Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lessons from the life of Lance

Lance Armstrong. 
He's become even more well known over the last few years with his scandal of blood doping. (while I know it's illegal, I remember learning about it in detail in my exercise physiology class. It's quite brilliant. and no I'm not endorsing it, but whoever came up with that is genius.)


I'm reading a book right now that has everything to do with his life and the rise and fall of his career. 
It's called Wheelmen.
It's amazing. I can't put it down. 

But I've learned a lesson from Lance. 
Growing up, from the time he was 11, he was competing in kids' triathlon's and everyone could see he was different than everyone else. 
Including himself. He recognized that he was destined for greatness in athletics, and he knew he had a special talent. 
He would blow his competitors out of the water. 
His vision of who he could be propelled him to greatness and helped him be motivated to work hard and reach his potential. 
He thought that because he was so good, he would never have to worry about being beat.

However, there was also a part of that knowledge that early on in his career held him back. 
Because he knew how good he was, he didn't listen to his coaches. 
He HATED being coached. 
In fact, he would get so mad at his coaches, sometimes they feared for their safety 
(Maybe they were weak sauce??)
And because of that attitude, there were races when he lost. Big time. Because he was arrogant and in some ways, complacent.

So. What does this have to do with us???

It is CRUCIAL that we recognize our potential. 
Our potential in every area of our lives, but especially as children of a loving Heavenly Father. 
He loves us so much. 
He has it in each of our blueprints for life to achieve greatness and make a difference.
Eventually to return to Him and have all that He has. 
Can you believe that? Like, that's mind blowing to really grasp mentally.
If we don't understand our potential, we need to pray to understand it. 
And then pray to know how to achieve it, followed by diligent action and hard work. 
Just like Lance did (minus the prayer, he wasn't really religious). 

We can't let that knowledge leave us thinking that because we are great, and have amazing potential, that we are untouchable. 
We can't get complacent and think that because of our great potential and who we are, Satan and the influences of the world (Our competitors) can't touch us, or that we can't be beat. 
We can't disregard our coach's (priesthood leaders, parents, our Savior) advice, or ignore their counsel on how to improve. 
That's where Lance went wrong. 

He was an incredible athlete, there's no doubt.
We are crucial players in God's great plan. 

He, in a lot of ways, is someone who touched a lot of lives, and who helped a lot of people. 
I look up to him for a lot of things he did. 
We have a ton of opportunities to bless the lives of those around us, and to uplift and lighten the load of someone near us. 

He was someone who had great potential, recognized it, and he let it get to his head. 
We have even greater potential in the eternal scheme of things than Lance did on his bike. 

He kicked butt to be successful and reach that potential. 
What are we going to do? 

Knowledge is power. 
Do you have knowledge of your potential? 
Everyday I try to get a better glimpse of mine, and I'm still trying to grasp it. 

I hope that I can take the knowledge I have now of my potential, and let it help me see things even more clearly. In return, use that knowledge to bless others, and to help me be better; instead of letting it get to my head and getting complacent. 

Our potential is really limitless. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A few thoughts on Optimism.......

Optimism is something we hear a lot about in the church.
Be optimistic!
Think positive!
Seek out the sunshine instead of dwelling on the storms!
Be grateful and you will be happy!
Count your blessings!
We hear a number of these types of things from our leaders, friends, and confidants.
And let's be real, there are ALWAYS reasons to be happy. There are ALWAYS blessings to be counted.

But at least for me, it's not easy to always be optimistic. I feel like there are more pieces to the puzzle (as far as happiness) then just being optimistic.
I feel like optimism takes practice. It takes effort to be positive.

How happy would Satan be if we were always miserable like he is? He. Would. Be. Thrilled.

So I know we need to be positive and optimistic, because life really is SO good.
But sometimes things happen.
A failed relationship
No relationship (really though)
A health glitch that was unexpected
Financial Issues
(Insert your trial here)

Maybe it's loneliness, or you don't feel like your prayers are being heard, or something along those lines. 

And sometimes, as hard as you try, you just reach your breaking point. You don't feel like you can be optimistic and happy for one more day. And for me, sometimes after I have a good cry, a good talk with a friend, or a good spiritual experience, I'm ready to be strong again, and seek out the sunshine.

I'm learning more and more to trust in the promises held in the scriptures, and that gives me more reasons to be optimistic.

Here's a couple of my faves:

First - the Lord will strengthen our backs to bear the burdens placed upon them, but He won't always take the burden away. But He will do everything in His power to show us through personal, sacred experiences or through other people that He has not, and will not forsake us.
Second - He will succor us. He will RUN to us in our time of need. He isn't going to casually stroll to our aid, or say that He's too busy making sure His plan is running smooth. He is going to RUN to us the second we are in need of Him, and call for Him.

We have so many reasons to be optimistic. We have so many reasons to rejoice in the life we anxiously accepted before we came here. But it's not easy. At times, I'm queen of negativity.

I know I blogged about this a while ago, but it's amazing how much comfort and optimism The Plan can give us. It's not about what's going on now. It's about the glorious things we are promised if we just do the best we can. If we have faith. If we endure. If we do our very best. If we come to know our Savior. If we are obedient. I learned on my mission that as you are obedient, you WILL be happy. You WILL be able to see the Lord's hand in everything. I wasn't a perfect missionary, and I know other missionaries had more baptisms, BUT, I worked hard, and I was so obedient. And becuase of that, I was blessed with overwhelming optimism, with just a few occasional breakdowns! 

Sometimes I feel like people make life sound so stinkin' easy. And I want to say, "Well guess what, it's not easy." 

