Isn’t it funny how you can read particular parts of scriptures often but the don’t really impact you?
Recently I decided that for my personal scripture study I’d start from Acts 7, with Stephen’s martyrdom. I love this part of the New Testament when Christ has left His chosen to run the church. I love the faith they exhibit as they take the words the Savior spoke and teach the Gentiles. So of course I started at this part and my mind was TOTALLY blown away by Paul. I’ve always loved Paul and how he serves as a great example of being able to change one’s life for the better. But it wasn’t till this personal study of mine that I truly comprehended how awesome and amazing he is.
Paul truly was chosen by the Lord to be His instrument in taking the gospel message to the Gentiles. There was no other individual bold enough or with the connections that could have done this great work.
That proves to me how much the Lord loves us and KNOWS us. This also testifies to me how amazing the scriptures are to influence us, no matter how many times you read the same verse or the same story, if you are truly looking to be enlightened, you will be.
I have moments in my life that puzzle me and confuse me. That remind me how wonderful the gift of agency is and how amazing Heavenly Father is to let us live life according to how we feel it should be lived under the guidance He has set forth.
These moments puzzle me because I can’t understand why someone would do or say something that is against what God teaches, yet, claim to believe in Him.
These moments confuse me cause sometimes that person is myself and I can’t believe I just did or said that thing.
In those moments I take a deep breath.
I close my eyes and with a prayer in my heart and tears in my eyes ask Him to help me be better. To help me not do or say something so contrary to what He has taught me.
Then I take a step forward and try again.
Agency is amazing because each time we exercise it we prove to ourselves and to Him just how we are making use of our time here in mortality.
So this morning I got great news from one of my best friends. News that sent my heart heavenward in happiness than downward toward Tartarus as the reality of it all sunk in.
Let me tell you the story of the morning.
I woke up, as I usually do, went to work, as I usually do, and settled down to what I figured would be an unexciting and normal Friday.
I should have known that my dream last night about being invaded by an opposing army and then fighting for my life and of those around me, a la Red Dawn (No I have not seen the movie only the trailer), was a sign of things to come… in hindsight the allusion makes sense. Because as I sat down to change the pricing and start of the orders for Monday I got a text that changed my life.
A text that made me feel as if I needed to defend how I lived.
A text that changed EVERYTHING.
"I’m engaged. Wow, that was fast…"
My eyes went wide and I will admit that for a few moments I thought it was a horrible joke. I waited in anticipation for a message that would say, “HA HA! April Fool’s!” But I knew it wouldn’t come because it isn’t April and my friend would never joke about something like that.
As I let the news sink in that’s when the inner battle took place. That’s when my happiness geared itself up to fight against my sadness.
I am happy for her. Elated at the fact that she has finally found someone in this large world full of souls to call her own. Happy that she now has her eternal companion to continue on her path toward the Celestial Kingdom.
But I was sad because everything about our friendship changes.
Now I know there a few people that are probably thinking, “Wow, overreaction much?” I bet you’re married and not at all single.
Everything about our friendship will change. No longer am I going to be able to call her for a night out or even a day out without planning it ahead of time. Our trips to our favorite restaurants will lessen over time as she accustoms herself to the role of wife. She can’t just run out of the house and say, “See you in a couple hours I’m going out.” (Well she could but that’s not a great way to start a marriage). The topic of our conversations over time will change to include stories about her married life. And I really am sad to see our current way of doing things go.
So as you see my Happiness is atop her faithful mount, Selflessness. While my Sadness has decided to saddle up Selfishness. This battle will be one that will last quite a long time. Probably up until the last day she remains a single woman.
Everything in life changes, I know that, it’s just how things are but it doesn’t mean that it’ll be easy.
Congratulations to one of my best friends in the entire world. You have seen me in all aspects and have stood by me through it all. From the first time we met I knew that in you there was a kindred spirit. Someone that I could geek out to even if you didn’t really understand why I was so into pop-culture you let me be myself, for that I am grateful that you are in my life. Here’s to your knew journey with your man at your side! WHOOP WHOOP! Bleh.
Sometimes I get so mad at you that I hate you.
Usually that happens when I do something I really shouldn’t. I blame you and the others.
But then I remember I have more power than you and then I remember you’re my brother.
Then I think how sad everything is for you and the rest.
I remember that our Father and Brother love all of us, even you lot, and I feel the tears fill my eyes cause I can use the atonement. I retained my first estate. Even at my lowest point I am still better off because I have a body and I can repent.
