Sunday, October 28, 2012

Faith is a Decision

Well, as is often the case, I was given a suggestion for spiritual nourishment this week that gave me a lot of food for thought. Dale Sturm gave a talk on BYU-Idaho's campus this last January entitled, "Faith is a Decision." His main point: "Sometimes you have to get moving before you will feel the Holy Ghost's confirming influence.... Faith is a decision, an action, before it is a feeling."

I've realized today that it's time to commit myself wholly to a higher purpose. As someone in church said today, a committed heart searches for a solution. An uncommitted heart searches for an escape.

I've been contemplating this concept a lot this week. I have to drop a class because I simply do not (and will not) have the time needed to keep up with the course load and get anything out of it. However, I realize that I'm putting other things (like my job) above this class. If I really wanted to turn around my performance, I could do it. However, my heart is not committed to Western American lit. right now, and instead, I am seeking for a solution to my job with Studio C. It's been a rather disheartening week because I've struggled in knowing where my commitments lie, but I've made my decision.

Similarly, I've been feeling rather dead inside in terms of spiritual decisions because I've been looking for an escape. I've realized that asking "What lack I?" or "What do I need to improve?" "can be a glorious opportunity... But make no mistake, it won't necessarily be easy or pleasant or convenient" (Sturm). But today, I've realized that it's time to quit stalling and to work on the individual traits that can help me be more Christ-like. The thing is, I've come to this decision many times before, but doing it in my everyday life is arduous and it's hard to remember how to act like Christ when it really matters. Dale Sturm quotes C.S. Lewis in his talk and says, "The cross comes before the crown, and tomorrow is a Monday morning." He explains the quote by saying, "What we have to get through is nothing more dramatic than Monday morning. What we have to get through is the mundane, the common, the relentlessly routine, to get to the blessings. Sometimes the trial is actually in the insistent ordinariness of the day-to-day."

I've realized that it is easy for me to come closer to Christ in times of trial and big decisions, but my biggest struggle is to seek Him out in the day-to-day, and I've come to understand that I need to seek Him out, otherwise I start feeling a numbness over time that is a result of living too easily, and letting my circumstances toss me to and fro until I'm dissatisfied with everything because I've stopped pursuing anything.

I feel like I've been going in circles with these posts, but I think it's because the Lord won't let me move on until I start acting like a disciple. So here is where I map out my game plan.

1. I need to become more acquainted with what Heavenly Father specifically wants me to improve on right now. This can be done in reading the scriptures more thoroughly, conversing with Heavenly Father in prayer, and reading my patriarchal blessing. I know that as we become more acquainted with our patriarchal blessings, we'll become more acquainted with who we can be. God does not motivate us through discouragement, but, rather, through seeing our potential, recognizing the possibility of its realization, and understanding the steps to get there.
I've started getting the feeling (and it just strengthens every time I ponder about it) that I need to work on my relationship with others. I need to focus on uplifting those around me and helping them feel the way Christ feels about them. It is so very important to exhibit charity toward our brothers and sisters, but breaking that down, it is important to see everyone as immortal beings with endless potential. This is when progress is made in the building up of God's kingdom. We get nowhere by limiting others' capacity and positive influence.

2. I need to use my gifts. Dale Sturm references the scripture passage where the rich man asks Jesus "What lack I yet?" And recounts how Christ gave this man a personal diagnosis of what could help him overcome himself to be perfect. Sturm then goes on to say, "Bound up in that invitation for God to give us a personal diagnosis is both the painful revelation of our lack, and the very gifts of God that will allow us to overcome it." God has given us weaknesses and strengths, and we can use our strengths to overcome our weaknesses! What a wonderful realization!

Marvin J. Ashton gave a wonderful talk in which he listed gifts that we may not consider:
Let us review some of these less-conspicuous gifts: the gift of asking; the gift of listening; the gift of hearing and using a still, small voice; the gift of being able to weep; the gift of avoiding contention; the gift of being agreeable; the gift of avoiding vain repetition; the gift of seeking that which is righteous; the gift of not passing judgment; the gift of looking to God for guidance; the gift of being a disciple; the gift of caring for others; the gift of being able to ponder; the gift of offering prayer; the gift of bearing a mighty testimony; and the gift of receiving the Holy Ghost.
There are gifts in this list that seem so far from me, but there are also gifts in here that I feel make up who I am, innately. These innate gifts are not instilled in me by accident. I may as well use them to continue perfecting myself.

