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/

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)

http://www.lds.org/ensign/2014/02/shunning-temptation-a-key-to-receiving-revelation?lang=eng