Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Receive this blessing from the hand of the Lord, with a thankful heart. D&C 62:7

This town seems like it's cursed lately. Within the last month or so, three of my high school friend's brothers died, two from car accidents and one from a drug overdose. Another friend's dad also died in a car accident.

I've known about them all, but today was the first time I really thought about it. I drove past the tree where one of the boys crashed and died. There were still skid-marks on the road, which always gives me a super eerie feeling. There was a big wooden cross on the tree with flowers, picture frames, and "Happy Graduation" balloons all over.

It's really humbling to realize how much other people are suffering and going through, while I'm spending my time letting myself get consumed by my mediocre issues and stresses. It definitely makes you see the bigger picture.

I'm so lucky and grateful to have everything that I've been blessed with. I've got wonderful people in my life, I'm healthy, they're healthy, we're all alive and thriving. I don't know what I've done to receive so much goodness in my life, but I am so so happy I have, and I want to do everything I can to be deserving of it.  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved.  Hel 5:47

I've never understood why people judge others for doing what makes themselves happy. If it doesn't harm anyone, what is the issue?

I guess it's time for me to step back and let people dislike me and my choices. I don't need to convince anyone of anything, or prove anything to anyone. It seems like their minds are already made up, and they will think whatever they want regardless of what I try to do to 'fix' things. I don't want to live with underlying issues all the time.

I don't even know how to go about all of this. I don't know where to start, and I know that it won't be an easy, one-time solution. All I know is that I don't feel like I deserve being treated like this, and I need to not let people walk all over me.

It's time for me to let myself be happy with the choices I've made, and to fully be in the moment with those. I've let myself be too weighed down with all the criticism and prejudice that people have put me up to. It's time for me to stop listening. The people who are supposed to be in my life will stay in it. I feel good about what I'm doing; I'm happy. I've opened myself up to a whole new element of my life, and the things it has brought about are amazing. That is what matters.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Every man may act accordingly to the moral agency which I have given unto him.  D&C 101:78

This is probably one of the weirdest times of my life.

I feel like my Idaho life and my California life are two completely different lives...and they kind of are. Except instead of keeping them fully separate, I'm trying to blend the Idaho part into the California one, and it's just not meshing very well.

It's hard getting so accustomed to living a certain way, then be forced back into your old environment when things were so different. I'm trying to keep up with the things that make me feel like my Idaho self, because that's who I desperately want to be. But it's hard, so hard. No, I'm not going to parties or drinking coffee or anything like I used to--changing that is the easy part.

The hard part is trying to hold onto the spiritual part. I'm going to church here and I'm reading my scriptures, but I'm not surrounded by the LDS culture at all here. There's nobody who understands how and why I'm trying to live the way that I am now, there's nobody to have those theological talks with, there's nobody who just knows what I'm talking about; there's nothing at all that makes me feel the way I had been feeling about the religion and church while I was in Idaho.

I'm not trying to bash California or the people here. I love my family, and it's fun seeing my old friends. It's just so different, and it almost feels like I don't have much of a place here anymore. This isn't what I want for myself, but I'm stuck in it for the next couple of months. I just can't wait to be able to get back to that comfort.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thou didst bear all these things with patience because the Lord was with thee. 
Alma 38:4-5

I really need to work on my patience. I need to work on how I handle things. I need to change my perspective often on situations so that I don't react so impulsively and make matters even more complicated. I need to stress less. I need to just let things be and trust that everything will work out just fine without me forcing it.

I know all this.

I just have such a hard time keeping all of this in mind and putting it into action when needed. Maybe putting this all into words and writing it down will help me.

I also realized that I have such a hard time reading through the Book of Mormon in entirety. I much prefer to flip around and read chapters and verses that catch my interest at the given time. Perhaps reading through properly will be a good practice of patience for me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sometimes  I surprise myself. Today was one of those times.

I tend to not like going places alone. If it's shopping of any sort, from groceries to clothes, I'd much prefer being alone. For some reason, I can't ever shop successfully if I have company. That's about it, though.