3. I need to find peace. I've been reading over my own patriarchal blessing and I'm surprised at how often it mentions my happiness and peace with life. You can tell it's been a while since I've read over my blessing (at least with a searching heart) because I'd realized that this was not where I was. I've been overwhelmed and dissatisfied with many things in my life. The words of Jeffrey R. Holland rang true to me this week when he said, "The Lord has probably spoken enough such 'comforting words' to supply the whole universe, it would seem, and yet we see all around us unhappy Latter-day Saints, worried Latter-day Saints, and gloomy Latter-day Saints into whose troubled hearts not one of these innumerable consoling words seems to be allowed to enter. In fact, I think some of us must have that remnant of Puritan heritage still with us that says it is somehow wrong to be comforted or helped, that we are supposed to be miserable about something."

This is where I started to feel the fire of motivation in myself. I know we often hear the prescription: Be happy. And it can be so easy for me to raise my hackles when someone throws that phrase around flippantly. There are many people who struggle with depression or even the drowning sensation of mortal challenges, and happiness is not something so simply obtained that one can just be happy. However, there is rest and peace and joy found in our Savior, Jesus Christ. There is hope and mercy and happiness. I know that this life is a time to celebrate. I have so much to be grateful for. I should step back and recognize all that is going well for me and all that my Heavenly Father has given me so that I may consecrate my life and give back to Him.

Anywho, this post may seem very stale or like a repetition of posts before it, but the thing is, getting out of physical/emotional/spiritual ruts often requires the simple and repetitive actions we know so well: praying, studying scriptures, attending the temple, and letting our higher aspirations govern our immediate actions. I'm hoping that I can continue fueling this fire and that eventually I will see more of who God wants me to be in myself. For now, I know I have the right desires and I know I'm making the right decisions. Hopefully this cycle of deciding-->acting-->feeling will continue to snowball this flame inside my heart that lets me feel God's presence and continue to come closer to Him.

I hope all of you are having a wonderful weekend and wish you an active week. Love to you all,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Get up

So my realization last Sunday was that I had the power to overcome these weaknesses that keeping popping up in myself. I can do hard things. This last week, I've been content. I've been happy and anxiety-free because I know that things will work out. My weaknesses aren't dark clouds of crap overpowering my life. They are stepping stones, and if I take them one at a time, I will become the person I need to be. It was a healing week for me.

I gave a talk on Sunday about getting up and reaching the potential in us, so that will be my post this week. As a sidenote, however, I'm realizing how dangerous it is to glide by in life and not pursue passions. I'm taking it easy right now with my thesis finished and I'm seeing that idleness can crop up when we don't actively look for ways to improve ourselves and uplift those around us. It should be a constant consciousness. That's my new thought for the post. I'm still munching on it so it's a little unformed, but here is my talk:

