Done

Ever just felt done? Done with people and relationships? This entire year of 2011 had been a troubled year of broken promises, relationships and the dealing with unexplained illnesses. Today, I took in a deep breath and muttered, “I’m done.”

Just done.

I have found I am more content inside my home, in my favorite sweats, hair in a bun, working on articles, school work or the never-ending manuscript. I love my daycare kids and working on our art projects and taking long walks. What I have come to loathe is the dynamics between groups of people and how and where I fit in. I never really thought about fitting in because my huge ego automatically thinks I do, so I don’t question it. It’s either that-or the hard truth that I don’t really care.

What happens when you are in a ward and the friendships aren’t real? Gossip is everywhere, hypocrisy is spreading, and the friends you thought you had only viewed you as a ‘project’?

A few months ago, a friend and I shared a day together which included lunch and shopping. Nothing specatacular happened, certainly not newsworthy, but of course, one incident has seemed to make the rounds. (Totally G-rated, legal and actually, boring.) I found myself getting my ghetto on last night when accused of something I didn’t do by a very well known pot-stirrer (I’ll never learn with this one!) and today I get a text by the friend that said  she looks back on our day with regret.

That hurt.

It isn’t only the gossip in which has gotten me down. It is also the hypocrisy.  Don’t do something you can’t own up to. You do it, own it. But don’t play it off as if the other people who have done it are less ‘Christian’ than you because they’re not lying about it.

I want to permanently remove myself from my ward. No longer do I feel a part of the ward family and I was quite comfortable with my decision. I began to bemoan the fact that unlike other denominations, I couldn’t just switch to another congregation. Across town. In another state, perhaps.

Of course, my phone rings.

Voice of reason on the other end.

“Take a break,” she says. “I get that. But do not let this rob you of your right to receive your spiritual time on the Sabbath. Don’t let it rob you of your desire to go to church. With or without hypocrites and gossipers.”

In every church, there is going to be your ‘drama’. It’s the Adversary’s way of creating havoc amongst God’s people. I know this, I get it. However, sometimes, even knowing the logic behind it, a person can only take so much before they finally say, “I’m done.”

Elder Harold B. Lee made a comment at a Branch Conference in a small town in Texas in November of 1942 which I stumbled across whilst writing this entry: He  said, “Be kind, forgiving and overlook the faults of others.”

The reality is everyone at one point or another says unkind things about others. (Raising hand! Guilty.) It does feel as if I’m being singled out (big ego) yet, logically, I know this is not true. I know by shifting my focus from this useless crappola of drama and focusing on the Lord and care only what He thinks about me, I’ll be a much happier and content person.

I’m done with the offensive ghetto-smack down attitude wanting to take down whoever pisses me off. It’s not worth it and it is simply not the legacy I want to leave behind.

Does this mean I’m going to be a doormat for people to stomp on? Um,  No.

It does mean I will treat people with kindness, rather than showing offense by things they say (or don’t say) and treat them in such a way that it  will merit their respect, not their fear.

Simply put: I’m done.

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Follow-Up to Post Straight Judgment

In regards to post Straight Judgment, I have received phone calls from a couple of women who were in Relief Society on Sunday. After I left, a lot of the points I brought up in my post were also spoken. The main consensus was we all are struggling with SOMETHING and we are all without sin. As Christians, we are to be loving and judge not. Only God is the final judge and what we know is God is a loving and just god.

In my post, I wrote I too was being judgmental and was very irritated with myself for feeling that way. I also was having a difficult time finding the correct words to express my feelings regarding the subject.

What is important for readers to know is I believe the LDS Church is true and I have a very strong testimony in regards to this. This does not mean I’m perfect and have all the answers, because if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know this is not true. This blog is not intended to argue or debate the teachings of the Church, but to chronicle my journey as a convert who is dealing with a variety of issues-as many people in any religion or faith are. This is my blog and my thoughts, opinions and perspectives.

What I’ve come to appreciate from my own experiences and trials, along with stories shared by readers and friends, is this: heterosexuals also face far greater challenges to live the gospel. Does this mean homosexuals who sacrifice to live the gospel as they understand it are being slighted? I don’t know. What I do know is we can’t possibly know one’s conscience as God knows it. An individual’s relationship with a person’s God is theirs and theirs alone. Selflessness is required of everyone and we should all follow the commandment of “Love One Another” as Christ has loved us. Gay or Straight.