So of course the idea of going to church alone made me really uncomfortable, scared even. I had never been to the LDS church here, nor have I ever been to an LDS church without Sterling, nor have I ever actually been to any sort of church service of any religion without someone with me.

I hated the idea of going there without knowing what to expect, and without anyone to share my discomfort and awkwardness of the unfamiliar with. All the nervous issues aside, I've also just really been struggling with my emotions from being homesick for Idaho and my boyfriend, and doing something alone that I'm used to having him there with me for pretty much just compounded any sadness I was already feeling.

But I went anyway. Despite all of the negative feelings I had about the situation, something still made me really want to go. And I'm glad I did. I plan to keep on going, alone. Not only did it help comfort me and help me remember to look at the big picture and not focus only on my current problems, it also reminded me that I am capable of being independent.

Come to think of it, I've surprised myself a few times regarding the LDS church.

Like the day I stopped the Sister Missionaries in the Institute parking lot and asked them if they could meet with me. Before then, all I ever did was read a little of the Book of Mormon and discuss things with Sterling. I knew I wanted to take the next step, but I didn't know when, and I definitely didn't think that was how I'd do it. I really don't even think I even meant to talk to the missionaries that day, but somehow that came out of my mouth anyway, and that was the first time I realized that this was something I truly wanted to do….for me.

I also surprised myself by the fact that I never really got nervous about my meetings with the missionaries. I always chose to go alone, and I really liked those meetings. I constantly surprised myself by the way I talked about things like the Gospel and how I feel about the religion. Everything I said was true, they were just so hard for me to say to anyone but whoever was at those meetings. I still don't fully understand why I have a hard time opening up about these things to other people, but I'm working on it and hope I eventually start surprising myself regarding that, as well.

I guess my point through all of this is that this religion has opened me up in ways I didn't expect, and I feel it working through me. It touches me in new ways all the time, and that just continues to prove to me more and more that it is true, and I know that these choices I am making are right.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me."
Psalms 119:30

Today I found myself in a conversation on a topic that seems to find its way into my talks with friends and family a lot lately. Actually, just about anytime I've talked about Mormonism with a non-Mormon.

"I just don't want you making decisions based on what someone else wants"  or  "I just hope you're not feeling pressured or being talked into doing something"  or my personal favorite  "So, if you and Sterling broke up tomorrow, would you still want to be a Mormon?"

This has probably been, by far, my least favorite subject when it comes to being asked about my conversion. Maybe I shouldn't, but I tend to take it pretty personally. I understand the concern behind the questions, and I can see how they could seem legitimate considering the situation. But, I feel like these people who know me the best shouldn't even have a doubt in their mind as to whether I'm doing this for the right reasons. They should know me better than that. They shouldn't think that I'm just willing to do whatever makes the guy I like be happy. This makes me feel like a twelve-year-old girl who starts wearing Abercrombie purely because her crush likes girls in Abercrombie. And I feel like no matter what answer I give, regardless of how sincere it is, people are still going to have their own misconceptions about it.

The truth?

Yes, joining the Church has made and will make my relationship better. Yes, when it comes down to it, Sterling is the reason I'm making this decision…..because, well, I never knew much about Latter Day Saints before meeting him, so I don't know how I'd ever really find my way into the faith if it wasn't for him.

However, Sterling and our relationship is far from my only driving force behind this whole thing.

I have learned so much about myself, what I really want, and what I need, and I feel like I have grown so much from this experience so far. I have found a level of faith that I've never even come close to reaching before. Most of all, I feel better about myself and how I'm living my life. I know I've made far too many mistakes and bad decisions, and they've weighed me down without me really even realizing it. And now I'm able to start letting go of all that. I'm able to forgive myself and let go of various grudges I have held against myself over the years. I have realized that someone much greater than myself is who is ultimately going to judge me, and if He can forgive me, I need to follow suit. And you know what? That's pretty dang liberating to feel that greater power touch you and help you learn and let go. 

When it all comes down to it, I'm happy.  Regardless of whether people choose to believe if I am doing this for genuine, "right" reasons, I'm happy. I feel good about what I'm doing, and I'm becoming a better person. How can you possibly find fault in me for wanting to do that?