My Two Words

The other day, my family and I were asked “If you could describe Christ’s gospel in 2 words what would they be?” I don’t know why, but this question was so hard for me to answer. There are so many words to describe Christ’s gospel. My family each took turns responding to the question and my mind was still blank. It is hard to put into two words something that is so important to you.

I responded to the question by saying “a path”, but as I think about it more, I wish I would’ve responded with the two words “My life.”

My life is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I live the gospel. Even during the times that I am struggling with commandments, or doubting God, I am still living the gospel because I am exercising the gift to choose and am applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ into my life.

We each have our downfalls, our struggles, our desires, our weaknesses, but He helps us understand that we can find strength. That we can find hope. That we can find true JOY.

I wish I could’ve answered differently because “a path” is just too simple of an answer. It doesn’t describe really how much this gospel means to me. But, I think that describing the gospel as “My Life” adds so much more understanding of what the gospel means to me.

I am beginning to study more about my Savior. I am really trying to understand him better. There have been times in my life where I felt like I knew him very well, but lately I have so many questions about Him that I am trying to figure out for myself.

I am so grateful for the knowledge that I do have about Christ. Every time I learn about him, I realize how great of a person he is. How perfect, loving, caring, and selfless he is. When I think about Christ I think about how he has changed “my life” and how he has helped me want to make “my life” better.

I truly wish that I could’ve changed the two words that I chose. I wish I could’ve expressed to those missionaries what the Gospel of Jesus Christ means to me. Because, the gospel truly is my life and I am eternally grateful for it.

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Discovering a Part of Me

So there I was, in Barnes and Noble, staring at all of the titles in the Psychology section. I wanted to purchase every one and just sit and read them. I have always loved to read. When I was younger, if you asked my family where I was, they would say that I was downstairs in my room, reading. In fact, one of my favorite memories was when I would come home from school, and the next book in my favorite series would be laying on my bed with a cute note from my mom in it. This has happened on multiple occasions and it meant so much to me. I have always loved to read, and it wasn’t till this particular book that I realized something. I am an introvert.

I have always thought that I was an introvert, but I never truly believed it. Until recently, I thought that introverts were people who hated being around other people. And, I don’t hate being around people. I love each persons story and energy that they bring to the world.  I thought that introverts are like all of the really weird cat ladies, but it turns out I was totally wrong. I got the book “The Secret Lives of Introverts” by Jenn Granneman from Barnes and Noble and I learned so much.

First, I learned that I am an introvert and that introverts like people. Introverts just get overstimulated when they are around major groups of people for long periods of time. When I read about that, I felt the fireworks go off in my head. I realized that I am not the only one who experiences this.

I have always felt so guilty for not really wanting to go out and socialize with people that I do not know. I have such a hard time in big groups of people, even if its family. I think it is all the energy in the room or maybe its the small talk that I absolutely hate, but I just would rather be at home. Often I would come home after spending time with lots of people and just feel exhausted. My mom always says that she has more energy after being with people, but I have never had that happen to me with large groups of people.

My parents have been worried about me and my social life since we have moved. Even throughout High School I never really did anything with any of my friends because I had just seen them all day at school and spent 2 hours with them at practice. I never really had energy to do anything after that. Now, I am finishing college, getting ready to start my first year of teaching, balancing a long distance relationship, family and trying to keep myself sane. I am already exhausted, I can’t imagine what would happen if I tried to attend a social event every night… But, I learned that I am okay the way that I am. This is normal for people who are introverts like me.

I have always thought I was a home body, and I am, but I also realized that I am at home so much in the evenings, because I get overstimulated after spending a whole day working with big groups of people in school and I need to recover so I can make it through the next day. And guess what? It is totally okay that I am that way. I don’t need to feel the guilt anymore.

After reading this book, I have figured out so many WHY’s behind why I do the things I do. I loved learning that other introverts have the same problem I do. I learned why people often have a different idea of who I am when they first meet me. Often when people that I have known for a while tell me about what they thought of me when they first met me, they all same the same thing “I was intimidated by you” or “I thought you hated me” or “I thought you were going to be really mean, but you aren’t”. Turns out, many introverts have this same problem.

I promise that even though I am 6 feet tall, I like to think that I am not too scary. I don’t hate anyone really, and I am not usually mean. But, I have my moments. But, when you first see me, or even if you have seen me multiple times, I probably have the same look on my face. It’s my concentrating look, but often people view it as a really mean looking face. I promise, when I am mad, you really will know, but most of the time I really am just constantly in thought. I am always thinking and concentrating on something. Whether it is about what I need to do that day, or what I could do to be a better person, or even how the moon became shaped to look like a face. Really, I am always thinking about something and trying to make it make sense. Maybe that is why I like Psychology so much.

Anyways, I just wanted to share this book and the things that I learned from it, because I think there is someone else out there, like me, who has been trying to figure out the bits and pieces of who they are. Maybe they haven’t been able to figure it out and need a little bit of inspiration.

I am just starting to discover the parts that make up who I am, and why I am the way that I am, but it all leads back to one thing.