Straight Judgment

 I found myself extremely frustrated in Relief Society, causing me to bow out early. Usually, I’m pretty eloquent, but today, I couldn’t get my words to flow together when commenting. At one point the teacher completely cut me off as I tried to make ‘uh’ and ‘yeah’ into a sentence. I am pretty passionate about today’s lesson and thought I had resolved a lot of things I thought were ‘wrong’ within the Church’s doctrine. Turns out, I’m okay with the doctrine of the church, just not okay with church members’ attitude towards them

Today’s lesson was on chastity.

Chastity is sexual purity. Those who are chaste are morally clean in their thoughts, words, and actions. Chastity means not having any sexual relations before marriage. It also means complete fidelity to husband or wife during marriage.

Back in the early days of my conversion there was a huge concern which  weighed heavily on my mind: “What about the gay thing?”

I have never thought much about  homosexuality. I have gay friends who are dear to me and didn’t feel one way or the other about their lifestyle.  I have always carried the ‘Thou Shall Not Judge” commandment when it came to homosexuality, mainly because I didn’t feel human beings are perfect. My thinking is what makes one sin more detrimental than the other? (If in fact, you believe it is a sin.) I felt that if I became a Mormon,  I would be part of a belief system that said that there was something wrong with the homosexual lifestyle.

It gave me enough of a pause to rethink not only Mormonism, but religion as a whole. One of the reasons why I didn’t want to join a religion, was the fact that religions seem to take on some ‘holier than thou’ stance in which all who are not of that religion are doomed to damnation. And I didn’t believe it was my place to judge anyone when I was far from perfect- Mormon or not.

With that said, so much with the teachings of the LDS Church seemed true and there was no denying I was on the right path.However, I didn’t see how I was ever going to be able to justify homosexuality as being wrong. I do not feel right in saying Joe and Cindy’s relationship is more superior than Brad and David’s or Kelly and Samantha’s when the only difference between them was that Joe and Cindy are of opposite genders and had a piece of paper from the state saying they were “married”.

If God’s law is such  that sexual acts between two people of the same gender are always wrong, even if those same acts might be committed by a heterosexual couple with no problem, it sounded as if God has something against people who are attracted to the same gender and how can that be when we are all created in God’s image?

Today, in Relief Society, all of these thoughts resurfaced as I heard homosexuality mentioned and how wrong it was and detrimental it is to the family unit. It made me nauseous, and whether it was intentional or not, I found the comments to be judgmental and not at all loving.

And at the same time, I was also very much ashamed of the fact, I was judging the commenters for their thoughts because 1) I didn’t agree and 2) I wasn’t allowing my heart to actually hear past what I felt was a judgmental attitude.

My attitude towards chastity and sexuality is each of us should try to understand it humbly and respectfully. Targeting in on homosexuality-especially in a room full of straight people who can’t possibly understand the trials of what being a homosexual is like- is -in my opinion-wrong and not at all what I find to be helpful to one’s hope of salvation.

The thing is-and this is what I keep coming back to- is we each struggle with something. For heterosexuals to smugly promote homosexuals as deviants and they are wrong! wrong! wrong! is NOT what I find to be Christ-like behavior.  I can’t find the logic in how that is okay.

I doubt I ever will.

We all will stand before our God one day and have to be accountable for our actions. When it comes to being Christ-like and living in love and kindness, we do not get to say, “Hey, it’s all good!  I’m straight.” as a reason to justify our own sins.

“With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother: Let me pull the mote out of thine eye—and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (3 Nephi 14:2-5).

Temptation

I don’t know what it is, but when you’re struggling within your faith, it seems as if Heavenly Father reaches out to you more. The thing is-and this is vital-you have to be willing to listen. He knows your heart and knows what is going on with you. You may not understand it-but He does.

I’m struggling. Not just with spiritual things but in all things. I wonder when the things of the past few years that have crippled my mind, body and spirit will come to an end and I can walk away with some appreciation of the lesson(s) learned.

During this time, one of the things  I think I’m supposed to be learning is being more equipped to resisting temptation. I’m an impulsive person. I like to say I go by instinct, but the truth is… it is more out of my own selfishness.

What is temptation?

