As my desire to follow God's Word to me has increased (and by this I mean seeking personal revelation for me and my mission in life), I have found that God has very specific directions for me, and I might not always understand why I am doing what I He asks, but I know that if I trust in Him, He will lead me into that space where I cannot yet see.
Up until now, I have never experienced such joy and exhilaration in my life as I have submitted my will to God and seen just how much more He can do with my life than I ever dreamed of.
I have also never experienced such dark opposition and fear as I have these last months. I have been faced with all the negative, hateful, ornery things about myself...That sometimes I am just wrong and need to apologize and repent so that I can be clean again. And that sometimes I let Satan control and paralyze me with fear because I lack the faith in myself and that God really can create miracles with and for someone as flawed as me.
Even though I have experienced such darkness, I am of an opinion that the Light, for me, has become that much more radiant, and I endeavor to remain in that light, allowing more and more of it to dispel the darkness inside of me. I am learning that faith is power. There is real strength in believing, accepting, and then knowing exactly who I am as powerful daughter of God, and I never need fear the darkness when I strive to serve Him with my eye single to His Glory.
I used to to believe that living the gospel was "hard". It was so hard to always try to make good choices. As I have made the conscious effort to remove from my life and home, anything that is not uplifting or praiseworthy, my discernment has become fine-tuned, being able to see and recognize darkness almost immediately. I have found that living a righteous life is only "hard" when I lose that clarity, that ability to be firmly in the light, that can dispel the darkness that is so prolific and invasive in this world.
The removal of unwholesome media was a huge "sacrifice" for me, but I knew that I needed the ability to better discern between light and dark. I was a die hard Survivor fan and had never missed a season. Downton Abbey and all its deliciousness and many other movies and TV shows (Project Runway, Modern Family, White Collar to name a few) were purposefully given up for the sweet fruit of the Word of God and a more constant presence of His Spirit.
I found that the aversion to being "too churchy" or "too religious" went away when I stopped allowing that subtle darkness into my life. To be honest, I had always thought that those that were "so excited for General Conference" were just a little too extreme. It seems out of duty only, I would gather the children together to listen on Saturday and Sunday to those many hours of talks, not understanding the spiritual law upon which all temporal laws are predicated. I discovered that after I had eliminated these media distractions, the scriptures and the words and counsel of the leaders of the church were pure scrumptiousness to my soul! I was shocked and ashamed at how little I had valued all these tasty nuggets of truth.
If we are constantly focusing on all the negative things about ourselves or that surround us, we risk believing that those flaws define us. We must understand that we are already perfectly loved sons and daughters of God and right now we are simply housed in imperfect bodies while we are being tested. His atoning power has the ability to carefully strip away all the ungodliness that covers and inhibits our spirits, until the full glory of our spirits are visible through our countenance.
I am not saying that we ignore the darkness within us. It is very real and can even be frightening, and so we must recognize it and how it can take hold of us and control us, but we don't have to let it DEFINE us as being unworthy, or too sinful to use Christ's gift to us. Sometimes that darkness can take such hold, we don't know HOW to use His Atonement. Wise mentors and teachers who know, follow, and love Christ can help dispel that gloom and bring the light to us.
I have found on my journey that my feelings of unworthiness have kept me from accepting the Atonement and accessing and using it to cleanse me. As I have gratefully accepted the gift and used it more and more frequently, I have found that Satan's ability to tempt and distract me has lessened considerably, as well as my previous tendency to belittle and hate on myself.
Christ commanded us to," Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48
Why in the world would He give a command that is impossible? I know, I know... I have heard the explanation over and over about how the original word really means to be "complete", or "it's the finished project", that we won't be perfect until the end of this life...
So if I believe that I can't be perfected until after death, what exactly is my goal? What if there is something else He was telling us? What if He was saying, "THIS IS THE GOAL." That through the refining process of this life, through studying the scriptures, repentance, and a willing heart that strives to become like our Savior, we can get really, really close to perfection?!
I just want to be the "best I can be". Well what does that look like? Isn't the best I can be, perfection? Isn't that ultimately my goal? To live with God again? Do I really have a picture of that in my mind? I didn't. I had some nebulous idea with no clear definition of who I would "become".
I always felt buffeted from thing to thing, and place to place. Because I never had a charted course! I was too busy being distracted by Survivor and wishing that someday I would be healthy enough to go on the show myself. Or how great it would be to dress up in those gorgeous clothes on Downton Abbey. Those were the goals and thoughts that I was dwelling on...missing the entire point of...MY LIFE!
Obviously, I am not talking about the misguided view of perfection that never allows a mistake. We will ALWAYS make mistakes, sin, hurt somebody, or wish we could have done something differently. But Christ's Atonement cleans that mess right up, if we let it! The Atonement is not just for sins either, right? It is for our infirmities, it is for when someone has wronged us, and we feel like we will never heal emotionally. His sacrifice fills and flows into everything! It can dispel and replace what is wrong and make it right. I feel like I am just scratching at the surface of what the Christ's Atonement can really do. Isn't it amazing?!
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I know you have an incredible message! I invite you to share it with my readership!
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