Thursday, April 2, 2015

Only took an ETERNITY…...

I feel like for the first time in a long time I'm beginning to feel really on top of my life. 
Mentally, Emotionally, Physically, Spiritually. 
I'm just feeling good. Which hasn't been the case for a while. 

I'm still working at the same place. 
I'm in a Master's program, which has given me so much purpose and feelings of confidence. 
I'm in a new living situation. (No roommates!)
Due to the above statement, I'm also in a new ward, which I'm still getting used to. 
I am starting to feel great physically which I haven't REALLY had since before my mission.
Just lots of good things. 

Throughout my journey to get to this point, I have learned some lessons, let me share. 

One made me think of an experience I learned on my mission. We got a member referral to go visit a young woman who was completely inactive but who had been asking about the law of chastity. So we were asked to go teach her. After getting to know her and leaving a generic lesson and commitment, we set an appointment to come back and teach her about the Law of Chastity. Well, we come back, and we knew this girl had some learning disabilities, so we had to teach her clearly and simply. Well, at the end of the lesson, I'm sitting there thinking that we nailed it, and my companion asked "So, after talking with us about the Law of Chastity, what does it mean to be chaste?" She sits there and scrunches up her face like she's thinking, and then she says, "Oh! I know! It means to be followed real fast!!" Face palm. Not CHASED, CHASTE. Bah. 

I left there so frustrated, and then I had the thought come to me, so powerfully from the spirit, "You didn't teach to her needs, or to her level, how would I have taught her?" 

I've kind of relived that in my life recently, only I have been on the end of the one being taught. The Lord is teaching us individually and personally, and the way He teaches, and loves and nurtures you is totally different than He does me. I've felt more than ever before that He knows and loves me individually and is so aware of my needs. He has taught me things individually, sometimes through what Elder Holland referred to as earthly angels, in a way I could understand and grow from. 

The next lesson I have learned is what Elder Holland talked about in his talk "Like a Broken Vessel". When I took off my missionary name badge, I felt as though my whole sense of identity was gone, ripped out of me. A few years after my return, my brother got extremely sick and I spent 18 months worrying and wondering, and losing sleep, and wondering if he was going to live. I found that I had worked myself up so much, that it was hard to find happiness, and in a way, was just in a very discouraged state. 

Elder Holland states: 

While those dealing with [emotional struggles] may feel like a broken vessel, they must remember the vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed…Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven who loves you more than you can comprehend. Faithfully pursue the times tested devotional practices that bring the spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well being. Take the sacrament every week and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. BELIEVE IN MIRACLES. 

Coming from someone who never really understood depression, and what it was, I can say that I have so much more happiness now that I have embraced the struggle, and gotten on top of it. I can say now that I am happier than I have been in a LONG time. I am much less judgmental and more compassionate than I've ever been (though still far from perfect). I understand the Atonement and the power it has. And just as important, I know myself better than I ever have. I know who I am, and I know what I need. There's still things I struggle with as I am queen of perfectionism, but I'm learning to embrace progress and embrace the positive, I'm learning to find balance. 

Physically I'm active and striving to continue to improve. My health is much better (due 100% to way less stress I'm sure). 

I've learned so much the last 9 months, and I wish I could put it all onto paper. It only took an ETERNITY for me to figure out the simple things that some people get immediately I'm sure, but I'm learning. 

One thing that I'm trying to figure out. 
How do you continue to seek to improve, and continue to be better, while still being happy with where you are at? How do you truly love yourself and who you are and yet continue to strive for the things you desire? I have desires that are good and righteous, and will only bring me closer to God, and it's a hard balance to love who I am now, and yet continue to work for the things I know the Lord is willing to bless me with. I don't want to be so consumed with those things, that I'm not happy with where I'm at, and I don't want to be so thrilled with where I am, that I get complacent in striving for the goals and desires I wish for. I kind of go back in forth right now with wanting things (okay, I will say it: marriage and motherhood) and doing things to be prepared for that, and being happy with where I am. It's hard to not look inward and get discouraged. 

But I'm continuing to learn. I'm continuing to grow, and I'm continuing to be more accepting of me, and more faithful and true. 

I'm learning more and more the power and truth behind this quote: 

"Wonderful, glorious things are in store for you, if only you will believe, obey, and endure" 
-President Monson