The word “temptation” is from the Latin root word tentare, to try or to test, its meaning deeply rooted in Judaism and the Old Testament.

 

Temptation is based on lies and distortion. It is an incitement to sin.  It is a confusing concept because on one hand, we  hear temptation as a good thing. Advertisers use this word to get consumers to buy what they’re selling. Here’s something else in which boggles my mind when it comes to temptation: we’re made in the image of God so we naturally desire goodness and beauty, however, what we may forget is we’re also prone to sin and we’re easily tricked. It is naturally easy for us to accept the appearance of goodness, to embrace it and want to be it, especially if it we think we have found an easier and painless way to achieve it. We want instant gratification.

Temptation is not itself however, sin.

I read somewhere once that those who find themselves beset with temptation on all fronts can probably consider themselves called to prayer and service even more. I know in my own life it is only when I’ve let down my guard or succumb to laziness when the urge to resist the temptations that are sinful is difficult. It is easier to do what is wrong without trying to do what is right.

Pride leads to sinful temptations

My short-term memory is damaged due to illness and this has caused many problems in my relationships. Mainly because of my own pride in not telling people that hey, I don’t always remember what the heck we talked about yesterday, so if I were to meet you somewhere-and didn’t- it is because of not remembering. This has led many to believe I’m not a good friend or not dependable, when it reality, it isn’t the case. I’ve been tempted to lie to cover up this problem and actually have. Pride is another virtue in which can lead to the temptation of sin.

This is what I know: When we decide (and we must decide this!) to live a life of building our faith by praying for strength and wisdom, see evil for what it is, and desire to have the clarity to be virtuous we will be equipped to see beyond the appearances of what seems to be good. We will be wise enough to see beyond the enticing promises of sugar-coated ‘easiness’ and sinful desires.

Be tempted to do good

We also need to remember that being children of God and wanting to serve Him will never be easy. When we have decided (again, it is a decision!) to diligently serve our Heavenly Father, the attacks from the adversary will be relentless. To conquer sinful temptation we need to be humble and trust in God. Let us not be arrogant and feel we are too confident to ask Heavenly Father for help to avoid sinful temptation.

Be tempted to always pray, to study our scriptures, to do good in our community, to love one another-even our enemies-strive to succumb to the good temptations.

Rely on God, not religion

Religion is not your safeguard. I don’t care what religion you are. The relationship you have with your God is your safeguard. Relying on Him-and not the practices of your religion-is of the utmost importance. Don’t get me wrong here-I’m not saying religion is a bad thing-I’m only saying it can’t be the ONLY thing and it cannot replace your relationship with God.

Accepting it will never be easy

Avoiding situations where the temptation to sin is great, should be a no-brainer. It isn’t rocket science, but still we will always struggle. It is in our nature not to want to miss out on what seems to be fun and an exciting time. Not allowing ourselves to fall into situations to begin with is the easiest way to go…

But whoever said life was going to be easy?

 

Living for Good

I haven’t written in a while because life has gotten in the way of my blogging. It happens. I have found my life as a writer has taken me on a different course, which has made blogging difficult. This isn’t all together a bad thing, just means I’ll be blogging in spurts.

I’ve mentioned this before in a previous entry, however, I am compelled to write about it again. “Doing bad, never leads to good.” This  has been proven true in my life many times, even when the ‘bad’ isn’t necessary intentional.

As an alcoholic, there is always that want, that need, to have a drink, especially when life is freaking hard. I don’t like to admit it, but I love the feeling of having an escape from reality, whether it be with alcohol or prescription drugs. Life sucks, so make it better with a drink or seven. That was my motto. That’s how I thought. And sometimes I find myself thinking, “Why not?”

Here is the truth: Nothing good has ever came out of my drinking. NOT ONE THING. I have never woke up from a night of drinking and thought, “Wow, that was amazing.” I’ve only felt guilt and shame. Humiliation. I’m the drunk that has to have everyone know she’s drunk-which again, never leads to anything positive.

We’ve all heard the scripture in which we are told we cannot slave for two masters. This is something I  keep telling myself. Either I succumb to life as a drunk or I live my life as the daughter of God in the way He meant for me.

Last month’s visiting teaching message was that Latter Day Saint women recognize their strength comes from the Lord’s atonement and they will not give up during difficult times.

