Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Claiming Dependence on Emotion

Ok, so it's 5:30 in the morning. And I have words flowing into my mind so much so that I cannot sleep. This happens every once in a while. That's why I have a personal journal, and that's also why I have a blog. Anything that I write in this post is so far away from trying to offend that if you choose for any reason to make it offensive I am putting any and all blame on you for making it so. This post is solely to help any and/or one who may be struggling with anything similar to what I have struggled with. I have limited understanding and limited experiences. So bear with me, and see these words for what they really are...

It may have been a teacher in college who first put this idea into my head in a way that I could understand it. Somewhere I was told of an idea that emotions can be 100% controlled. In other words, we are not as connected to our emotions as we often think we are. And I pondered that. I'm not sure about this idea, but it has lead me to find more understanding on the subject throughout my life and I think that this idea was beneficial to me in a way. It gave me a little more power than what I had ever given myself. So let me just jump right in and explain.

In 2 Nephi 2:14 it states,
And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
(thank you

As I ponder this scripture I know that we have been told we are beings who "act", and we are not "to be acted upon." And I wonder if this counts for emotions. I imagine that it does, and I feel like in my life it became the scriptural slice of the sweetest truth pie I've ever tasted. Because it too gave me power. And it's origins were way ahead of anybody else's idea of emotions being more in our control than we often assume. 

Life experience: I only have so much. However, I will share a sliver of my life that is unpleasant to revisit, but is of vital importance because it took a large role in shaping me into who I am. 

When I first married Colten, I was so overwhelmed. There were a million joyful things, but truthfully I struggled to be happy. The only people who really knew how I was feeling at the time were my mom, my husband, and a few close family members. But, most of my family didn't even know. Which was exactly the way I wanted it, because it was so hard to admit that I was depressed. I struggled enough that my mom bought me professional tapes to listen to with guidance on anxiety and depression, and I sought out natural remedies to lift my mood so that I could function more normally. And even though there was a long list of things to be happy about, I found myself laying on the floor crying and trying to talk through it with my mom. Even my husband never saw that, and I didn't want him to. 

Let me make something clear as can be, Colten did nothing wrong. He was and is and always has been an amazing husband. 

My mom made it clear to me, that the next step was therapy. We were both afraid I was in too deep, and that I couldn't make it out alone. That word, therapy, scared me. And being that I have my mother inside of me, there was a stubbornness that would not let me seek help beyond my family and my Heavenly Father. And thank goodness for that strength left in me, because I decided to pull up my bootstraps so to speak, and climb my way out of the hole I was in. (I do believe therapy is vitally important for millions of people, but I just didn't need it).

I engulfed myself into the gospel. I took as many Institute classes as I did college classes. I had already taken a lot of religion classes which I believe helped tremendously prior to this chapter of my life, and they gave me a great foundation of knowledge. And one of my teachers in college (not Institute actually) helped me to take ownership of my emotions. Rather than letting them destroy me, knowledge of truth helped me to gain back power. It was a slow process, but I eventually gained enough power back that I could start to see things a bit more clearly. I stopped taking natural remedies to lift my spirits. I just didn't need them. 

I started to look at myself with eyes that were no longer cloudy. I saw a girl who judged others quickly. I saw a girl who couldn't see the blessings in her life to save it. I saw girl who assumed that many people around her had vicious intentions, and I was a victim in too many stories. I was shocked. And it hurt. Who knew that I was in the wrong in so many areas? This new information didn't push me back down the hole though. I was in charge now, and I had also finally realized that I was most definitely not alone. 

I started to take ownership of the judgments I made. And I started to turn them into love. Love is the only thing strong enough to overpower any of the other emotions I was feeling. The second I sincerely loved those around me, the second I started to give more power to myself, the stronger my relationship was to the Spirit, and to my Heavenly Father. This is a life goal: to continue to replace false judgments with love. We all work on it constantly. The more we work at it, the better we become--true in many of life's endeavors.

I started to see the blessings that the Lord had given me. This, probably above many other things, humbled me. Depression had not humbled me. Depression had made me sick and lonely. Gratitude humbled me. Humility gave me strength. Humility was the gateway to joy and happiness. Pure and true humility came from realizing the Lord knows me and He wants to help me get through all trials, and He blesses me in spite of me.  

