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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Solution to the Bog

Friends!

What a wonderful day! First off, my professor canceled class due to the snow, which gave me time to sit and write on the wonderful experiences of the past 24 hours.

It is amazing how the Lord answers our prayers. Thank you all for your wonderful answers to my prayers. I am in awe of the swiftness of this answer, however, because I know not all prayers are answered in a day--well, technically I'd been praying about this for weeks, but you get the picture. I've taken all of your comments to heart and am using them in this change of pace.

I want to post a video Doug left on my comment feed. It is taken from a talk by Elder Busche. I think it's important to see and internalize because it is true.


I also want to express gratitude for a person who knows me well enough to give me personal advice. You see, for those who work in education, you've probably familiarized yourself with the color personalities:



Stephen and I are both Blue personalities. We place high value on relationships with other people and we hate confrontation. However, in times of stress, your secondary color begins to strengthen and take the place of your primary color--just for that time. Well, as it turns out, Stephen and I both have Gold as our secondary colors. Yesterday, while talking to Stephen about my frustrations with not living up to my potential, I asked him, "What is something I could improve in my life that is manageable?"

I suggest everyone have someone in their lives who know them well enough that they can ask this question. I am grateful because in turn, Stephen told me what made him feel so good at the beginning of this semester was that he had gotten into a regiment. He said that waking up early, studying scriptures, going to school, then to Studio C, then DC, then doing homework with me, then going to bed at a decent hour was a great way to get things done and that the structure made him achieve more things and thus feel better about his contributions. Are some of you repulsed by this idea? You might be an Orange. Those of you nodding your heads-- you're probably a Gold.

So after Studio C rehearsal yesterday, I came home and decided to write up a schedule for the next few days that I could follow that would plug in everything I wanted to do (productive, spiritual, and social activities alike). This is what I came up with:

* = Can substitute for Stephen time 
Italicized = A one-time event 
To Do 
Finish thesis revision notes and turn into department head
As class was canceled today, I'm moving my blogging time to now.
I blanked the last column because it's not extremely necessary for you to know that list. (:

This has helped immensely. I'm making time for the things I want to improve on and setting it up in a way that I best respond to, but it may not be the best solution for everyone. For those of you who are heavy Blues, maybe a solution to your feelings of inadequacy would be to spend time with those who encourage you and serve serve serve (this is a good strategy anyway, but I know it would especially pierce Blues). For Oranges, perhaps you need to start a new project that helps you see your talents and how you can build up God's kingdom. For Greens, maybe scripture study is the fuel that drives you and you need to lay out some topics to study and ponder. These are surface answers, but I think this system is a great way to work with who we are-- Heavenly Father does.

At any rate, I think the key is working with what you've got. But that means you've got to work. As Lorenzo Snow said:
There must be a labor of mind, an exertion of those talents that God has given us; they must be put into exercise. Being enlightened by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, we may get those ideas and that intelligence and those blessings that are necessary to prepare us for the future, for the sceneries that are to come... We have to exert ourselves…. This remaining idle without putting ourselves into action is of no use; if we remain perfectly neutral, nothing is accomplished. Every principle that is revealed from the heavens is for our benefit, for our life, for our salvation and for our happiness.
So, first we must put in the work, then we will be enlightened by the Holy Ghost. It's just as Elder Busche mentions in the video above, "The greatest achievement that can be reached in our lives is to be under the complete influence of the Holy Ghost. Then he will teach us what is really good and necessary to do."

I am grateful for Heavenly Father's relationship with me. I'm grateful for His personalized methods of communication that can reach me, specifically, and strengthen my resolve as well as my confidence in my standing with Him. This life is a beautiful one, brothers and sisters, and whenever I come to re-realize that, it is because I see God a little more clearly in my life--in myself.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bogged Down vs. Getting Going

Hello, all!

I thought I might write about a funk I've been in as of late. These past couple weeks, I've started to notice how frustrated I'll get when I'm not living up to the potential I know I should be. I've written countless posts about changing habits, so this should come as no shock to you that I'm again struggling with finding motivation to keep improving. The problem I'm encountering, however, is that right now, it is so easy to see the extremely large gap between who I am and who I should be. I could make a long list of all the things I'm not doing well (like these blog posts, for example). And I have made these lists, mentally, day after day. I realize that I'm not as kind or charitable as I should be. Not as diligent as I could be. Not as near to my Savior and appreciative of His love as I would be if I kept Him closer to my heart and thoughts.

But this does me no good. And I've realized again and again that God does not motivate us by telling us all the things we aren't doing. Rather, He highlights the good things we are doing and then tells us, "Look at the person you're becoming. Don't give up!" It's difficult, though, to remember that when I've created my own pavilion of discouragement and downtroddenness.

So I'd like to pose a question to those who read my humble posts from time to time:

How do you balance your standing with God? How do you keep from being overwhelmed while still improving yourself?

I'm trying to focus on one thing at a time. I've been trying to be more thoughtful in my scripture study. But then I realize I've been jealous or selfish or frustrated with the people I love and I realize that I'm not particularly good at applying the scriptures I study. And so then I work on being charitable, but that's a never-ending quest I'll always feel like I'm failing. Which then drives me to focus my interactions and work hard on my talents and how I can build up God's Kingdom, but then I may get caught up in my work and stop being so diligent in my scripture study. And the process starts all over again. Do you see how easy it is for Satan to discourage us when we're trying to be perfect all at once?

I guess I need help to quit focusing on the bad things. To stop finding all the reasons that something is not right. But then, I don't want to stop progressing. Perhaps it is a matter of taking one's temperature too much. If I keep analyzing how well I'm doing, I'll probably get discouraged. Right?

At any rate, this post is not one where I've had an epiphany or that I'm trying to share some insight I've learned. Rather, I'd love your thoughts and answers to my cycling problem. I know that God loves me, nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things. So hopefully, I can figure out just a little better how God communicates with us and then develop our relationship from there.