Let Go and Let God

The other day I was listening to the speech I recommended below and the speaker mentioned someone sharing this phrase with her, “To worry is to lack faith.” That thought snapped around my heart like a trap! This last week my 19 year old daughter decided it was time to spread her wings and move out. And though I also feel like this is the next step for her in moving forward in her life it happened quite suddenly and caught me off guard. Even though I know it is right, it is so hard as a parent not to worry about your children as they strike out on their own. I had been fretting about how she will manage, what choices she will make, what challenges will come her way, etc.

As I pondered on the phrase I realized that I truly was showing my fear and not leaning into my faith. I know our Heavenly Father loves my daughter every bit as much as I do. I know that He has a plan for her. I know that He will be watching out for her and even though there will be trials, because we all have them, she will get through them. I can continue to pray for her and be here for her if she needs someone to talk to, but I have to trust God to take care of her.
No matter what our own personal struggles are, there are times when worry sets in. And if we are not careful it can set up camp and really take over our thoughts, our motivation, and our lives. We must recognize this worry for what it is, a useless drain on our energy, especially because worry never seems to accomplish much. Faith on the other hand is the predecessor of miracles and a much better investment of energy. So I will try to use a worried thought as a trigger to remind me to pray, let it go and give it back to the Worker of miracles.

Philippians 4:

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 3:

5 ¶ Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Is there something you are worrying about that would be much better handled in the hands of God?

Song: Let Go by Matt Hammitt

Talk: Be Still and Know God

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/erin-d-maughan_still-know-god/

Obedience – Day 9 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

When the shepherds first saw the angel they were “sore afraid.” Then with hasty obedience they hushed their fears and went to seek the Lamb of God.

Luke 2:

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

I think one of the things that holds us back from our full potential most in this life is fear. We often allow ourselves to be troubled and overcome by fear.

In John 14:27 the Savior tells us:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

In a talk called “Come Unto Me” Jeffery R. Holland talk about this specific scripture. He says, “I submit to you, that may be one of the Savior’s commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed; and yet I wonder whether our resistance to this invitation could be any more grievous to the Lord’s merciful heart. I can tell you this as a parent: as concerned as I would be if somewhere in their lives one of my children were seriously troubled or unhappy or disobedient, nevertheless I would be infinitely more devastated if I felt that at such a time that child could not trust me to help or thought his or her interest was unimportant to me or unsafe in my care. In that same spirit, I am convinced that none of us can appreciate how deeply it wounds the loving heart of the Savior of the world when he finds that his people do not feel confident in his care or secure in his hands or trust in his commandments.”

I think of all the edicts issued by Christ this may be one of the most important to Him because the results of our obedience will be immeasurable in our own lives and in our circles of influence. He wants us to choose faith over fear. He wants us to focus on the good we can do together rather than waste or time being troubled by the things that don’t seem to be working out. He wants us to follow the shepherds’ example and seek Him out. He wants us to spend time with Him and be yoked to Him that our burdens may be light. He wants us to trust Him with the bigger picture. He wants us to have peace.

Song: Do Not Be Afraid by JJ Weeks Band

Song: Oh What a Glorious Night by Sidewalk Prophets

Challenge: what can you do to obediently put your troubles aside and more earnestly rely on the peace of Christ?

(Artwork from http://www.jedicraftgirl.com)

Joy – Day 7 on a 14 Day Walk with Christ

The angels truly are a symbol of joy in action. Their attitude of singing and praising the Lord is one we will have if we guilt understand all He offers us!

Luke 2:

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Understanding who our Savior is and what He offers us should make us a joyful people ALWAYS! But life is hard and sometimes our focus shifts and we struggle to feel this way.

There are so many legitimate concerns in our day that we could get totally caught up in and cause us to become almost incapacitated by worry, doubt, and self-pity. I have seen people who allow this to happen. But we can choose to focus on joy instead of these things. At first it may be hard to train ourselves to do this, to turn to God and seek joy rather than wallow in our perception of the unfairness of life, but the joy is worth it and it does get easier over time.

I was given an analogy once that I call the parable of the coin. When you are handed a coin you cannot look at both sides simultaneously. You must pick a side to focus on. However, focusing on tails does not mean heads is not there, it just means you are choosing to dismiss it. The same goes in life when we choose to focus on the good things, especially our redemption through Christ. It doesn’t mean the bad things are not there, just that we are choosing not to let them have power over us. It is a choice we have to make, over and over again.

Song: His Name Shall be Called by Matt Redman

Song: When Hope Came Down by Kari Jobe

Challenge: How will you choose joy over worry today? How can you be more consistent in this effort daily?

(Artwork found on the blog http://www.jedocraftgirl.com)

Name Them One by One

It wasn’t what I wanted to hear when the Spirit whispered, “Make a list of things you are grateful for.” This direction came during one of the hardest times in my life. Things were not going well and I was really scared about how the future would work out. There were a million things I was worrying about and so many understandable reasons to be upset and still the voice was clear.