I studied the Atonement. I took classes, I read talks, I read scriptures, I listened, I sought it out. 
Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"

I slowly but surely found that that which I gave power to became the strongest in my life. I had given power to unhappiness, loneliness, anger, confusion, frustration, etc. It wasn't workin' for me. 
So I found power, the right power, within me and from my Heavenly Father, and I put my energy into that. I sought out good things in people, and wonderful things about life. 

I am no longer in the hole folks. I am so far away from it I don't even remember where it went. But it's gone. Thankfully. 

Do you wanna know what pushed me the last little bit above ground?

Colten and I got pregnant. :) This came with ups and downs. Right after I had Camry I could tell the hormones in my body were leading me to jump back into the hole. So I just tried the same remedy that had worked so beautifully before. I sought sunshine and it warmed my heart and soul. I looked for and found blessings everywhere. I trusted in the Lord and had faith that my body would work through the changes, and it did. I also started to understand the meaning of being selfless. Continued service day in and day out for a little body who was completely dependent on me for survival---there's humility in that. And there's dependence on the Savior there too. There's no way I could do it on my own. 

I don't claim to understand what those around me are going through. As I said earlier, all I have are my experiences and my limited understanding. I have no idea if this helps anyone. I don't have anyone specifically in mind that I could be writing this for. All I know is these thoughts have been jumping around in my head every day for a little while now. And this morning they finally wouldn't let me sleep. So I acted and here they are. 

I  have found that ownership of my emotions has worked for me. I have found that actively seeking good things led me to Christ. Moroni 7:16 says,  "For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God."

I'm thankful for the power to act and that I am not just a thing to be acted upon. That knowledge, when I gave it power, changed me...and it continues to change me everyday. I no longer depend on my emotions to dictate how I feel, they are not strong enough to keep me above ground. Real strength comes from our Savior, Jesus Christ---and it's connected to whether or not we are willing to come unto Him. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Happy Anniversary :)

I'm with the guy on the left :) I know you're jealous, just contain yourselves. 

As of today, I have been married 3 years to my best friend in the whole world. He is my partner, my go-to for everything, my favorite person, my husband. I love that I get to call him that. It's amazing how time has gone by so fast, and ya know they say, time flies when you're havin' fun! 

Truly, when I think of how many years we have ahead of us, I get excited. I love that I get to spend the rest of forever with him! Sure, we have our ups and downs like everyone else, but we've grown together and become stronger for it. I was young when I got married, (or so they say) but I believe I was the smartest 20 year old on the planet for falling in love with Colten. I love him more than words can say, and I love, love, love, whatever is up ahead, because it will be with my darling hubby. 

Thanks to a wonderful 3 years hun! You're more than any wife could ask for. I love you!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Motivated By Love.

This phrase has been a common one in my head over my lifetime. Mainly because, when I hear about someone doing something just straight-up amazing, 99.999999% of the time it's because they were motivated by love. Tonight I "showed up" to listen to someone who has been a long time friend, neighbor, and counselor to me and about a ka-gillion other people in his lifetime. He is also the principal at the high school in our town and he is one of those people whose example---even if you only know him for a short time---immediately draws you to Christ. He's just that awesome.

He, and the principal of the middle school in our town, were involved in a special journey called, P.A.A.C.E. The acronym stands for, Principals Across America for Computers in Education. Their goal: to raise money for computers in their schools. So, they rode their bikes literally across america, and they inspired thousands of people along the way.

So, at tonight's fireside, when Mr. Jody Rich spoke, he inspired me too. He inspired me to think about motivation by love, and the affects it has in one's life. He spoke about things we should do in life, and things we should think about, and he talked a bit about something as simple as 'showing up' in life. But the message I got, was the message of being motivated by love.

Not just anyone can ride their bike thousands of miles. Not just anyone can climb Mt. Everest. Not just anyone is willing to push their physical, mental, and spiritual self beyond what they ever imagined was possible.

But someone motivated by love can.

Maybe some people accomplish physical feats because they just simply love the rush they get at the end of a race, or at the top of a mountain. And that's still amazing.

But then there are people, who accomplish amazing things for someone else---never thinking twice about what they must give, but only thinking about the prize that will come for their loved one once the price has been paid.

Those are the times when children of God shine. Those are the times our Father in Heaven might shed a pure tear of joy because it means something even more special than we think. It means that His children are starting to understand a little bit more of their Savior. Some may not even realize it, but as they sacrifice for those they love their hearts are changing, and drawing closer to Him. And it's beautiful.

