Thank you to those of you who have left such kind comments on my blog, and thank you for your patience between entries. The days are difficult to get through, but I’m very blessed to be able to keep going. Thank you for your prayers and support!
Last Friday evening I spoke at a fireside in Midvale, Utah, and gave a similar version of something I’d talked about on a couple of previous occasions. I promised those who attended that I would post some notes on my blog in case they would like to refer to them, and for those who couldn’t attend, you may find something worthwhile as well.
May God bless you all . . .
We are all equal in the eyes of God. We all feel inadequate. We all judge ourselves unfairly and compare ourselves to others, often without even realizing we’re doing it.
Our value as a human being is not based on our performance, or our abilities or accomplishments; and it’s certainly not based on the free agency of other people and their choices. Our value as a human being comes from knowing that God’s love for us is absolute and unconditional. When we recognize and feel that love for us, it helps us overcome those feelings of inadequacy and we no longer have the need to compare ourselves to others. God’s love is the safety net that catches us when we fall, when other things in life let us down, and when we face adversity in our lives.
Tools for dealing with adversity:
Distinguish between the gospel of Jesus Christ and the culture of Mormonism which often has nothing to do with actual doctrine or the teachings of Jesus. Unrealistic expectations of yourself or others is not part of the gospel. In the battle between good and evil here on this earth, remember that it’s more about the battle between love and hate. As we love others (and ourselves) with Christlike charity, while standing up for our values, we emulate Christ’s perfect love and allow Him to be the only one who has the right to judge others. Remember that we can stand up for our values without being self-righteous or judgmental toward others. Love others (and yourself) unconditionally and work on gaining confidence in your own relationship with God, while allowing others to have their own journey.
Adversity is inevitable! It’s a part of mortal life, and it hits people in different ways and at different times. Again, don’t compare yourself and your life to that of others. Just look to God to help you on your own personal journey.
Seek to understand the purpose of trials. Consequences are always a result of choices, but the Atonement is there to help us no matter the reason for our trials. Many trials have nothing to do with our choices; they just happen. Trials are not a punishment! Don’t get down on yourself for being in the midst of difficulty. Just press forward!
Stay right with God. The story of Job is based in the foundation of his righteousness in spite of his weaknesses. His strong faith in God is what got him through. He had confidence in knowing he had not brought this upon himself, but he sought to learn what God was trying to teach him. Don’t allow adversity to diminish your faith.
Be realistic and honest with yourself and with others. Don’t try to pretend things aren’t difficult if they are. Seek out people who will allow you to be honest about your struggles and don’t be afraid to rely on others for help when you need it. The admonishment to serve others works two ways, and people cannot give of themselves if those in need are not willing to accept help. We have committed to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. Don’t be too afraid or prideful to allow others to share your journey.
You can’t change the problem through positive thinking (which could possibly be some level of denial) but striving to be positive can help you get through.
Don’t waste energy trying to get over or around a trial, when you have to go through it. Going through it with faith and striving to trust in the Lord will help you learn what God wants you to learn, and will strengthen your faith, as opposed to avoidance or denial, which only makes it more difficult. No experience is wasted when we seek God’s guidance and aid.
Sincerely consider (pray and ponder) what God wants you to learn; or perhaps what others might learn from your example and experience. Approach your struggles with curiosity rather than fear or anger. Study and apply Ether , and consider the concept of beams and motes in the New Testament. Come out of the other end of this trial more emotionally healthy and spiritually strong.
Remember that faith is not some magic potion of positive thinking. Faith is aligning yourself to God’s will, whatever that might be for you.
Keep perspective. If you have a broken ankle, you can be grateful your leg wasn’t amputated. But that doesn’t mean your ankle isn’t causing you pain, and it needs time to heal. Be realistic about your own suffering, but also grateful.
Gratitude is the great antidote. No matter how difficult your situation might be, considering your blessings and making an effort to express your gratitude to God is truly soothing and healing. Keep a gratitude journal.
Journaling is emotionally therapeutic. Studies have been done on the psychological benefits. Write about your feelings honestly, which allows them to not be stuck inside of you. Your story will have great value in the future, whether for yourself or your posterity—or both.
Seek for compassion and empathy (toward yourself and others) as opposed to pity. Don’t feel sorry for someone (or yourself) but have compassion and consider what might truly be helpful and supportive.
Last of all and most important, remember that we have a Savior and Redeemer. When we strive to give our heartache and suffering to Him, He will walk this journey with us. Remember also that He has promised our suffering will not be in vain. All things will be compensated, our heartache healed. Therefore we can indeed have a perfect brightness of hope. The Atonement performs its greatest miracle in regard to all the things in this life that cannot be added up with any degree of logic.