I’m proud to be a Latter Day Saint woman, because I know no matter how many times I trip or fail, I’ll never give up.

 

Priesthood Blessings and Joy

I caught a glimpse of my face in the mirror this morning, and my haggard appearance made me want to gag. It also reminded me of how fatigued and achy I am. Most disturbingly, my usual optimistic mood had been already been replaced by something darker and pessimistic.

The last few weeks I’ve been dealing with medical issues. This past weekend it seemed to grow prominently worse. Being one who does not like  to ‘slow down,’ this new change in my life only brings out the worst in me. I don’t like for anything to change my schedule, do not like sympathy, and do not like to be viewed as anything other than capable. So you can imagine that dealing with any type of illness is somewhat of a buzz kill in my life.

Yeah, I know. Pride, much?

After a few freak-outs in my head (only because I was too tired and sick to freak out on anyone in person) it finally dawned on me to ask for a blessing.

It has been over a year since I’ve received any type of blessing. I hate to impose on anyone and whilst my logical mind knows better, this not wanting to ask for help is not in any way helping my situation. (Again! With the pride!)

After a moment of prayer, I received some clearing of the negative debris covering my mind. A sense of peace and clarity filled my soul. It became clear that not only did I want a blessing, but I needed a blessing!

A priesthood blessing is sacred. It can be a holy and inspired statement of our wants and needs. If we are in tune spiritually, we can receive a confirming witness of the truth of the promised blessings. Priesthood blessings can help us in the small and great decisions of our lives. If, through our priesthood blessings, we could perceive only a small part of the person God intends us to be, we would lose our fear and never doubt again. ~President James E. Faust

Priesthood Blessings

Wanting healing through prayer is not in conflict with  the miracles of medical science from one’s life. (It shouldn’t be.)  Brigham Young would ask those who asked for healing through a blessing, “Have you used any remedies?” When the individual would reply no because “we wish the Elders to lay hands upon us,” President Young replied: “That is very inconsistent according to my faith. If we are sick, and ask the Lord to heal us, and to do all for us that is necessary to be done, according to my understanding of the Gospel of salvation, I might as well ask the Lord to cause my wheat and corn to grow, without my plowing the ground and casting in the seed. It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and [then] to ask my Father in Heaven … to sanctify that application to the healing of my body.”  (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe (1954), 163.)

D&C 90:24 tells us to pray always and so whilst we are using wisdom and faith simultaneously, we should not deny ourselves the blessings God has bestowed to us, especially when it is because of pride.

The Apostle James taught that we should “pray one for another, that ye may be healed,” adding, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). When the woman who touched Jesus was healed, He told her, “Thy faith hath made thee whole” (Matthew 9:22). 3 Similarly, the Book of Mormon teaches that the Lord “worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men” (Moroni 10:7). ~Dallin H. Oaks

Last night, after 8pm, two members of the Priesthood from my Ward, came to my house and gave me a blessing. It wasn’t earth shattering, the walls didn’t shake, the Heavens did not open, nor did I instantly feel better. What did happen was that I immediately felt at peace, my fear of what is wrong disappeared and the worry I felt about my doctor’s appointment today vanished.

This morning, I feel better. Not 100%, but better, mostly due in part of feeling at peace and some of that negativity I allowed to erode my mind is gone.

My husband also got to witness the experience for the first time. This is a miracle in and of itself.

One of things I’ve learned since my conversion is this: Joy is something vastly different from happiness. It’s different from the surface of physical comfort. In my opinion, joy is divinely inspired and goes with the flow of our emotions. It’s a constant contentment during the most troubling of times. It doesn’t go away when we are facing challenges, yet because we mistake joy for happiness, we may feel we are joyless. My discontent in being sick made me think all the joy in my life had been sucked out of my life, but the truth is, my life is joyful. Before my conversion when things seemed to be the worst that they could be, there was not anything to bring me back to the feeling of love my God has for me. Now, I feel His love, and also the joy of knowing how intense and true that love is. Where there was once a sense of bleakness…there is now joy.

The more we know of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, the more joy we will have, no matter the circumstance. A friend once told me that life does not have to be easy to be joyful and I took her words for granted, not understanding the depth of truth she spoke.

I understand now.

