Yes, yes, I know I posted my January resolution in February, but I did so mainly so I could follow up on how it's been going.
The first week was amazing. I was so filled with faith and hope that I found amazing strength, peace, and calm. During moments when my kids were frustrated they pushed me, all the same buttons they normally push, and I was able to find a different way to BE. Not just ACT. I felt different. I was different. I feel like I was really able to keep that same calm and attitude for 2 more weeks after that.
And then there was this last week. It was hard. My initial resolve started slipping. My period seemed to throw me off balance and hormonally out of whack. And on top of that, Matt was working a ton of overtime last week. I felt like he was on a work trip but sleeping at home. I was tired. Really, really tired. And I had moments of frustration and weakness and I said things in tones I shouldn't have and I could feel the difference. That initial hope and calm was missing.
Thankfully I am feeling a little more revived after church and the scriptures I read today. I've been participating in a challenge issued by one of my friends to read the Book of Mormon in 60 days. I've read it this fast before in college, but it's been a long, long time since I've read a full 30 minutes every day. It has been good for many aspects of my life. Because I started in the middle of the Book of Mormon (where I had currently been reading), I finished it last Sunday and issued the same challenge to the sisters in my current ward. It has been great to hear many people have the same kind of response I had to the challenge. That it has given others the focus and direction they needed, even amid the blaring face of the adversary.
I think as we have been reading more, though, the adversary has been working harder on me to. I'm not going to lie, this week was SUPER challenging for me. I felt like I was alone, exhausted, and bogged down and I was glaringly weak still. So, when I read this today, it really resonated with me. "And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy? Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul." 2 Neph 4:27-28 I guess it gave me strength to know that even Nephi, the non-complainer, the doer, the faithful, had to occasionally give himself a pep talk to overcome. He had to make the choice from day to day to kick out the enemy of his soul. He goes on to praise the Lord profusely, telling the Lord that he trusts in Him. Even if we're not perfect, as long as we're moving in the right direction we're always making progress. "It matters not if we try and fail and try and fail again. It matters much if we try and fail and fail to try again."
Yesterday I came across a conference talk that helped reignite my resolve to move past this week and start again. It was a talk given in LDS General Conference last April by Donald Hallstrom. He was speaking to the men during Priesthood session, yet it is applicable to everyone.
"Once any of us conclude -- "that's just the way I am," we give up our ability to change. We might as well raise the white flag, put down our weapons, concede the battle, and just surrender --any prospect of winning is lost. While some of us may think that does not describe us, perhaps every one of us demonstrates by at least one or two bad habits, "That's just the way I am."
Well, we meet in this priesthood meeting because who we are is not who we can become. We meet here tonight in the name of Jesus Christ. We meet with the confidence that His Atonement gives every one of us -- no matter our weaknesses, our frailties, our addictions--the ability to change. We meet with the hope that our future, no matter our history, can be better."
I LOVE that quote. It reminded me of a lesson I gave in relief society a couple years ago that really struck me with force. I quote it in the picture above. I am a work in progress. I am doing all I can to become better each day. I am not perfect, and occasionally I fall or stumble, but the key is to get back up and keep trying. Keep going. Keep looking up.
Sunday, February 01, 2015
note: I wrote this at the beginning of the new year and am just now getting around to publishing it,
I am not usually one to make serious, formal New Year's Resolutions. Mainly, I think that if we want to change and make goals, we ought to do it more than once a year. I mean, if I wake up and think, "I have got to change this!" I should just DO it rather than plan on doing it come January 1. However, I as I have been mulling over some of my biggest shortcomings recently, I've decided that sometimes changing something at the core of yourself is hard. It's scary. It's something you have to decide you REALLY want to commit to and do. Otherwise you are just destined to fail. Once again. "I've tried to change, but it's just who I am." No. We can change any personality characteristic if we want to, we just have to want to badly enough to keep trying. To remind ourselves daily the importance of the change. I am also convinced that there are some things we can't change purely on our own, but we have to turn it over to the Lord.
Before I had kids I thought I was a pretty decent human being. I don't think I ever really shouted. I was respectful of others. I was pretty in control. But let me tell you, after having 4 kids really close together, I have a new found understanding of stress, work, anxiety, sadness, anger, joy and exhaustion. In my Patriarchal Blessing it says that I will "learn life's greatest lessons in my home." Right now I am learning that "the natural man is an enemy to God...and will be forever and ever...unless he yields to the enticings of the holy spirit and put off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ." Mosiah 3:19
Sometimes I feel very natural. Very raw. Often times I want to blame my anger, short fuse, shouting, and frustration on others. Usually on my children. But that is a problem. Because if my problems are a result of others' actions, then I have no control over the solution. So I will own my problem and become the solution. This year I want to commit to stop yelling. Even if I am tired. Even if my children are yelling. Even if every button in my system has been pushed. I have wondered over the last few weeks if it is even possible. Can I possibly change this character flaw? This occupational hazard? It is scary. What if I fail? But, oh, what if I succeed.
I am willing to give it up and give it to the Lord. I know I will need His help. Oh yes, I will not be on this journey alone.