myself?  But these negative thoughts and worries are temptations.  Hate and anger are temptations, who would desire those emotions?  Negative, worthless thoughts about myself are temptations!  ANYTHING that keeps me from God is a temptation.  The Savior was tempted and yet refused to let Satan in.  He knew immediately that it was wrong and not of God.

Satan tempts me and gets me to let a little thought in of how I’m a loser.  He tells me I’m prideful and to stop doing this or that.  He gets me thinking I need to live and act small or I might be seen as proud.  He belittles me.  My dear friend pointed out how Satan tried to deceive Moses of his worth. “Thou son (daughter) of man” Satan says to Moses (Moses 1:12).  I love Moses’ reply, “I am a son of God”.  I am a daughter of God!

I used to feel like life would be harder and my will power would have to grow by leaps and bounds to really live a Christ-centered life.  In reality, my life has become so much sweeter as I’ve been giving up my sins.  As I’ve tasted of the love of God in my life, I want to say like Lamoni’s father, “I will give all my sins to know thee” (Alma 22:18).  I truly want to give all my sins to know Him.  As I’m letting go of sins and temptations, the love of God fills me.  As I recognize and deny the ungodliness in my life, God’s grace is sufficient (Moroni 10:32).  Ungodliness has many forms-including believing negative thoughts about myself and others.  Obedience and shunning evil has been such a gift!  What a relief to leave the heavy weight of sin and worthlessness behind me!  I wish these struggles were completely eliminated from my life but I know Christ is helping me over and over-however many times I struggle.  He is my rock and my salvation (Psalms 62:8).

I love this quote by Clayton M. Christensen, “it is easier to keep the commandments 100 percent of the time than it is 98 percent of the time.”  This is true!  I know I’m not lacking in imperfections by any means, but it is far easier to keep my heart centered on Christ than to try to please the world at the same time.  I can’t happily do both-if I try, I end up a confused mess.  True joy comes when I let go of worldly concerns.  I have to let go of obvious temptations like anger and pride, as well as the sneakier yet very effective temptations like believing I am just a “son/daughter of man”.  We are children of God!  With God, all things are possible! (Mark 10:27)