Taking a Break from Social Media

On October 6th, 2018, President Nelson ask the Women of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to take a break from social media by doing a 10 day social media fast. This meant taking 10 days from checking Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and any of those other social media sites that we use all the time.

This wasn’t as big of a deal for me as it probably was for others. But, it did make a HUGE change in my life.

I noticed that I had more time to spend reading Gods word. I had more time to be productive and get my college classes completed and had time to grade papers. I found myself getting more sleep and spending more time with my family.

I think I mainly noticed the difference in how I felt. It is easy for me to spend time on social media and compare myself to those around me. I think about how I wish I looked like them, was successful like them, had the relationships and experiences that these people had.

Doing this social media fast helped me to stop comparing myself to others. I started to feel more peace and feel more productive because I didn’t have any sort of social media influencing me to forget my divine identity.

Since doing the social media fast, I have deleted the social media apps off of my phone, except for Pinterest (cause I use that SOO much as a teacher). I now only check them on Sundays to check in on family, friends, and I try and find ways to rejoice with them instead of be envious of them.

I love the tools of social media. I love that they can bring us together when we are living far away from each other. But, I love the feeling, the productivity, and the experiences I have when I am not using social media. When I decide to live in the moment instead of document the moment.

I am grateful for the Prophet President Nelson. His inspired challenge for me to take a social media fast has changed my life for the better.

I challenge you, if you haven’t already, to give a 10 day social media fast a try.

I promise it will be very rewarding and you will find yourself feeling more connected with God.

Taking a Break Blog post

Learning about God from that “One” Student

Since school has started, I have had this one student in my 7th Grade Math class that has been so tough. Every teacher has sent this student to the office at least once. My first two weeks I sent him twice.

This kid has had a rough life and has seen everything. I feel so bad for him and what he has had to go through at such a young age. Because of this, this student has struggled with his behavior and being compliant towards the teacher. He knows math. He is actually really smart, but he refuses to put any effort in and takes away from the learning of the students around him.

The other day, he was so distracting that I sent him out into the hall. I had the students doing some practice and extension work and I went out to confront him. I had so many things going on in my mind and I was full of frustration for this student.

“WHY DOESN’T HE JUST SIT THERE AND DO HIS WORK? IS IT REALLY THAT HARD??”

I walked into the hall and observed him kicking at the brick outside of my room. There were so many things that I just wanted to yell at him for but for some reason I couldn’t.

I looked at this student, and asked him to look at me. I told him “You know what? I know that you know how to do this. I know you are smarter than you are trying to make everyone believe you are. I know that there are teachers at this school that send you to the office when you misbehave and I know that I even sent you away at the beginning. I know that is what you are used to is getting sent away. But that is not how it is going to work in my class. I want you here. I want you to learn. I like having you in my class. You have friends here and I know they want you here. But, I can’t have you not doing your work. I can’t have you disrespecting your classmates. But, I promise, I do want you here.”

I watched this student look at me, in silence, with this weird look on his face. I could tell what he was thinking, “Wow, she really does want me here”.

The bell was getting close to ringing so I had this student wait until everyone had left. Then I asked him “So, are you going to be better for me tomorrow?” He didn’t make eye contact, but shook his head yes and then left.

The next day he came to school, got a pencil and a paper for the first time without me asking, and sat down to begin his bell ringer. I was SHOCKED. That day he completed a worksheet, and did his ALEKS topics and I rewarded him by letting him sit by his friends for the end of class.

This student sometimes needs some tough love still, but he is doing tremendously better.

I have learned so much about Heavenly Father through this teaching process. I think that I am a lot like this student. I disobey his commandments and I struggle to be like he wants me to be all the time. Sometimes he has to chasten me, but there is one thing that always stays the same.

His love for me. His love for us.

He wants us to be able to return to live with Him. He wants us to find the JOY in our lives that come because he LOVES us.

When we sin, struggle, doubt, he forgives us and instead asks us “So, are you going to be better for me tomorrow?”

As we start a new week this week, think about this. As we get to start over, are we going to be better for HIM?

God really does love us despite our weaknesses and shortcomings. He loves us through our good days and our bad days.

He will always be there for us. I am so grateful that I have such a loving Heavenly Father.

Learning about God post

The Small and Simple

Recently, I realized that I used to feel so close to God, but now, all of the sudden, I feel like I am so far away from him.

As I have been reflecting I have realized that I have been forgetting the small and simple things.

What are the small and simple things?

Honestly, I think they are different for each person. But for me, the small and simple things are those little things that can build my testimony or take away from my testimony.

My small and simple things are sincere scripture study, deep and honest repentance, sincere prayer, and obedience to the commandments.

These things lately have felt like a checklist for me. I wake up and say my prayers. CHECK. I read a chapter of the Book of Mormon. CHECK. I pray before I go to bed. CHECK.

But, because they have been more like a checklist, I have gotten lost. I have not received as much from them as I could.

I have a picture of what I wished my life looked like, for example:

One day a young woman woke up. She was grateful for the new day and was full of so much energy and excitement for the events that would happen. She couldn’t wait but to thank her Father in Heaven for letting her live another day and for blessing her with the opportunities that were planned for the day. While kneeling in prayer, she prays to have her Father help her keep the commandments and notice the ways that she is falling short. She prays for the Father to place people in her path that need encouragement and love. She prays for an opportunity to share with others the Gospel and the Love that He has for them. She prays full of love and gratitude.

