Thursday, January 26, 2012

...With Worry

"Fret not thyself because of evildoers..." Psalm 37:1

I tend to worry too much. So I thought I'd blog on something for me and all the other worry warts out there.

Jospeh B. Worthlin said, "When we worry about the future, we create unhappiness in the present. Righteous concern may lead us to take appropriate action, but worrying about things we cannot control can paralyze and demoralize us.

Instead of worrying, focus on doing all that you can, and then leave the worrying to your Heavenly Father. If your heart is right with Him, He will take care of the worry and the fear. We must learn to 'fret not.'"

Nothing good comes out of worry. I think of times in my life where I get worked up with worry and before long am nauseous, unable to do much. Usually I find that whatever I am worrying about works itself out or wasn't as bad as I thought.

J. Spencer Kinard explained that "someone has mathematically calculated that forty percent of our worries will never materialize; thirty percent deal with old decisions that cannot be changed; twelve percent focus on criticism that is mostly untrue; ten percent deal with our health, which only worsens when we worry; and only eight percent are legitimate. The point we would make is that life does have real problems that may be met head-on when we eliminate useless and senseless worry." 

But how do we deal with worry? We turn to the Lord. Show our trust through earnest prayer and scripture study. In Psalm 37 David teaches that to actively pray we need to stop worrying and put our faith in God. Fear, or worry, can't exsist in the same realm as faith.

I once had a friend who knew how much I worried. When he saw me worrying over something he would stop me and remind me, "Why is this important? What is more important? What will worrying do to fix this?" That self reflection has made so much difference in my life.

So before you worry, stop for a moment and ask yourself the same thing. Turn to the Lord, let him take your worries from you, and put your full faith in Him, who died for every care and worry.

Friday, January 20, 2012

...With Miracles

God is still a God of miracles. I've seen that this is especially true in the last week. I'd like to share with you some incredible miracles I've encountered recently.

Miracle #1

A young girl I know has nearly 5 acres of property that she owns, full of rubble and garbage. Knowing how much work lay ahead of her we offered to help. She was happy to take us up on that offer and away we went, piling stacks of wood, scrap metal, and old, rusty cans. After dumping a large load of plastic from the wheelbarrow I took a firm step back and felt a poke. Looking down I was surprized to see a three inch, rusty nail sticking out of my shoe. I pulled the nail out and then took my shoe off to examine my foot. Nothing. It didn't make sense. I stepped straight on the nail with all my weight and it didn't even puncture the skin. It was a miracle.

Miracle #2
For the last several weeks I've been at war with a cold. I've lost every battle. No matter what I do, I can't seem to get rid of it. However, I had been asked to sing in church on an upcoming Sunday. Thinking I'd of course be over my cold by then, I agreed. Time went by too quickly, as it tends to like doing, and the day of my solo came. Now to the coughing stage of war I could only take short breathes without having a coughing fit. I didn't know how I'd be able to sing, but I was committed. Praying I went up to the pulpit, and sang. No problems. After sitting back down my cough resumed. I'd been healed long enough to sing. Another miracle.

Miracle #3
A day of snow. Endless snow. In fact it snowed a foot within 24 hours. It didn't stop! As we were getting home we saw our neighbors out shoveling it while their kids played. We spent some time with them and their kids and about an hour later finally picked up our backpacks to go inside. Wanting to lock the truck, I reached in my pocket for the keys. Gone. We looked, retraced our steps. Searched the areas we'd been, but it had snowed so much if the keys had fallen out of my pocket they were gone for sure. We prayed and searched again. Nothing. Our only set of keys. I was sure I was a goner. The keys don't belong to us. We called another set of missionaries and asked for them to pray as well. Then again, we looked. Suddenly I saw what I thought was a leaf sitting on the snow where we'd been standing and searching. Walking over to it hopefully, I shouted in exitement as I found our heavy set of keys sitting gently on the freshly fallen snow. Another miracle.

Don't tell me that God doesn't perform miracles. These may seem simple to you, but it's incredible to me. Something I have learned is that the Lord does this everyday. If we would simply look around us we'd see miracles everywhere.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

...With Abundance

This month the prophet of the world, Thomas S. Monson, taught us the ABCs of living abundantly. I'd like to share my own experiences and insight of how we can live "the abundant life" based off his three simple ideas.

A is for Attitude.

President Monson said "We can’t direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. For maximum happiness, peace, and contentment, may we choose a positive attitude."

I once got a temporary job working at a floral shop during Valentine's week. When I was hired so was another woman, who, after the busy week, would stay on and work the closing shift for the store. After the first day we both knew there was a problem. Our boss was a tough New York lady, who didn't mince words. She used harsh language and easily criticised. My coworker and I were having difficulty pleasing her, and finding joy in our work at the same time. Frustrated, my coworker walked out on the job, refusing to come back. Needing the income I stuck it out. I knew something needed to change though. I couldn't change my boss. I could only change my attitude. That job is now one I look back on as one of my favorites. Because I changed how I looked at the situation I eventually became great friends with my boss, and enjoyed day to day work.

B is for Believe

Believe in yourself, believe in others, and believe in eternal principles. There is power in believing and living up to that belief. We need to believe in our abilities and not let others persuade us differently.
I have a beautiful younger sister. About a year ago she heard of a scholarship program: a beauty pageant. She was interested in trying, but lacked the belief that she could succeed. We talked a lot about it. I told her to believe in herself and give it a try. The worst that could happen is for her to not be accepted, but it wouldn't change how beautiful she is, inside and out. The day of auditions came. I helped her do her hair and make up and brought her to the event. We laughed an had a great time. It was a fun experience for both of us. When we left she felt reassured. Whether or not she was accepted, we'd had fun. Soon after I left for my mission, but was excited weeks later when I learned that yes, her belief had payed off. She was in the pageant

C is for Courage

There are many courageous people that I have met in my life. One I remember the most didn't go climb a mountain, or rescue a damsel in distress, she had the courage to change her life. President Monson said in his address " Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I’ll try again tomorrow.'"
A friend of mine had been searching for the truth since she was eleven years old. I was fortunate enough to be around when she found it seven years later. She studied many religions but never found one that seemed right. When she learned that I was Mormon we started talking about my beliefs and before long she was meeting with the LDS missionaries. Kari had the courage to step out of the mold, to join herself to a new religion on her own. She made life changes. I can't even imagine the challenge it must have been. I recently learned how she continues to show her courage: although she faces challenges with the culture that tends to go along with the religion, she gets up again and keeps going. She knows it is true.
"Courage is required to make an initial thrust toward one’s coveted goal, but even greater courage is called for when one stumbles and must make a second effort to achieve." Kari has shown this courage to me.

It is my hope, as President Monson says, that we may "remember these ABCs as we begin our journey into the new year, cultivating a positive attitude, a belief that we can achieve our goals and resolutions, and the courage to face whatever challenges may come our way. Then the abundant life will be ours"

To read President Thomas S. Monson's Message click here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

...With Sunglasses

I have received another challenge to relate the gospel of Jesus Christ to sunglasses. After a lot of careful consideration I came up with this. I hope my analogy appeases the challenger:

Sunglasses are nothing more than tinted glasses. The effect of sunglasses is that our eyes are overshadowed to the light, dimming, and sometimes even changing the colors of what we see around us. Christ has said "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) Satan tries to deceive us. He overshadows our eyes, just like sunglasses, so that we can not see the true light, or the effects of the light. Until we take off the sunglasses, or disregard the temptations of Satan, we won't be able to see the beauty of the light of Christ.
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