When Life Isn’t Good

There is this common assumption that when you turn your life over to God… everything will be good. Life will somehow be easier and temptations will be easy to resist because you? Well, you’re a warrior for Jesus! Nothing can touch you!

Let’s take a minute right here to chuckle. A real Har de har har.

I’ll admit, when I turned my life over to God, I did think things would be easier. Compared to the life I used to lead, I guess it is. However, if anything, things became more difficult as I tried to conform to a Christian lifestyle whilst still being me.

Bad news can hit you in all directions and sometimes before you’re able to recover from one, you’re hit with another equally troubling circumstance. It’s easy to think, “Well, gee God, what’s up? Where’s the love?”

Sometimes our troubles are from our own doing.

And sometimes life just really seems to suck.

I don’t claim to have all the answers. What I do have is an undying faith that whilst I’m tripping over my feet trying to get to the finish line, I know with every ounce of my being that my Savior is there waiting with His hand to carry me over the finish line.

Without my faith, I couldn’t function. I wouldn’t even begin to appreciate a sense of future relief. I don’t believe only because it brings comfort-I believe because not believing doesn’t occur to me. Faith is strong, even when my heart and mind is weakened by life’s circumstances.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. ~Psalm 34:18

When Your Spouse Doesn’t Believe

When I converted to Mormonism in 2009, it was to the disbelief and discouragement of many friends and family. None more so than my husband who was adamantly against my joining the church. When I first began studying with the missionaries, he didn’t say much, until he saw I was regularly attending church and talked about getting baptized. And then…

Well, he had a lot to say.

There were fights. A lot of them. At first he told me I was not allowed to go to church– which if you have known me for at least two seconds you would know how well that went. In fact, our marriage up to that point had been more than a partnership. We were a team. Neither of us told the other what to do and we each were confident with the other person. I felt I wasn’t doing anything different…as long as he had known me I had a thirst for spiritual knowledge and he had never not known me to study spiritual books or attend some type of church. He always said he knew what he was getting into when he married me…that Jesus was an important factor in my life. My joining a church shouldn’t have brought on the marital discord that it did.

To say it was bad is an understatement. He began to search anti-Mormon sites on the Internet, but as an atheist, he couldn’t find anything that didn’t dispel the church without bringing attention to a God. Finally, he laid down the law and said I could go to ‘that church’ if I wanted, but under no circumstances would he allow his children to attend. Period.

When I joined my very small ward, I came in with a lot of drama and fanfare. Not only did I accept the teachings of the gospel and felt like a lifelong Mormon, I did it loudly, something of which is not in my nature. A lot of people knew about the problems with my husband not allowing the children to attend and took it in stride. Maybe they’d seen it before…but being that I had been married to this man for ten years and had never been treated this way, it was a tough pill to swallow.

Things in our personal life were starting to unravel and the one person I had always leaned on wasn’t emotionally available to me. I felt stranded.

In August of 2009, I fell into such a deep depression I didn’t get out of bed for two weeks. I had my husband drive me to the hospital and drop me off at the front door. That speaks volumes towards how our relationship was then…it was to such a point I didn’t even want him walking in with me.

I was admitted into the hospital and for eleven days I had to put my faith entirely into Heavenly Father’s hands. I never prayed so hard and so much. My husband saw the visits from members of my ward stop by daily and I saw how this touched his heart. These people barely knew me, yet without judgment and without calling attention to their actions, they loved me enough to visit. They brought dinners to my husband and children. They called. He was overwhelmed with the kindness of strangers and this started the beginning of changing his heart and mind towards the church.

It didn’t happen overnight. There were hurdles and I foresee many more. When I took out my endowments a year in a half later, he wasn’t happy. (Again, major understatement.) He still calls my garments “magic underwear.”

He is still an atheist. We compromised and the children are allowed to attend church when they want to and neither of us are supposed to encourage them either way. I’ll admit this is difficult for me because I know the importance of the Sabbath. Whenever I think how difficult this compromise is…my mind goes back to two years ago and I remember things are a huge improvement.

My husband’s good friends are LDS. When my home teachers visit, he sits and listens to the discussion. The other day when my visit teachers came over, he pulled out the piano bench to listen. I’ve even caught him reading an article or two in the Ensign.

When your spouse doesn’t share your faith, it is a painful burden to carry. Yet, we must remember we all have our own individual spiritual journeys and even though you’re married, you won’t always travel down the same path. I can’t change my husband, nor can I change his heart, only Heavenly Father can and it is in faith and love I turn it over to Him.