Today I wanted to speak on reaching our potential and becoming who God wants us to be. That’s why we’re here, but it can be so easy to forget in the ups and downs we experience every single day. President Uchtdorf put it well this General Conference when he said, “Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence. Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial?” Recently, I’ve been humbled in this realization. I feel like everybody knows the truths of this gospel. We know why we’re here. We know what we have the potential to become. Sometimes, though, we lose momentum. We get caught up in the trivial and we don’t feel the motivation to aspire higher. So, through my talk, while you won’t necessarily be learning anything new, I hope that your hearts will feel the power of this concept. Because it is when we feel the truth of the gospel that we actually live it.
Developing Christ-Like Attributes
Neal A. Maxwell says that, “For the serious disciple, the cardinal attributes exemplified by Jesus are not optional. These developmental milestones take the form of traits, traits that mark the trail to be traveled.” So our accomplishments and our progress are not necessarily measured by life events. Rather, our progress can be measured by the traits we’re developing that help us become more like our Savior. When I think of my life being measured by who I am, it makes me realize how I’m doing and where I’m going.
This is where I could talk for hours about the characteristics I need most in my life. But I felt like I should focus on one particular trait that I think will help us become more like Christ than any other pursuit. In Matthew 11:29, Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” The idea of meekness is generally very quaint and nice, but not sought after. Yet it is Christ’s defining characteristic. It is the process of submitting our will to the Father’s and consecrating our performance unto Him. It is the ability to recognize our weaknesses and put them aside for something better. It is the essence of Christ’s love, power, and attitude. Meekness is a peace of mind. As Neal A. Maxwell says in his talk, “Meek and Lowly,” “The ‘rest’ promised by Jesus to the meek, though not including an absence of adversity or tutoring, does, therefore, give us the special peace that flows from ‘humbleness of mind.’” This humbleness of mind is the key to meekness and it is the key to overcoming challenges and progressing. When we are meek, we understand the role of God in our lives, and can thus use our experiences as stepping stones rather than burdens, so that we can become more like our Savior.
How to Change Part 1: Feeling Desire to Change
So how do we change? The first step in becoming more like God is being meek and humble enough to desire to change ourselves. Quentin L. Cook spoke about this in General Conference. He references Alma 5 when discussing the desire to be like God. Alma 5 Verse 9 says, “And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they are saved.” Verse 26—”And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?”
How to Change Part 2: Exercising Agency
This is the feeling I mentioned earlier, when we feel the truth of the gospel, our souls can expand. Isn’t that an awesome way to describe it? Have you ever felt that expansion when you resolve to be better? Our minds comprehend more truth, our spirits seek more correction, and our hearts feel more love—both from our Heavenly Father and for those around us.
The second step in becoming more like our Heavenly Father is to exercise our agency and act! In Alma 5:33, it says,  “Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.” By being meek and humble, we can feel the empowering effects of the Atonement to act—to change our attitudes and behavior and become more like God.
Application: How to Improve Ourselves
So what are some things we can do right now? First, like it says in Alma, we can use the Atonement. Elder David A. Bednar said, “I suspect that you and I are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming power of the Atonement than we are with the enabling power of the Atonement. It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us. That is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us.” A couple weeks ago, I felt like all of my discouragements were culminating into one big mess. I was so upset because I’d become a creature of circumstance rather than a creator of circumstance and I wasn’t anywhere near the person I wanted to be. So last week, I hit my low point. I didn’t know where to begin to improve myself because there is so much to do! I prayed hard for help and was reminded of this principle that we can use the Atonement simply to have the power to start acting on our improvements! So I started praying simply for the ability to change because I didn’t have that power in myself. And then, miraculously, my weaknesses didn’t seem like an overwhelming blob taking over my life, but more like small steps I needed to climb, line upon line, to come closer to my Heavenly Father. It was so encouraging, and this is how our Heavenly Father sees us. He motivates us by showing us who we can become. Brothers and sisters, the power of the Atonement can help us not only cleanse ourselves from sin, but it can put us in the mindset to manage ourselves. It can enable us to overcome our weaknesses one trait at a time.
Another important step to improving ourselves is to keep open our communication lines with God. When we pray and read the scriptures with full and searching hearts, we allow God’s spirit to be with us in the moments when we decide how to act. One way I’ve been able to gauge my spiritual progress is by recognizing when I’ve stopped looking for divine guidance every day. I promise you, brothers and sisters, when you look for promptings from God each day, you will find them. As Elder Maxwell said, “It is clear that [Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ] are giving away the secrets of the universe!” We have access to these sacred truths if we keep our eyes open and hearts prayerful, we’ll recognize them when they come and have the desire and the power to act!
Third, we need to attend the temple. All of us know the feeling after coming out of the temple where all of our temporal concerns seem so insignificant. The temple is a place that reminds us of our most important tasks. President David O. McKay said, “I believe there are few, even temple workers, who comprehend the full meaning of the power of the temple endowment. Seen for what it is, it is the step-by-step ascent into the Eternal Presence. If our young people could but glimpse it, it would be the most powerful spiritual motivation of their lives.” I know that if we keep the temple central in our lives, it will only be natural that we become more and more like our Savior.
Lastly, we need to keep it up and continue to build on this process of improvement. Elder Bruce C. Hafen said, “‘Endure to the end,’ we say, as if that means relaxing in some eternal rocking chair… But it’s not quite that simple. On the contrary, receiving the Holy Ghost marks the beginning of our real spiritual growth, not the end of it. Baptism and the Holy Ghost only let us enter ‘in by the gate.’ Then the Holy Ghost leads us along the ‘strait and narrow path’ of becoming sanctified disciples—not as passive spectators but by our straining every spiritual muscle, drinking in the power of temple ordinances, and feasting actively on Christ’s words to nourish us in becoming ever more holy. And the long-term goal of that journey is to become like Him.” Brothers and sisters, this discipleship is not a passive lifestyle. But how wonderful it is that even though we are so far from perfect, Christ invites us to be like Him. And just by inviting us, Christ is telling us that perfection is possible. I know we can become perfect, brothers and sisters; someday, we can be as our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. I invite you to search your heart and find traits you would most like to develop right now. Use the Atonement and continue to reignite that desire in you to be better. “Don’t ignore the impulses that come to you to rise above yourself into a higher and more beautiful world” (Eyring). I promise you that you will be amazed at the person you can become.