Then I remember the faces of all the mothers in my ward or stake that have children who have strayed. How there is this hope they emit that their child will one day use the gift of the atonement and return. How they pray and hope for that day. And I remember another Mother, one who knows there is no hope for you and the others, how it must pain Her to know that you lot will never be able to correct your course because you failed that first test.
After these thoughts fly through my head I realize I can’t really hate you because I feel sad for you. Really, really, sad for you. That right there probably irritates you so much.
I may doubt myself and my abilities but I never doubt God nor His abilities. Especially when it is through Him that I am able to accomplish the impossible.
…but it’s only as hard as you let it be.
For some reason whenever people find out I’m LDS/Mormon they get this sad/pitying look on their face for me. The type of look people give to others when they think their life isn’t as great as it should be. At those few moments in my life I feel like laughing my head off. Instead I usually tell them, “Look there’s nothing oppressive or hard about being LDS.” They just humor me and we move on to other modes of conversation, usually to Harry Potter or Doctor Who.
Today I felt it was time for me to put down why living my religion isn’t hard for me but it might be for others. The simple one word answer is AGENCY. For all of the rules people see LDS people live: no coffee, no swearing, no breaking the law of chastity, keeping the Sabbath day holy, paying 10% of your increase, and so on and so forth; we do so be cause we have chosen to. Like in every religion it is up to each individual person to be as devout to the precepts, ordinances, and covenants within our religion. I know quite a few people that enjoy drinking coffee but still follow the rest of what our religion entails. I know a few people that have struggled with the swearing and the paying of tithing. For me personally I am still trying to keep the Sabbath day holy, instead of playing on video games on my phone I should be reading my scriptures.
I think the concept people find hard to understand is how can one call themselves a good LDS member and NOT be following everything that our religion sets forth, that makes us hypocrites. No, no it doesn’t, it makes us human.
Part of our understanding of how the world works is that we were sent to earth to gain a mortal body. Along with that mortal body came the appetites and longings to sin against the rules God has set forth for man to follow, which we call Natural Man tendencies. We are taught that before we came to earth we were told that in order to return to the Father we’d have to align our will to His, we would have to learn how to overcome the natural tendencies of our fallen bodies, to keep our cravings in line with the laws that God has set forth.
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” - Mosiah 3:19
LDS people have a very keen understanding of how precarious our situation is in this world. We understand that sometimes our agency allows us to choose things that God has commanded us not to partake. But we also know that it is through the atonement of Jesus Christ that we can become better because of repentance. Living an LDS lifestyle is only as hard as one chooses to make it. But it doesn’t make being a member impossible. All it requires is to choose the right each day, step by step, and to repent and get back on track if you stumble or fall.
So for me, as an individual, being LDS isn’t really hard at all. It’s my life and it gives me a sense of understanding and purpose that would be sorely missed if I weren’t LDS. Temptations and cravings beset me everyday and I know that what I need to do is just move forward and not pay attention to them. If I should pay attention to them then I simply go to the Father in the name of the Son to ask for His help in dealing with the temptation, and as long as I’m serious in wanting to change my life, He provides a way.
Living an LDS Life is just living life for me. So if I complain about how hard things are, it’s not because of my religion that provides me with hope and happiness, it’s because LIFE IS HARD SOMETIMES!
When I was in school as a child and as a teenager Math was my nemesis. Math was the bane of my schooling existence. I could never wrap my head around anything past the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Algebra? Why the letters?! Geometry? What now we use shapes!? I didn’t even attempt to take anything past Geometry because I knew Trigonometry and Calculus would just give me headaches.
In each and every math class I took I barely passed by the skin of my teeth, and that is not an exaggeration. I would stress out the whole time unable to grasp the concepts the textbooks were trying to teach me while the teacher sat behind their desk eating chips/cookies/noodles. I would curse under my breath at the ridiculous of having to force myself to learn this stuff. I knew, just knew that I wasn’t going to need more than basic math once I was an adult. I couldn’t help but think that my teachers were nothing but liars when they told me that as an adult Geometry would be used a lot.
Why would I, the individual who was planning to major in English, need Geometry once I was in the real world?
Once out of high school I thought my torturous affair with Math would be over and done. SOOOOOOO not the case in college. Even though I was on the Language Track as an English Major, one course of Math needed to be taken and passed. High School and Elementary Math courses were relatively easy when compared to the Math 110 that I took. I thought they had been hellish but in comparison they had only been uncomfortable. Math 110 was ridiculously hard for me, so much so I just stopped showing up to class because nothing helped. The professor was good but my brain just didn’t connect and the poor sods in the Math Lab couldn’t figure out how I was unable to grasp simple (in their eyes) concepts (considering these individuals struggled just to write a basic essay you’d think they would understand how hard something is for someone of another discipline to understand something in their own field. Especially since they struggled with, what I considered a ‘simple concept’, writing).