When your spouse doesn’t share your faith or believe in God, these words of encouragement will hopefully help you as they have for me:

  • Pray: Prayer is the most powerful weapon to safeguard any marriage, especially one in which there is an unbelieving spouse. Pray and ask God to soften your spouse’s heart and bind the adversary’s control over his/her life. When I pray for my husband, I imagine I’m holding him up for God’s viewing and ask to open my husband’s heart so he can see how real our God is and how much God loves him. Never stop praying. (1 Thess. 5:17)
  • Stay Encouraged, Not Discouraged:Things do not always happen when we want them to occur. Do not get discouraged and give up on your spouse. If I had walked away from my marriage two years ago, I would have missed out on the blessings I have seen regarding my husband’s heart. I believe there are still more to come! You must remember your spouse has free agency and will respond to Heavenly Father’s revelation of his/her own free will.
  • Witness without a Word: Constantly nagging and preaching the Word of God isn’t working, so why not try something different? You can surely bet your spouse is watching you. You can witness without a word by practicing what you preach. Don’t stay home from church to sleep in, read your scriptures, and remember your own conduct and be an example.

  “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD” ~Psalm 27:14

His Glory and not Our Own

A few days ago I was studying my Scriptures and I started to feel antsy. My mind began to wander about how little I do in the Church and how unfulfilled I feel when it comes to doing things within our ward. I found myself dwelling on the fact that if only I could do this and this and oh yeah this then I’d be spiritually uplifted.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m walking an uphill battle in regards to spiritual things within my family and what I feel is important to help me grow spiritually in my ward. I find myself irritated with the thought that the entire universe is working against me.

As my mind was having this conflicted pity party, I suddenly had this thought that the adversary is working to lure people away from our Heavenly Father by placing these obvious great ideas in our heads. These great ideas that seem harmless and spiritual aren’t always working for the greater good…but to our own spiritual detriment.I believed this was what was happening to me.

Wait…what? How could something holy with positive actions NOT be good for our spiritual growth?

It happens easily and sometimes without us even noticing. I’ve witness it time and time again. Callings given to people sometimes take over their identity and they feel as if their calling defines them as a person. There are parents and spouses hardly seeing their children and sweethearts because of their over-involvement in church activities which they feel is bringing glory to God.

But is it really?

As a convert, I know this isn’t strictly within our faith, I’ve seen it in other religions. I know the over involvement in church activities isn’t always a good thing if you’re doing it without your family members. I know the adversary works on me continuously as I use my writing and speaking engagements to share the gospel with others. This isn’t a bad thing, yet if I allow it, I can be lured down a path of faux holiness. In my busy moments to do ‘God’s work’ I can become edgy and temperamental when interrupted by family members because I’ve convinced myself it was going to bring so much glory to God. I want to simply be left alone to do what I want- which if I’m honest with myself- isn’t really what God wants for me or my family.

With my natural disposition to be busy, it is easy for the adversary to have me focus on some big project and neglect the people I love in the pretense of doing God’s work.

So what are we as Christians supposed to do?

Heavenly Father is a loving and gracious father and He has set for us clear and easy instruction for our daily lives. We know Heavenly Father would never have us do anything that would mean being neglectful to our spouses and children. He would never have us involved in spiritual activities in which we are beginning to feel resentful towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we feel as if these things are taking over our spiritual work, it is time to evaluate what we’re doing and make sure we’re doing it for the right reasons.

Leaning on Heavenly Father and giving Him complete control over my life has allowed me to be sensible in deciding which duties I’m involved in. The moments in which I have felt frustrated with ward members-and even God- were the times in which I was trying to glorify myself. I’ve also noticed when I’m thinking of only myself when involved in projects, it is those projects that usually never work out. Yet, when I’m obedient to God’s instruction and work my projects in accordance to His word, I’m astounded to see His hand opening more doors for me.

Remaining obedient to God when deciding on what projects to accept has been completely liberating. I’m not plagued with the thoughts that I’m not doing enough in service. I’m doing what I’m capable of doing and keeping harmony in my family life. I also know the difference between ‘holy’ inspirations and ‘selfish’ ones. Having the inspiration to read my Scriptures instead of playing on Facebook or even doing the dishes has never been a disappointment. If anything it makes cleaning the house or doing the most mundane tasks later a bit less daunting.