Have a wonderful week. Do something that stretches you, and know that God loves you and will help you reach your potential if you turn to Him with full purpose in your heart.

Love you all,

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Seeing Through My Pavilion

Woof! What a week! I feel like I need a moment to simply SLKDGW##*RDLKJR(FEE)DF(*#R%!

On the outside, this week's been fun and not anything too crazy. We had a Divine Comedy show, my mom came into town, I did homework. Yes, yes. But inside, I feel like I've failed in maintaining any Christ-like qualities about myself. I feel like I've checked off every thing in the NOT column of this list:
Courtesy of Noah
I have had such a hard time not getting frustrated, jealous, dissatisfied, self-concerned, condescending, impatient, easily offended, ungenerous, and irritated and I didn't realize why it was so easy to be mad when everything was going just fine.

I've come to the conclusion that this week has been a humbling week, because I came home from church today, received some disappointing news about something very stupid, and promptly went into the bathroom to cry in the shower. As I stayed curled up on the floor of my bathtub, I realized I wasn't crying so much about this disappointing news as I was that I had let myself become a creature--rather than a creator--of circumstance. I had reacted to negative situations negatively and hadn't tried very hard to keep the Spirit with me in all of my interactions so that I might be able to uplift others and consecrate my performance to the Lord. I realized this distance between my goals and my reality and it was making me incredibly sad.

However, I'm writing this after emerging from a very long shower because I came to some realizations while in the shower that have filled me with hope and humility. Certain experiences this week have helped me realize my potential for good. I've seen some glimpses of who God wants me to be as I've tried to be better in looking for that potential person.

First: An experience in Divine Comedy helped me realize that this group is an immense blessing. It's fun and allows me to be creative and to have a core group of friends with whom I get along so well. They've become my family. More than that, though, it is an opportunity for me to help others and in experiencing the Spirit through a sense of humor, I've been more observant of the Spirit in my life. I followed some promptings this week concerning someone and was so glad that I did. I realized that my role in this group is more than a participant along for the ride. I'm now more sensitive to experiences linked to this where I can be more helpful, and that's blessed me with experiences to experience. It's a wonderful cycle! (:

Second: Today during church, I was pulled out of Relief Society and asked to give a talk next week. The topic can be on anything I want, which is always fun but a little intimidating. I went through the next two hours (we have backwards church) thinking about what my talk could be on and started looking through Neal A. Maxwell talks because he really does it for me. (: I felt like I should look under the topic of meekness and came across the big talk I always come to by Maxwell, "Meek and Lowly." Perhaps this prompting was merely meant for myself and I'll speak on another topic completely, but this was what I needed to see at that moment.
"If sufficient meekness is in us, it will not only help us to jettison unneeded burdens, but will also keep us from becoming mired in the ooze of self-pity. Furthermore, true meekness has a metabolism that actually requires very little praise or recognition-of which there is usually such a shortage anyway."
While this was a bit of a harsh wakeup call, it successfully woke me up. I realized that I'd been so self-centered this week. I'd looked for praise and recognition in every conversation and I was often left unsatisfied with myself when I felt unappreciated. What an ugly vice, eh? As Jeffrey R. Holland put it, "Envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment! To say nothing of the chagrin in the end, when we find that God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with Him 'all that he hath,' as the scripture says." This mindset doesn't crop up in those terms, which is what makes it so sneaky. I mostly found myself thinking, "Did I do something wrong? What can I do to make this person think better of me?" I thought I was being concerned and trying to nurture my relationships, but in reality, I was seeking validation for my own insecurities. Stupid sneaky Satan.

Third: I know that by recognizing the cause for all of my frustration, I can better overcome it. It was a wonderfully peaceful place I came to while praying in my bathtub. I realized that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can act and change my habits. I begged for help and felt the peace of the Spirit in my heart. As Maxwell says,
The "rest" promised by Jesus to the meek, though not including an absence of adversity or tutoring, does, therefore, give us the special peace that flows from "humbleness of mind." The meek management of power and responsibility relieves us of the heavy and grinding chains of pride; however glitzed and polished, they are still chains... Meekness also contains a readiness that helps us to surmount the accumulated stumbling blocks and rocks of offense; we can make stepping stones of them and achieve a deeper and broader view of life. (Maxwell)
The whole time I've been pondering on this, I've thought about Henry B. Eyring's talk, "Where is the Pavilion?" I've put myself under my own pavilion of insecurities and selfishness, but I know that God sees through my pavilion and knows who I am capable of becoming. He is constantly reaching out for me to build upon my experiences and become as He is. He knows that I can become a force for good in the building up of His kingdom and he knows that I can help others do the same. I've known this about myself, but I re-experienced feeling the truth of it today. As Eyring said, "If you go for the Lord to bless others, He will see and reward it. If you do this often enough and long enough, you will feel a change in your very nature through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Not only will you feel closer to Him, but you will also feel more and more that you are becoming like Him."

I am immensely grateful that my Father in Heaven is so patient with me, even when I'm not very patient with myself. I'm grateful that I can recognize the source of ultimate happiness and that through Christ's Atonement, I can not only change, but have the power to act to change. What a wonderful God we have who lets us see the good we can become.

Love to you all. This week is going to be a wonderful, purposeful, spiritual week.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Feeling It

Hello! How are you this chilly Monday morning? Our roommates and I have decided to limit our electricity use during the winter, so we're bundling up and Mal and I get to sleep in the coldest corner of the house. Actually, it makes me super excited for the holidays! Cold weather always makes me think of trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving turkey trots, and Christmas. This is the best time of the year!
Anywho, I wanted to post today because while listening to General Conference this weekend, I realized that I need to be more engaged in my gospel studies. I've discovered that posting blogs about my questions and experiences helps me to get my thoughts out there and it also helps me look for things to learn every week. I guess it puts me in a more receptive mindset for the inspiration God's waiting for me to receive. So I'll be posting every week and hopefully get more engaged in the gospel and more active in developing Christ-like qualities.

Today, I want to discuss the talk that put me into this mindset. Well, there were many (such a good session!), but I'll save the others (especially Jeffrey R. Holland's) for when I have a bit more stamina. (: Today I'll be discussing the message I took from Quentin L. Cook's talk, "Can Ye Feel So Now?" It really got me thinking. I decided to open Alma 5 and look at the advice Alma gives:

Alma 5:9 And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they are saved.
 26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
 33 Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.

These past few weeks, I've felt a little distant and almost apathetic. I know the Church is true. I know my Heavenly Father loves me and watches over me. I know I must be kind, obedient, and diligent. I know that Christ's way is the easiest way. But all of this seems very thin and trite when you don't feel the power of these statements. I know this, too. It's so easy for me to get distracted and pursue other things that don't make me necessarily better. I have become immersed in the "thick of thin things" as Thomas S. Monson puts it. And I am in desperate need of an inner fire. That's why these verses stuck out to me so much.