As I look back nothing in Math 110 was ever going to filter into my mind because of the fact, I HATE MATH. My dislike, disregard, and hatred made me impossible to teach. I had years of bad experiences so by the time I got into a college course there was no help for me. I failed out of that class and decided that I wouldn’t take Math again until I was ready.
Fast Forward eight years. That’s how long it took me to go back to school. After the disaster of the semester I had with Math and History 201 I needed a break. My break lasted seven years, another year was added on for Math. This time I took a class everyone told me was easy and simple when it came to mathematics, Math 106. That class was the best class and I wish it had existed when I had taken math previously. In this class ‘practical’ math was taught. Math that relates to doing taxes, budgets, and the like. This was math I could wrap my head around! It helped that during my vacation from school I worked a lot with money. The concepts were easy for me to understand because they built upon real world experience. This was Math for Me! Finally I found a type of math that I could understand!
I still hate math with all its shapes, theorems, and use of letters. *shivers* But I can see the practicality in it. My teachers were wrong, I never use Algebra in my everyday life, neither do I use Geometry. But they were right in that Math would be a big part of it.
I feel like I do this a lot online, depending on a blogging type service to make me feel content in my illusions that I am a writer. I’ve had multiple blogs across multiple platforms and in each and every single incarnation I’ve fooled myself into thinking, “This is the place. This is where I’m going to finally feel content!”. It usually takes about a five to ten month span before I start feeling tired of blogging. Tired of trying to think of things to say about life, the universe, and all that jazz.
This time is different.
This time I’m sticking to tumblr and not going anywhere else!
*Fingers Crossed* At least that’s what I’m hoping. I have this terrible habit of jumping from blog provider every time I come across a new one. I started with Xanga, then LiveJournal, next was MySpace, then Blogger, oh, then off to Wordpress next, and now I’m using Tumblr. Sometimes when I see a new blogging platform I feel like Dug in UP. I’m all happy and content and then sud… BLOG! Every, single, freaking, time.
BUT TUMBLR! I HAVE HIGH HOPES FOR YOU!
Why? Because I love my fandom Tumblr. It’s made it so easy to share with people the fandoms I enjoy by simply reblogging. From my searches I know I can even find things on here that others have created that will tie in to my life on a more personal level. Things dealing with my cultures, my religion, my political beliefs, my self image. Tumblr makes it easy to just use a simple gif or picture to get a point across. I love this place for that. I’m sure other blog providers do the same but it was here, on Tumblr, that I discovered how much power those things hold.
So Tumblr, I’m pinning all my blogging hopes and dreams on your shoulders. I’m counting on you to keep me focused and centered as I blog. I’m counting on you to provide what every other blogging platform couldn’t, contentment.
There are many places I’d love to visit but Great Britain is probably on the top of the list. I consider myself a bit of a Britophile, at least when it comes to literature, television, movies, and music. Not to mention I’m totally obsessed with Harry Potter and would love to visit all the places mentioned in the books.
If I couldn’t go to Great Britain then the next place on my list, which is a close second, would be New Zealand. I’ve got tons of family there and I love good food. Not to mention the fact that Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed there and the landscape is just breathtakingly beautiful.
Hmmm… it seems that popular culture is influencing my ideal places to visit just a tad. But then again that’s me!
This is my second tumblr account, for those of you who didn’t know. The first account I created was initially supposed to be a personal blog. A place where I could write down stories and thoughts and share them with family and/or friends. It ended up turning into an explosion of my fangirlness. I do have a few thoughts and insights posted but most of what is on the first blog deals with Doctor Who, The Avengers, David Tennant, Lord of the Rings, Back to the Future, and basically anything that I obsess over in my popular culture cluttered filled brain.
As much as I love that place, I feel strange using it to subject my followers to my personal beliefs about life, the universe, and everything in it. So I’ve created this bit of space for that.
In this bit of space I’ll share a bit more of myself, the other side of the obsessive fangirl. Here is where I’ll share the concerns of my mind, heart, and spirit. I’ll post a lot about my religion, maybe a few thoughts on politics, and a whole lot about how I generally view the world.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll like what you read, but it’s sure to be interesting!