I am a child of God. He loves me. He created me as an introvert and my many other qualities because he knew that was what the world needed. I have always loved the saying that, God made this world. Everything beautiful, and everything with a purpose. How great is it that he looked at the world and thought that we needed one of you?

There is so much truth in that. Each of us have those things that we are learning about ourselves. Maybe we are even frustrated with ourselves because we aren’t like the other people that we know. But, God didn’t intend for us to be like that. Instead, he wants us to use our gifts, or personality, our genetics, our thoughts, our ideas, our words, to make a difference in the lives of others.

What is a way that you can turn OUTWARD this week and use yourself, ALL OF YOU to help someone else?

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It Is NEVER Too Late

During church last Sunday, a sister gave her talk on our self worth. She did an amazing job, and I felt the spirit so strongly. But, what meant the most to me is a quote that she shared from a talk by Jeffery R. Holland. It goes like this:

“I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness… but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have NOT traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”

He continues on to say:

“There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. ‘Come boldly to the throne of grace,’ and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast ‘without money and without price’ at the table of the Lord.”

How much hope does this bring to you? Think about that. Reread it.

This brings me immense hope. Because it reminded me that no matter how far lost I feel I can turn to the Lord. That no matter what I have done, the Lord is still there. It is so true. He is beckoning for us. He is waiting with his arms wide open. He is knocking at the door. He is by our side.

All we have to do is want His help.

All we have to do is recognize that He is there and turn to Him.

What an amazing blessing it is to have the Atonement of Jesus Christ. How great is it that we know that there is someone who UNDERSTANDS EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH. He knows what it feels like to be right where we are. He knows how much we may want something, or are sad about something, or are disappointed. He KNOWS, and he UNDERSTANDS.

The main message that I wanted to leave today is to invite you to turn to the Lord and join him. To leave a message of HOPE that everything will work out and that He is there for us.

I love my Savior and know that he loves us unconditionally.

The talk mentioned in this post is titled The Laborers in the Vineyard by Jeffery R. Holland. It was given in the April 2012 General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

My Ponderize Scripture

I love my ponderize scripture for this week. Already I have learned so much. This week I chose to follow along with the Book of Mormon Monday video and chose the verse Alma 32:25.

It says:

“For I do not mean that ye all of you have been compelled to humble yourselves; for I verily believe that there are some among you who would humble themselves, let them be in whatever circumstances they might”.

There are many reasons why this verse stood out to me and why I want to learn more about it.
1. I feel like I could do so much better at humbling myself before the Lord.
2. I think about the times in my life that I have felt humility and often I was compelled to be humbled.
3. I want to learn how to humble myself in whatever circumstances.

Humility is something that I have always struggled with it. Ever since I was little, I have always done things by myself. So much so, that when I was in Kindergarten, I was the Red Hen in the Little Red Hen play and one of my lines was “I will do it by myself”. My family jokes around with me a lot over it because it has been so true.
It takes a lot for me to realize that I need help and to reach out and ask for it. I don’t know why. So humility and realizing that I can’t do it all by myself and that I need the Lord is always something that I am looking to develop.

I hope to one day feel like I don’t have to do it all on my own. I hope that I can truly let go of the burden that I carry and give it to the Lord.

I think this scripture is one that will help me. As I ponderize verse 25 this week, I am going to be thinking about what I can change in my life so that I can be humble in any circumstance. I am going to study the word Humble and look for verses all throughout scripture that can teach me more. But, most importantly, I am going to turn to the Lord, pray for humility, and seek to find ways to let him hold the reigns for a while.

I love that the Lord and our loving God have given us the scriptures. They are my light in the darkness and my guide down the confusing path.

I hope that you pick a scripture this week that you can ponderize and apply into your life.

Check out my Facebook page for the Book of Mormon Monday video!

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HOW TO: Ponderize Scripture

What is Ponderizing?

Devin G. Durrant said “The word ponderize is not found in the dictionary, but it has found a place in my heart. So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.”

When I first heard Brother Durrant’s talk, I jumped on board with the Ponderizing challenge. I have since stopped because I let life get too bus. But, as I have been thinking about what I am needing to incorporate into my life, I was reminded of Ponderizing and have decided that I need to start again.

There are two simple steps:

Durrant says “First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day.
Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week.”

I liked to put my scripture verse in my car, but you could put your scripture on the fridge, on the lock screen of your phone, on your computer desk top, on you desk, wherever you are most likely to see it the most.

I wish I would’ve stuck with Ponderizing longer than I did. I remember when I was thinking about my scriptures, and trying to apply them in my life, I remember the strength I got to fight against the Adversary and fill my mind with good versus the bad.

Ponderizing happens in those simple steps.

  1. Find a verse of scripture every week, and find a place where you will see it.
  2. Read, study, think about the verse and why it is important.

Seriously, how hard is that?

Durrant finished his talk by saying “I promise you will not regret writing a verse of scripture on your mind and heart each week. You will experience a feeling of perpetual spiritual purpose, protection, and power.
Remember the words of Jesus Christ when He said, “’Do the things which ye have seen me do.”’

