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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.
Whit

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't think I know you. But a link to this blog post popped up on my facebook feed. (A friend of a friend, I guess) And I had a prompting to read it. I am so grateful I did. This post was exactly what I needed to read right now. Thank you so much for writing it :)