Then, she crosses her room and opens up her scriptures. Instead of quickly browsing through the chapter, she writes down a question. Today her question is “What is God wanting me to learn from my trial?” She reads the scriptures, pondering each verse. She thinks about how that verse applies to her. While reading, she is overcome with the spirit as she receives the answer to her question.

This young woman continues on throughout her day. She notices a little boy who is sitting by himself. She asks him how he is doing. She can tell he is glum and feeling down. She notices that he has drawn a beautiful drawing in his notebook. She tells him what an amazing job he has done. His face lights up and he offers her the drawing and walks away.

She realizes, here was the person God needed me to touch today. She sends a silent prayer in gratitude for being able to help someone smile.

Later, she is talking with a co-worker who has recently been wondering about religion. The co-worker asks the young woman what she believes. She responds with love and simply states that she believes that “God loves all of his children”. This leads to a conversation about God.

The young woman realizes that this is the missionary experience that she had prayed for.

At the end of the day, the young woman returns home. She is exhausted. She watches some Netflix, and instead of praying while laying in bed, she gets out and kneels down. Here she repents for the wrongs that she had done for the day. She repents of the judgments she made, the gossip she spoke, the hardness of her heart. She then thanks Him for the Atonement and how she has a Savior that helps her to repent. She prays to thank God for the opportunity that she had to obey the commandments with strict obedience. She is filled with so much love. She knows her Heavenly Father loves her. She falls asleep with plans to do it all again.

As I think about this young woman, I think about what I can do to change. First, my prayers need to be more sincere. This is a small and simple thing that if I just go through the motions, I could lose my testimony. However, if I pray more sincerely, it can be something that helps me come that much closer to God. Second, my scripture study needs to be more of a study versus a read. Through studying, I can gain a stronger testimony of the different gospel topics that I don’t know or understand well. Lastly, I need to focus on obedience and repentance. These are small and simple. They can be done easily in a day, but if we don’t do them, it could lead to us leaving and abandoning our faith.

I encourage you to find those small and simple things that you can do in your life to improve your relationship with God. I know that he wants us to come and find him. I know that he wants us to seek him and understand him. I know that he wants us to feel of his love. I know we can do that by following his word and continuing to do those small and simple things.

Our small and simple things

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.

Embrace post

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Book of Mormon Monday: Purpose and Introduction

Book of Mormon Monday officially starts today. The video has been uploaded to YouTube. 🙂 I am super excited about this!  Click on this link to take you to the video. https://youtu.be/F54guXeOCgo

This video is less than 10 minutes long and briefly takes you through the first 4 pages of what you would see if you started to read the Book of Mormon.

To Summarize:

Title Page: Shows that the Book of Mormon is ANOTHER Testament of Jesus Christ

Second Title Page: Explains the purpose of the Book of Mormon and that it is created for “the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations” (Book of Mormon)

Table of Contents: Each of the Men listed were called of God to keep the record.

Introduction: Explains who the people are that wrote the record, who translated it, and what the PROMISE of the Book is.

If this is something that you are interested in learning about, please check out the video.

I know that if you are sincerely seeking for an answer on if this book is true, that the Lord will provide you with an answer. It has provided me with so much hope throughout the years and has added to my understanding of the Bible to be the word of God.

You can get your own Book of Mormon from https://www.mormon.org/missionaries and then click on the link in the bottom right hand corner to request to get your own Book of Mormon free of charge and delivered to your door! 🙂

Link to Book of Mormon Monday video: https://youtu.be/F54guXeOCgo

BOM Monday 1

Faith, Action, Commandments and Sacrifice

Today during my personal study, I came across some great scriptures in the New Testament that I think work hand in hand.

The first that stood out to me is the woman in Matthew 9 who was diseased with the issue of blood. In Matthew it reads:

“And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment;

For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

But Jesus turned him about and when he saw her, he said, Daughter be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour” (Matthew 9: 20-22).

These verses have stood out to me many times throughout the years. It is easy to sin and to feel like you are unclean. But, this woman shows us what FAITH can do to help us in the process of repentance and forgiveness. She shows that little acts of faith can help us to be whole.

I also love that Christ doesn’t care what we have been through. He knows that all we need is to have faith in him and ACT on it and he will make us whole right then.

I then came across the story of the young man who comes to Christ and asks him:

“Good Master what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

And He said unto him, Why callest me good? There is not good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: WHAT LACK I YET?” (Matthew 19: 16-20)

This is where I stopped and thought to myself. What is it that I lack? What could I be doing better to follow Christ, to serve him, to strengthen my faith or to be better cleansed from my sins?

Christ continues to teach the young man by saying:

“If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” (Matthew 19: 21-29).

I think that the main message that Christ is trying to teach us is that something that we often LACK is the sacrifice. He has promised us that if we will give up our worldly possessions that we will inherit so many more great things with Eternal Life. I don’t think that He means that we need to get rid of our houses, and leave our families to go on a journey to follow him. I think He means that we need to give up the things that are holding us back from following Him.

That could be social media, entertainment, habits, friends, addictions. Anything that could be keeping us from the Savior.

I love these two stories because I believe that they work hand in hand. We learn from the first that we need to have FAITH and ACT on that faith and the Savior has promised us that we will be able to be whole. Then, we need to KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS and SACRIFICE what is keeping us from the Lord.

I know that as we follow those things, that we will learn how to humble ourselves before the Lord and trust in him as he guides us through our lives. I hope that we each will choose to follow him and to exercise the faith that is needed to do so.

I love my Savior and am so grateful that He has provided us with ways to learn from Him and be guided by the Spirit.

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