I hope that you will take the challenge to ponderize a new scripture every week. I know that you will find spiritual strength as you do so! 🙂

Devin G. Durrant “My Heart Pondereth Them Continually” https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/my-heart-pondereth-them-continually?lang=eng

PONDERIZE

Embracing

The definition of embrace is to “accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically”. Lately I have been wondering about this word. Embrace.

I wonder if we can truly embrace ourselves. Can we accept or support ourselves willingly and enthusiastically?

I think that sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We know our faults. We know our wrongdoings. We know the things that we have within ourselves that we don’t like about other people. So how do we embrace all of that?

For me, it is hard for me to embrace myself. To willingly and enthusiastically accept who I am and what I am like. It is hard for me to be okay with the things I wish I could change.

It is hard for me to accept that I am a control freak, and when I can’t plan something it drives me insane. It is hard for me to accept that I have a problem having fun, because I worry and obsess over all the work that I could be doing.

I often wonder how I can embrace myself. Embrace the things that bug me the most about myself.

I often wish that I could do more things spur of the moment. That I could be someone who like to do things that are fun. Instead I like to do the same things. I like to spend time at home, cuddling with my favorite blanket, and the same routine.

I wish I didn’t have so much self doubt. I wish that I had the self confidence that I had when I was in high school and didn’t have a care or anything to lose.

Can I embrace the parts of myself that I wish I could change? I honestly don’t know.

All I do know is how different and better I feel when I let all of it go. When I let the desire of wanting to be different go and instead fill that void with the love for myself and for who I am. It is by embracing who I am, instead of who I am not that I am able to find the joy.

In our lives, it is easy to notice the things that we are not. It is easy to lose ourselves in our insecurities and doubts. But, that is not a fun way to live. Take it from someone who battles with those feelings every day.

That is why I have found that letting go and surrendering my negative feelings has provided so much help for me. I am able to realize that I love who I am and that I don’t need to change.

I have to admit though, the change doesn’t happen over night. Obviously since I am thinking about it right now you can tell that it is something that I am constantly having to let go.

But, it is possible. The gradual changes provide happiness and light into my life. This can happen for you too. Experience those feelings of things that you desire would change and let them go. Replace them with positive emotions. Love for yourself, Courage to embrace who you are, and Peace with where you are at.

This truly is powerful. I cannot say this enough. Embrace yourself. Love yourself and you will find JOY.

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1 Year After…

It has been an exact year since I have been home from serving an LDS mission in Edmonton, AB, Canada. There have been so many ups and downs during this year of being home. I had no idea that it would be this hard on me spiritually, mentally, and physically but also so rewarding.

There are a lot of expectations within the church for LDS missionaries. You are expected to serve the 18 months if you are a woman or the 2 years if you are a man. During this time you are expected to live a higher law and return better than you left and continue to stay holy and righteous. You are expected to get married and to start a family, or if that is not your path, you are expected to be excited to go to a young adult singles ward.

I really don’t like expectations. Especially these ones because I literally didn’t accomplish any of them. I did not serve for 18 months, I only served for a little over 5. I came home really spiritual, but did not keep up on the things needed to stay that way. I did not get married or start a family, and I have not been a super great sport about going to my YSA ward.

So in my mind, for this past year, I felt like I had failed in so many ways. I have dealt a lot with so many internal struggles and have faltered spiritually along the way.

I am stronger now because of it though. I have been angry at the Lord, because its the easiest thing to do unfortunately, but have learned on how to rely on him even when its hard to have faith that he wants the best thing for you. I have learned how to rely on scripture study to light the path when you feel like you are overcome by the cloud of darkness. I have learned that I can continue on with serving the Lord in a way that I didn’t think was possible and reach so many people.

Before I left on my mission, I had to give up many things that I loved. I had a really great job in the school, had a scholarship at college, had an amazing boyfriend, I was close with my family and had several great and close friends. I was promised that I would be able to have all those things when I returned and that they would be even greater. So, nows the test, has it been true?

The answer is yes. Everything that I have sacrificed I have been able to be blessed with even more from God. I am going to have a great job starting in August that I couldn’t have planned for myself. If I were still on my mission I would’ve missed this opportunity. The Lord is so mindful.

I have been able to find a university that I can afford and that I can go at my own speed. That has been a HUGE blessing in my life.

I still have an amazing boyfriend who waited faithfully for me to come home and has supported me during all the hard things that I have gone through inside of my head.

I am even closer to my family and have made more lifelong friends that I was able to meet on my mission.

So, as I reflect a year later, I still say that my mission was the best thing to have ever happened to me. Even though I have struggled about being home, I know it was what I needed to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was what I needed to test my testimony and I know I am where I need to be because of it.  I might not have experienced all of the expectations, but I was able to receive what the Lord knew I, individually, needed.

I am grateful for this last year. I have grown so much and have been blessed with so many things. I know that the Lord watches over me, and if he watches over me, I know he watches over you too! We can go through those times of struggle and realize that God really is aware of us! 🙂

 

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