I’ve found a sense of peace in understanding God’s commands in my life and by doing His work for His glory (and not my own) my family and I will continually be blessed.

 

Dealing With Anger

I’ve been pondering over the subject of anger. I’m not sure if most of my issues with anger comes from the fact that deep down I’m really a spoiled child with Puerto-Rican genes or I’m just a naturally selfish person. My tendency towards becoming frustrated seems to be geared from not getting my way which often leads to anger.

We are down to one car right now as our truck has decided to go into a coma. It’s been a rough week, because I’m completely home bound. I’ve taken to long walks with toddlers-which let me tell you- is fun for about two minutes. Yesterday, it took an hour for us to even make it out the front door and by the time we made it to the Stop sign at the end of the road, I was cursing my husband in my head for not having our vehicle repaired in what I felt a timely manner. In no time, I was miserable… overcome by a state of disquiet and agitation.

Having four kids of my own, dealing with babies and toddlers all day,  running my writing business, attending school, and still maintaining the role of a good wife, often puts me in situations in which I feel out of control and unable to orchestrate things MY way. Having a serene disposition during the times of aggravation would be wonderful…but seems (to me) an unrealistic fantasy.

But it isn’t…

I was compelled to study and meditate this subject, not only for the good of myself, but for my family. (When Mom ain’t happy-ain’t NO ONE happy!)

The wonderful and inspirational President Gordon B. Hinckley wrote in the November 2007 issue of Ensign:

“Anger is the mother of a whole brood of evil actions.”

Think about that for a second: Anger is the mother of a whole brood of evil actions. How many times have we argued with a person out of anger, saying things we would only regret later? Anger stems from our own imperfections and frailty and by engaging with the devil of anger it becomes easier for it to embrace and overpower us. Rational becomes invisible and we can’t see past our own emotions/anger.

We may be justified in being angry. However, it is our behavior from being angry in which we need to take precaution. My anger over not having a working vehicle wasn’t justifiable anger. Frustrating, yes. Anger towards my husband for not having the vehicle fixed in the time frame I wanted…totally unjustifiable. (I know! I was distraught about this truth too!)

Discerning the truth during the heat of an angry moment by asking Heavenly Father to open our hearts and eyes to the truth of why we are angry can be the first step in dealing with frustrating moments. Being aroused by anger, not calling on God for aid, will be as if we were throwing ourselves into stormy waters. We won’t know if we’ll drown or end up somewhere foreign. The end result is questionable, but always unpleasant.

Making sure I schedule time in my day for prayer and meditation insures having a peaceful mind. Clearing the debris of chaos and strife from my heart and soul insures I’ll be slow to anger and frustration. This isn’t an easy fix, it is a daily struggle to remain calm during the most difficult of times. However, placing all of my trust in God softens the blow. I know I’m not doing it all alone.

I can’t think of a better way to end this article by using a quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley who wrote: “So many of us make a great fuss of matters of small consequence. We are so easily offended. Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way” [November 2007 Ensign, Slow to Anger]

Resources:

Slow to Anger

Proverbs 16:32; Matthew 5:43–44; 11:15–17; Ephesians 4:31–32; Colossians 3:8; James 1:19–20; 2 Nephi 1:26; 3 Nephi 11:29–30; Doctrine and Covenants 60:2; 63:32; 84:24.

“Anger is [used] to control others. Some people have learned this art very well. They get what they want by becoming loud and angry. … Anger thus has the unrighteous goal of attempting to diminish the freedom of others” (Burton C. Kelly, “The Case Against Anger,” Ensign, Feb. 1980, 10).

“Jesus set the example in personal conduct regarding anger when, although he had been falsely accused and made the subject of railings and mockery, he stood majestically and completely composed before the perplexed Pontius Pilate. He did not retaliate in anger. Rather, he stood erect, poised, unmoved. His conduct was divine. What an example for all of us!“Listen to these marvelous words of the Savior, the master teacher:“ ‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.“ ‘But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ (Matt. 5:43–44.)” ( Elder ElRay L. Christiansen, who was an Assistant to the Twelve, Conference Report, Apr. 1971, 28; or Ensign, June 1971, 38).