Friday, December 03, 2010

Too Hard on Ourselves

I am the type of person that tends to lean more on the side of justice than mercy. This is not always a good quality trait to have. Especially when it comes to myself. Sometimes I hang justice over my head and tell myself that I'm just not doing good enough, I'm falling short in everything, and completely letting the Lord down and everyone around. I am human, I have weakness, bad habits and things that hold me back in very large ways.

I also know that I have a real and strong desire to do what is right. I really want to be more faithful, be more diligent in my study of the scriptures and the gospel. I really want to have a closer relationship with God and feel his spirit strong in my life all of the time. I want to do what is right, because when I do I experience a happiness I can't find anywhere else.

The problem comes when life happens. I get off track and it becomes a while since I've had a decent scripture study at all, or even opened the scripture for that matter. Or it might have been a while since I have been able to be less concerned with myself and my problems, and selfishly serving and helping someone else. Inwardly I know I should be doing things better, and so I bring out the justice card, and play it.

I start to be really hard on myself... leaving no room for forgiveness, understanding or mercy. I start comparing myself with others, and the perfect person I know I should be. The problem comes, when we don't let any small crack or door open for mercy to enter in. Compassion and understanding with ourselves. Forgiveness, hope and acknowledgement for how far we have come. We tend to close the Lord off completely because we just haven't been good enough, or worthy enough to feel his love, or have a spiritual experience, or let him reach out and put his arm around us and say, hey it's ok. You are trying, and you have good desires.

Reading a friends blog today reminded me of this and I think many women struggle with this in their lives. While thinking about it I was brought back to an experience that I had over a year ago when I was struggling with those moments of discouragement about where we are and where we want to be. I thought I'd share excerpts of my journal entry I wrote then.

"I haven't been keeping up on my scripture study, and I feel like the heavens have been closed of my own making. I feel like I've been trying to do it all on my own and have not been succeeding. I have been failing in every way. Tonight I was just feeling tired and hopeless. Stressed out and wondering how I'm supposed to do it all.

What am I supposed to do?

I felt the need of help from heaven, communication again, inspiration and direction and felt lacking it. I picked up some scriptures off the floor. Flipped it open and found myself in Doctrine and Covenants. I saw section 6 and thought "read this chapter."

It's been a chapter that I have come to love, and have had it give direction many times before, but tonight the message from the Lord was different. Tonight as I read it I felt a loving father and son saying... It's ok. We know your thoughts and desires. We know your tired. We know your stressed. We know your overwhelmed and want to do so much and can't. We love you. The heavens are not closed, and you know that or you wouldn't have opened your scriptures...

It was so what I needed, along with a long heartfelt prayer afterwards.

I wanted to share a few verses though that stuck out, that sunk in my heart and made me realize my father in heaven is fully aware, and he is there wanting to help. He doesn't think less of me, he's not disappointed in me, he wants me to know he understands.

"Seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion; Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded to you, and then shall ye be made rich."

Lately with the stress of finances, and the recession, I have been stressed and feeling a pressure to design to make some money so we can survive. This one just spoke peace to my heart saying... "Don't seek the money... don't worry about the money... worry about the things that really matter, that's all that matters anyway. I'll take care of you. I always have."

"Verily, Verily, I say unto thee blessed art thou for what thou has done; for thou has inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou has hast received instruction of my Spirit.

If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time. Behold thou knowest that thou has inquired of me and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth; Yeah, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of they heart."

This one spoke peace to my soul in telling me that the heavens are not closed. I did what I should - turn to him, and they were opened, they always will be opened. He knows what I'm thinking and going through ... I need to go to him, and when I do I'll recieve instruction. This one gave me peace that to know that even though I have been terrible lately about studying the scriptures, prayers, and having the right attitude and desire to serve, I could still go to him, he will still answer me, and he understands. He wasn't holding it against me, and holding back a spiritual experience or feeling his presence just to teach me a lesson.

"Therefore be diligent; stand by my servant (Beau), faithfully, in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be for the word's sake. Admonish him in his faults, and also receive admonition of him. Be patient; be sober; be temperate; have patience, faith, hope and charity."

Here I heard the council once again to stand behind Beau and support him in ALL things. In whatever aspect the Lord calls him. Be there for him. Counsel with him.

"Behold I do not condemn you; go your way and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you. Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."

This one was one where I just felt overwhelmed with his love. He did not condem me for not going to him lately, for doing it on my own, for abandoning the scriptures, and having trite prayers. He loves me, he's saying it's ok. Do better and move forward. I love you. Trust me.

You never know when you'll have an overwhelming experience like this one. One where tears freely flow. One where you just feel the the love of the Lord, his mercy, his forgiveness, his desire for you to do better, his understanding. What an incredible blessing to have. What a wonderful incredible blessing to have that in this life. To know it and feel it. God loves me. Despite all my weaknesses. He knows my thoughts, he knows my heart, he knows my struggles. He cares. He is there. He completely understands. He wants to help. I need to trust and let him."

We need to stop always beating ourselves us up. We need to remember that we are doing better that we think we are.... but we can always do better. But during the process he is always going to be there, he will help us, he will console us, he will just let us talk, cry, and share our thoughts, he'll put his arm around us and he'll say.... "I know" because he really does know.

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