First, I had to reflect on this question, "Can ye feel so now?" I realized that I knew it, but my heart was stretching to hold onto something it hadn't felt in a little while. So I made a list of the qualities I should be striving to develop and how I could re-instill a sense of desire and excitement about the gospel. This is a wonderful work! We have temples on earth and the priesthood and prayer and the respect and love of an Almighty God who knows us, loves us, and has confidence in us to build up His kingdom. We know how to be truly happy. Not temporarily happy, but eternally joyful. We have agency to choose this path, which instills more joy in us because we see how much we are growing! What a wonderful plan this is! It truly is the plan of happiness and it is in effect by an all powerful Being who knows we can do it.

It is here where I get a sense that my soul is expanding. What a wonderful image! I feel so full and bright inside! I feel the hope of the gospel and know that this is how it feels when we look to Christ. We live. We can more fully appreciate our circumstances and more ably help build up the kingdom of God. We can consecrate our time and talents more willingly and feel the joy of aiding our Heavenly Father in His work. WE CAN DO SO MUCH! And with the Atonement of our Savior, we have the power to do it! He will help us know what to do, and He will give us the power to act.

This is what God wants for us. He does not want us to go through life based on obligations and minimums. He wants us to live abundantly. He wants us to experience the edifying, individualizing, and immensely satisfying effects of the Atonement and Christ's amazing grace.

I was talking to a friend the other day who mentioned that he wanted to only do things in his life because he loved doing them. So, when he read his scriptures, he wanted to read them because he loved them. He wanted to pray because he loved it. He wanted to do his homework, his job, and his church calling because he loved them. This is a rich way to live, and it doesn't mean your circumstances need to change. Rather, if you can allow your soul to expand and feel the song of redeeming love, you will feel a sliver of what God feels in being our Heavenly Father. I get little glimpses of it from time to time, and it is the most beautiful insight I can have into the eternal.

This is the beginning of a journey for me. I want to be excited. I want to pursue, expand, and sing! I want to lift others and create my own circumstances. I want to love and experience life as God would have me do it. Thus, I should probably take care of a few things:
  • Prayer: This is a no-brainer. I read an article in the Ensign this week about prayer in the Book of Mormon and it made me realize that I should be taking this time to revel in my communication with God. The article recommended that you pray in private, that you kneel, that you pray vocally, you express gratitude, and that you pray for others. These are simple things, but I realized I'd been getting lax in my prayers and mostly praying for the few things I most wanted. However, prayer is a time to improve ourselves while communicating with Heavenly Father. We can receive answers, but we can also feel love, peace, and pressure to aspire higher.
  • Scripture study: Nobody ever got anywhere with one-sided conversations. I'm a speech junkie and listen to a lot of talks by the Brethren, but I have a harder time opening my scriptures and studying what God wants me to learn. How blessed are we to have these?! They are rich with comfort, answers, and advice.
  • Temple attendance: I love the temple. I love it so so so so much. It is God's house. It is a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory, and order. We can come nearer to God in the temple than almost anywhere on earth. Why don't I go every week?!
  • Personal interactions: I will always struggle with this. I know that I have the potential to become a warm, loving woman who can help bring others closer to God. This is difficult for me to keep in mind all the time, however, and it is much easier to focus on being witty, likable, and looked up to. My relationships are opportunities to build others up and strengthen them. I have the power to show others a little bit of what Heavenly Father sees in them. That is why we are all here together, helping each other out.
I have a lot more to work on, but these are the things that I think will jumpstart my heart so that I can feel close to the Lord and like I am working side by side with my Heavenly Father to prepare His kingdom. This life has so much to offer us. Let's not waste it!

I also want to open up to you guys who stumble onto my posts. What do you do on a daily basis to keep the fire of the gospel strong in yourself? How do you continue to strengthen your resolve? How do you feel the truth of everything important?

Woof! Long post today, and it might seem rambly and incoherent, but I'll keep this up for myself mostly. I know I need some motivation and if anyone else is in the same boat, let's start feeling it now. (:

Love to you all,