Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Change Will Do Me Good

Allow me to ask a question. I hope you’ll give the answer serious thought.

Is there anything in your life right now that you’d like to change or have different?

Perhaps you are seeking an answer? Or maybe forgiveness? Or are you holding onto forgiveness that needs to be extended? Maybe you are trying to win the battle with an addiction. Maybe you are trying to reach a difficult goal. Maybe you are seeking greater joy or peace or harmony within your home, family, or self. Maybe you are making big life decisions and are wondering which path to take. Maybe you want to pursue a different profession. Or maybe you are trying to overcome a fear. Perhaps you would like more good friends. Maybe you are wondering when the ache in your heart will finally dull and go away. Maybe you are wondering when the tears will stop. Maybe you are in a relationship that needs healing. Maybe illness and fatigue are currently a part of your daily life. Maybe you are seeking a certain blessing to come your way. The list of changes we each might like to see in our lives is endless.

I sat down to write my “Bucket List” recently. I’d been thinking about putting together my list for a while, and there were lots of things about my life that I wanted to be different. But when I sat down to write the list, there was only one thing that really stood out to me. I had examined my life much in the preceding months and I had come to the conclusion that I wasn’t who I wanted to be. I wondered where the bright-eyed, idealistic young woman had gone, along with all the plans and goals and ways I was going to change the world. I couldn’t see the perfect-faith-filled woman anymore. By no means had I become a horrible person, but I wasn’t who I had been in years past, and I hadn’t become who I thought I would once I “became a grown up.” Life had happened. I have a real job with real stress and heavy demands. I’d accumulated bills and responsibilities and “busyness”. And the busier I got, the less I seemed like me. And it seemed like the farther I got from “me,” the farther I got from heaven too.

From now on, I will know the Savior better.

I need to put a dedicated emphasis on that goal. I need to re-implement habits like daily scripture reading, regular prayer, and reading the lessons for each Sunday. The intensity of the Spirit isn’t permeating my life like it had just a few years before. And so – it is time to clean out the cobwebs. I need to identify things that had crept into my life which are making it difficult for me to always have the Spirit – things like sins, weaknesses, imperfections, grudges and my infertility issues. I need to offer them up to heaven with the humblest heart I think I’ve ever had. I am so saddened by the weeds I have let overtake my heart.

I think I have known I needed change for a long time, but when I’m honest about why I haven’t do it sooner, it was because I was scared – scared to give the Lord this tattered, broken life. I was afraid piecing it back together would hurt beyond what I could bear. And I think I was also ashamed. He’s the perfect God of the universe. How could I ask the Lord to fix me, change me, remake me? How could I offer Him anything less than perfection? And so for a long while I have tried to rid my life of the busyness and weaknesses on my own, while trying to add back in the joy, service, and dedication – again, on my own. But I can’t do it on my own anymore. And I don’t know that I’ve ever wanted to know the Savior more. It’s never mattered more. And I think that’s because I’ve never been more acutely aware of my need for Him. And I told the Lord so. I will do whatever it takes. I don’t care how badly it hurts or how long it will take. I want my life to be different. And I will do whatever He asks.

Now, anyone who knows me must know that I have always been my own worst critic. And, though I would never allow another person to believe this about themselves, I’ve always thought that I needed to do more, work harder, run faster in order to receive the blessing or find forgiveness. I think many of us feel this way simply because we’re so much more aware of our own imperfections. We tend to be hardest on ourselves.

In fact, I’ve often been known to say in prayer, “I haven’t suffered enough for this. If you need to punish me a bit more, I understand.” Or I’ll think to myself, “I need to do this and this and this and this, before I ask for help because certainly I can’t kneel before God if I haven’t read my scriptures, served my neighbor, etc.” And what I find I need to do is just to remember that I need to slow down and kneel at His feet and be quiet.

When we are burdened, it is He who says, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and You will find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)

When we wonder which direction to go or choice to make, it is He who says, “Trust in Me with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Me, and I will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
When our world swirls around us, it is he who “arises, and rebukes the winds and the sea; until there is calm” (Matt 8:26).

When we want, it is He who says, “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt. 6:7).

When we feel condemned and ashamed, it is He who says, “Neither do I condemn you, go from now on and sin no more.” (John 8:11).

When we hunger, it is He who says, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:48).

When we thirst, it is He who says, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." (John 4:14).

When we don’t know the way, it is He who says, “I am the way.” (John 14:6).

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