How do you make a list of things you are grateful for when it feels like nothing is going right? I’m not sure how it works. I have no words to explain it. But I do know that as I obeyed the command and started to make a list I was overcome with grateful feelings, joyful feelings. What started with one or two things I was grateful for became a very long list of things and trickled into my mind of the next few days and even weeks. Somehow that list broke into my gloominess and reminded me how very much I was loved, how very much I had to be grateful for, and how very temporary what I was going through was in the eternal scheme of things . Though my circumstances did not change immediately , my feelings and my attitude certainly did. And as those feelings changed I found myself feeling happier, more peaceful, more confident and capable of handling the stressful situation I was in.

When I was younger and would be having a hard time my mother used to say to me, “What can you learn from this situation?” She taught my sisters and I to take time to be conscious of the struggles we were having and to try to gain something positive from it. Sometimes are easier than others to do this, but I do know that as I make an effort to see the lesson the Spirit can more easily help me recognize what the Lord wants me to gain from the experience. Sometimes the realizations don’t come till some time down the road, but they usually do come.

I am grateful for a wise mother who taught me well. I am grateful for a God who loves me enough to want me to be happy and gives me personal direction and correction when the path I am on is not leading me to that happiness. I am grateful for lists I have made and lists I will make of the gifts from God that make my life more joyful. When was the last time you made a list?

Balm of Gilead by Boyd K. Packer

I would love to hear your takeaways from this talk.  How do you think it applies to this weeks topic?  I will update this post with my thoughts a little later today.

Watch it here:

Read it here:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1977/10/the-balm-of-gilead?lang=eng&cid=email-shared

My primary thought as I read this talk was, “Wow!  Our minds are such powerful things.  The things we allow ourselves to dwell on really do have a profound effect on our level of happiness and amount of our productiveness and progress.”

President Packer’s message is one of hope and comfort and it is offered to all, because let’s admit it, we all fall into at least one of those categories he listed at some point during our lives… worried, restless, anxious, disappointed, grief stricken, or bitter… heck, I think it is a rare day that I don’t experience at least one of those sometime during the day.

These feelings come from many different sources.  Sometimes the source is me and my own mistakes or stupid choices.  Sometimes I feel like others have caused them.  And sometimes life is just stressful!  But as I pondered on this talk I realized that no matter where they come from, I am the one that determines the amount of time they are going to effect my thoughts and attitude.  I have the ability and the responsibility to put my thoughts in their place.  I have the ability to flip the switch, to choose to put a different thought on the center stage of my mind.  And though it is my responsibility to do so, sometimes it is beyond my ability to do it, WITHOUT HELP.

And THIS is where our Savior comes in.  Through the power of His atonement and activated by our prayers of asking, He can help us overcome those things our mind wants to go back to over and over again.  He and He alone can give us that peace when we cannot get there ourselves.  I’m not saying that it will be easy, because it is not.  But He can teach us how to be free from these chains if we will go to Him and then make a place in our lives and in our hearts for the answers.

There was a particularly stressful time in my life when everything seemed to be falling apart. As President Packer put it, I was spiritually sick. All I wanted to do was think about the mess I was in, and even though I logically knew it was going to take a long time to sort it out and that the timeline was not in my control, I really wanted to control it.  I wanted to think on it and stew on it, even though I knew that would not be productive.  When I finally realized this was going to take over my complete day and lead into weeks and then months of time that I would be giving it, I knew something had to change. I did not want my mind to be the corner lot full of weeds and garbage that President Packer mentioned in his talk.  As he said, “I (did) not want anything coming into my mind that (did) not have some useful purpose of some value that makes it worth keeping.”

So I went to the Lord and asked for help.  And He did help me. Soon I was impressed with ideas and activities that would be a better use of my time.  I began to study the scriptures voraciously as well as take some classes.  Then I would spend my spare time thinking about the things I was learning.  I began to serve my family and my friends with an conscious effort.  I created projects for myself that I knew would be appreciated by them and keep me and my mind busy.  And because I had asked for help, I started to notice that I was given an acute awareness when my mind would start to stray to those waste places of unproductivity. When that happened I would quite literally I say to myself, “Nope! Not going there!” Then I would choose a different thing to ponder on.  It was a choice and I had to make it.  It was so hard at first! Just like President Packer said, “I had to evict some thoughts a hundred times before they would stay out.” And I know I was only successful because I “put something edifying in their place.” I couldn’t have done it otherwise.

I readily acknowledge I could not have gotten to that point on my own.  My human nature would have allowed me to continue to spiral into anxiousness, worry, and discouragement.  Instead, I can look back on that time as a time of great learning and growth.  It is a time I treasure because through it I became a better me. Christ and His ability to help me guide my thoughts to better paths truly was a balm of Gilead to me!

I love President Packer’s challenge and I issue the same one to you, dear reader, “If you have festering sores, a grudge, some bitterness, disappointment, or jealousy, get hold of yourself.  You may not be able to control thing out there with others, but you can control things here, inside of you.”  Let Christ be your balm of Gilead and let go of those things.  Don’t give them any of the valuable realestate of your mind!  Don’t give them any more of your time or your energy.  Use that powerful medicine of prayer and the scriptures to evict any negativity from your mind and take back your precious property!  As you do you will come to realize the promise given by President Packer, “It will then be as though a cloudy, dirty film has been erased from the world around you: and though the problem may remain, the sun will come out.  The beam will have been lifted from your eyes.  There will come a peace that surpasseth understanding.”

Our Savior said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  He gives us this commandment and He is The Way to fulfill it as well!  He is the Balm of Gilead!