Sunday, January 23, 2011

Making due...

So I had a fantastic 2010. Many of my close friends and family members don't feel the same way about their 2010. I'm beginning to feel the same way about 2011 that they feel about 2010. It's been a rough couple of weeks. My laptop died and I totaled my car but I have tried to quietly count my blessings so I don't get sucked into a 52 week bog of pessimism. This is the kind of thing that I would keep in a file on my computer, but I haven't loaded Word yet so the blog gets it. Relief Society was perfect for me today. We talked about "Faith-the Choice Is Yours" from the October 2010 General Conference. I've been thinking about faith quite a bit this year. I think it all started with my mom taking me to the airport EARLY in the morning the day I came home after Christmas. We talked about faith and the concept of stepping from light into the dark without knowing exactly what we'll find there. My first step in the dark has me stepping back into the classroom. I've started a class with the intent of going back to school for a masters. Interestingly enough, it's a philosophy class called WORLD RELIGIONS. I'm sure you'll hear more about that later. As I've considered the "step into the dark" faith, I've kind of created another analogy in my mind. Faith is like a zip line. So many times we stand on the edge of the platform and say "Okay. I'm going to jump. I'm going to jump right off this platform unless you tell me not to. I jumping right now unless you stop me!" And that's it. We talk about how we're going off the edge without actually going off the edge. I'm not going to lie. Zip lines freak me out. It's jumping off a platform and hoping that your harness and cables really do engage and send you on the ride of your life. Initially it's terrifying, but there is quite the rush after. Kind of like faith, yeah? He's not going to set us up for failure. Okay. Now that I've spilled the contents of my brain, lets move on to the talk. I have a few quotes that made me think.
Because of the conflicts and challenges we face in today's world, I wish to suggest a single choice--a choice of peace and protection and a choice that is appropriate for all. That choice is Faith. Be aware that faith is not a free gift given without thought, desire, or effort. It does not come as the dew falls from heaven. The Savior said, "Come unto me" and "Knock and it shall be [given] you". These are action verbs--come, knock. They are choices. So I say, choose faith. Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and unseen, and choose faith over pessimism.
This is SO TRUE!!! Since I was in Middle School (and probably before) I remember my mother telling me when I left for school, "Make it a good day." It's my choice. I choose to have a good day. I choose to have a bad day. I choose to believe. I choose not to believe. One more quote and I'm finished. The quote is a response to Matthew 17:20" If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove".
I have never witnessed the removal of an actual mountain. But because of faith, I have seen a mountain of doubt and despair removed and replaced with hope and optimism. Because of faith, I have personally witnessed a mountain of sin replaced with repentance and forgiveness. And because of faith, I have personally witnessed a mountain of pain replaced with peace, hope, and gratitude. Yes, I have seen mountains removed.
Knowing these things to be true has changed my life. It gives me a sense of direction and security that can't bring me anything but optimism, joy and peace. I am so grateful to know these things and have them in my life each day. It makes me happy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Can I do it today?

A few years ago my New Year's Resolution was to do something physical, mental, and spiritual every day. It worked out rather nicely for me. This year I'd like to adopt something similar. Sunday night's CES Fireside was perfect.
He addressed the topic of “daily bread,” saying, “as you ask in prayer for your daily bread, consider thoughtfully your needs, both what you may lack and what you must protect against. As you retire to bed, think about the successes and failures of the day and what will make the next day a little better.” He then promised the young adults that “your [daily] reflections will increase your faith in Him as you see His hand helping you to endure some things and to change others. You will be able to rejoice in one more day, one more step toward eternal life.”
(I lifted the quote from lds.org.) It's already working. I'm beginning to see things differently and my attitude is beginning to change. Many of my friends said that 2010 was their worst/hardest year yet. That made me sad because my 2010 was fantastic. 2011 is going to be exciting. The past 2 weeks have proven that it will not be easy, but I choose to think that 2011 is going to be "a character building experience". If I continue to take my "daily bread", I'll survive it. I won't be doing it alone.