Our Savior was motivated by love. Faith, obedience, and a Plan were all part of His motivation, but the strongest is Love. Love for His Father, and Love for his brothers and sisters. That is a small way of how I can understand the Atonement. And when I hear stories of inspiring people like Jody Rich, it again draws me to my Savior. Those stories teach me a little better how to be like Him.

And I got to thinking, What amazing things can I do in my life, that would require sacrifice, but also motivation by love?

And I thought, I sure as heck won't be riding my bike 3000 miles. (Although I will always have the utmost respect for those who are willing to).

But I will be getting up at 2 AM, and 3 AM, and 4, and 5 and 6 if needs be for my little girl. In small ways I can still contribute to the people in my life who I can affect in some way or another. I can be the best visiting teacher this world's ever seen. I can love, forgive, and serve. I can appreciate my husband for continuously getting up and working as hard as he can to provide for our family. I can appreciate his motivation from love. I can strive to follow God's commandments and strive to teach them to those around me. And most importantly, I can try to understand Christ, and how He is, and how He loves. And then I can do as Jody has and will always do, I can try to lead others to our Savior, and maybe, just maybe, someone's heart will choose to be changed. And if that happens, then they've accomplished something that lasts throughout eternity. And that's a feat that we're all working on, day to day, on and on, and over again. We do our best...We fall short. But Christ is there, not just at the top of the ladder to get us to the last step, but He's truly there every step of the way. Sometimes we seek Him, and sometimes, unfortunately we don't. But the more we do, the more we are inspired and changed, and somehow we can help others to do the same.

I just have to thank every person in the world for their outstanding sacrifices. Whether they be the sacrifices that go above and beyond what we think are humanly possible, or if they're the sacrifices that go unseen and unnoticed. Look for people around you who sacrifice every day for you, and thank them for being Christlike and loving you. And then turn around and sacrifice for someone else.

The more you do, the more you realize the amazing things that can be accomplished when motivated by love.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Good Ole' Facebook.

So, probably about 2 years ago I deactivated my facebook account for a loooong list of good reasons. And I felt like life was just slightly less complicated because of it. And Lots of people congratulated me, patted me on the back, and gave me many nods of approval. But, it was like one of about 2 or 3 people I know who was able to say goodbye to constant communication with so many people that I didn't need to be in constant communication with. I also had a few people argue with my reasons, and try to make me see that my list had no weight, no substance, and they tried to essentially help me down from my soapbox.

Well, I faithfully stood there for the 2 years, and I was pretty comfortable.

Until I went to the special broadcast titled, "The Work of Salvation" where Elder L. Tom Perry introduced some new policies regarding missionary work and websites such as Facebook. I won't re-quote everything he said, and I've given you enough information that you can go look it up on to read his talk if you'd like.

When I was listening, I had a truly humbling experience. I wouldn't necessarily call it repentant, because me not having facebook wasn't wrong. But, I felt like I was being asked to be a missionary--something I always wanted to be, and something I strive to be. But I also felt like I was being told that one of the best ways to do that, in this day and age, is to have a facebook account. I looked at my husband. He looked at me. And seriously guys, I feel passionately about the negatives of facebook, and I know it's silly to so many, but I knew that I would have to make a huge decision.

And I also looked up the church's stance on facebook.

I thought, well I have a blog, and that's good enough isn't it? I can share my testimony there!?!? right?!? And it was like a voice said, "yeah, to the 3 people that read it." Ok, ok. But I still didn't go home and log on to facebook. I just pondered. For a while now.

And then a few different experiences happened. And I got little arrows, and little answers, and finally I added my name to Colten's account. And I still am kind of sick about it. Because part of me just has so much appreciation for the old way of communicating. And although I fear for what facebook is doing to the upcoming generations, I see now, that it has to happen.

And the only way for me to get to know some of my sunday school students, my present co-workers and past co-workers, and even family, is through technology. And specifically, Facebook.

So, alas. I have finally given in. Not because of the pressures of society, but because it's an opportunity to share my testimony, and to connect with ward members, family members, and the other people I mentioned earlier.

So there's my dramatic, yet true explanation as to why I have now re-connected on good ole' Facebook.

And I figure, that I better just be humble in life, instead of prideful. It seems as if I've been told this before....maybe once or twice......but this is one example of me practicing what has been preached. I hope I can always be a person who admits when they're wrong. And who looks for the good in all. And who strives to be an example instead of an angry individual. This isn't the first time I've ever eaten humble pie, and I'm sure it won't be the last.