Life isn't easy, but it is good. SO good. And when I forget that, I try to think of the future. the blessings Im promised, and I seem to be happier. 

The trials don't go away. The problems don't disappear. Health issues remain unresolved. But we can be happy. We can have hope and faith in the future. 

Optimism doesn't come naturally sometimes. But it's a gift from our loving Heavenly Father when we have it. I'm learning to pray more earnestly for gifts I want, and as I count my blessings, and as I try to be better, I realize how much I have going for me, instead of what's against me. I realize that life is OH so great, and that the bumps and flips just make it that much more enjoyable. 

This has been on my mind all day. 
I know I can work on being more optimistic. 
Because I know things will work out. 
"...Things ALWAYS work out..."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

some days....

sometimes, life just kind of hits the fan, and you're stressed and don't know what to do with you hot mess of a self.

So, today, I'm just going to count my blessings, becuase that always works, yeah?

I'm grateful for a job that is amazing
I'm grateful for good friends who always make me laugh
I'm grateful for the best parents EVER. Like ever ever.
I'm grateful for my testimony
I'm grateful for good leaders
I'm grateful for free t shirts
I'm grateful for my Savior
I'm grateful for fall weather and good books
I'm grateful for steamed carrotts with season all on them (sodium makes everything better yes?)
I'm grateful for BEcky Thomas's recipe for protein balls. De. Freakin. Lish.
I'm grateful for my ward. Oh my, am I grateful for my ward.
I'm grateful for the scriptures
I'm grateful that it's Tod's brithday today and so I get to go eat brownies and not feel bad about it.
I'm grateful for good workouts
I'm grateful for warm baths, heating pads, comfy hoodies, and lots of blankets.
I'm grateful for Utah. Everything about it.
I'm grateful for lots of of things.
I'm grateful for my health.

Today, I'm just remembering that I have SO much to be grateful for.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Timing is the hardest.

I was talking to an old mission companion last night. Possibly one of my three favorite people on planet earth. Literally. I love her SO much and look up to her more than just about anyone. We were companions for 2 weeks, and it was the best two weeks I've ever had.

Anyway.....She popped the question. "So, Witt, how's life in the boy department?"

Me: "Well, it's nonexistent"

Which led us to a conversation that was so real, and so good.

We are both in our mid-ish/late-ish 20's. We've both graduated from college, served missions, and are employed in good jobs. We both feel as if we are at a point in our lives where we are doing more right, living more righteously, and are more prepared for future events than we have been for a long time. (Don't read into that - neither one of us have messed up huge, just have our priorities straight now, and are more focused on the things that make the biggest difference).

And we both want to get married. We both are looking forward to it. And yet we both feel the same way about this situation.

The constant thinking about it, worrying about it, praying for it, direction/pressure about it from our leaders gets old.  Having people ask in all situations about your dating life puts a lot of pressure on you about something that is partly out of your control. And it gets discouraging.

Questions of: What more can I be doing? Where do I need to be? What needs to change? often cross our minds.

Living in an LDS culture, there is a lot of pressure to get married very early, and to have that as our number one priority. And yet, for us, and so many others it hasn't happened. I've lived in Utah for almost a year now and haven't been on one date yet. In fact, haven't even been close to going on one.

And we are both in the same spot. We are thinking about it. We are praying to be open to opportunities, but aren't praying to get married tomorrow. We aren't spending our days wondering when it will happen. I mean, are there days when I do? absolutely. Are there days when I get emotional and discouraged because I'm not married? Yes, way more often then I'd like. But while I'm trying to follow my leaders' counsel, I can't have that as my number one thought process, or else I am disappointed with it.

We are working on us. We are open to options when/if they come. But we've gotten to a point where we are trying to be okay with not being married, and we are trying to be okay with the idea that while we want it to happen, it may not, or it may not for a few years. Timing is the hardest.

I'm glad I'm not the only one at this stage. Being 27, single, and LDS isn't easy. I know people mean well, but just a heads up, PLEASE don't ask me "When are you going to get married??" Because I hate that question, and secondly, would you really like me to give you a date? I can make one up for you of when I'd like it to happen?? I can do that. But realistically, do you really think I know when I'm going to get married. Just sayin'.

I am not going to be that person that is bitter and hates men because she is "old" and not married. I want to be able to enjoy my life regardless of who is in it, and look forward to the day I will be blessed with that companionship, best friend, confidant, cheer leader, husband, and father to our children that I love more than anything. I don't want to chase happiness anymore with this subject and have it rely on whether or not I'm in a relationship. Its NOT easy at times. When all your friends are dating someone/engaged/getting married/etc. you just want to go get a guy and propose to HIM. ok, not really. There are discouraging days, and sometimes a lot of questioning, but I know because of things I've been promised it will happen, at SOME point. Timing is the hardest.

A lot of people "worry" about singles who are over 25. That maybe their priorities are wrong. That maybe they don't care about marriage or don't recognize the importance of it.

Well, for me, let me put your mind at ease:
I'm 27, and just fine.
My priorities are right, and I'm focusing on becoming more like the person I want to marry.
I'm building up a savings, so I can be financially ready for marriage.
I'm trying to enjoy the journey and be happy NOW.
I'm trying to strengthen my relationship with my Savior, so I can be spiritually ready to make the decision when the time comes.
I want to get married more than anything, but just trying not to be preoccupied with it
I'm doing so good, and trying hard to be my best. I have goals I'm accomplishing.
I think my priorities are good.

So....having said all this........any takers????
Just Kidding.