Learning to Want What God Wants For Us

Learning to Want What God Wants For Us

Have you ever felt yourself at odds with what you want? Or rather at odds with yourself and then at odds with God? I’m sure I’m not the only one. Sometimes what we think we want,  or what we do want is so strong that it overshadows everything else. We are positive we want this more than anything in the entire world. We become hyper focused on it. Whether it’s wanting to find the love of our life, or whether its to have children or the perfect job or career, or whether its wanting an eternal marriage and family. We become hyper focused on it and we shut everything else out. We don’t notice warning signs or even other people telling us the warning signs they see. We just don’t see it. Because we are laser focused on this desire so much that we have tunnel vision. The problem with tunnel vision is it blocks the view of the big picture.

Tunnel Vision

Even if our wants and desires are righteous and good, sometimes they aren’t what Heavenly Father has planned for us. That is the hardest thing to accept. How can my righteous desire be ignored? Why do some people seemingly have it so easy? We ask a lot of why questions to Heavenly Father. Sometimes it seems he isn’t listening. Sometimes it seems he is just ignoring us all together. We know this isn’t true, but be honest, doesn’t it feel like that sometimes? Here is the other thing I have come to realize, what if our righteous desire isn’t really as righteous as we think? I know….mind bender right? How could it not be if it is a good thing right? It isn’t a bad thing or doesn’t seem to be to us. But what if in the midst of trying to control the outcome of our righteous desire, we overstep some boundaries? What if we are so hyper focused on our desires that we actually go too far? Maybe we justify some behaviors or ideas because it fits our “righteous desire” and it fits the narrative that “we” want? I think sometimes this happens, where we get so focused on what “we” think we deserve and “we” think we want that we actually take a few small steps away from the iron rod, from the straight and narrow. We try to cut through an ally or field to get there quicker but we find that taking that short cut just got us lost. I think this happens more often than we think and it doesn’t make us any less of a righteous or faithful person. It makes us human. It makes us vulnerable to the attacks of the adversary for sure, but it doesn’t make us unrighteous.

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Now this is just me talking. This is just how I see it. I’m sure people will disagree with me on that. I mean how can one stray from the straight and narrow and still be righteous right? Seems contradictory. Here is what I think. I think the Lord knows our hearts. He knows us better than we know ourselves and he knows whether or not our intent was to be unrighteous or if we just got caught up in a momentary lapse of judgement that carried us a little to far, ultimately he knows where our hearts are.  Does that justify our behaviors? No, it doesn’t, there are always consequences to any of our actions (righteous or not) regardless of our intentions. But I also think, that sometimes the sorrow and pain we feel after recognizing our mistakes, are often punishment enough. Often times the pain and anguish to our hearts and minds serve as the consequence.  Yes there are harsher consequences depending on what the action was but often times the Lord is very merciful. Because often times we are the only ones that know that pain and the consequence besides God, and sometimes that’s enough. I think we are way more harsh on ourselves and others than God is on us. Let me actually rephrase that, Satan tells  us to be harsher on ourselves than God is on us. Satan tells us that all is lost. That we cannot make it back, that we have gone to far. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are never too far gone. We have never strayed to far, righteous or unrighteous in our desires. God is always there, he never leaves us. We may stray or wander, but he is always right there, never wavering, never flinching.

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I think the lesson sometimes, is that God wants us to trust Him and His judgement more than our own. This is hard to do for probably almost everyone. So even if the thing we want most, we can see, we can feel, we can almost touch it but it’s just out of reach, maybe it’s out of reach for a reason. Maybe even when we pray for guidance about our desires or what we want, maybe it seems we get no answers or maybe not the answer we want because it’s not for us. Maybe it is not what God wants, or in the alternative, maybe he does want it for us, but not yet.  Or maybe he has other plans and then again, maybe what he wants most of all for us is to want Him more than we want anything else. Maybe once we realize that God wants us to want Him first, then maybe he will grant our righteous desires in His time.

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I have been in the temple many times,  praying for my righteous desires to be fulfilled. Thinking surely he cannot deny me this. I have felt in the temple actions I wanted to take, and felt that they were absolutely the right thing to do or that I would be granted these things someday. I have received (what I thought was revelation in those moments in the temple even) and they have been wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but misguided. Because my request was based on my tunnel vision. My request and my prayer was based off of what I wanted so badly without being able to view the entire picture through my tunnel vision. So it can be tricky when sometimes even in the temple our own desires, our own way of thinking, drowns out what the spirit is actually trying to communicate with us. In short, sometimes, our tunnel vision makes us deaf, dumb, and blind, even in the temple.

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So what is the best thing to do? Do we stop praying, studying the scriptures, going to the temple? Of course not! But maybe we change our focus. Maybe instead of praying for what we think we should have or what our righteous desires are, maybe we pray for other people. We pray in gratitude and be grateful for what we have. We go out and serve others and forget about our so called righteous desires. Because if we lose our selves in service to others we just might realize that then we are wanting God more than anything else. We are serving Him if we serve others. Then, I think, our righteous desires may be granted (again if it is God’s will and not our own). For if we are in the service of our fellow beings we are only in the service of our God.  Maybe we should stop tying God’s hands with all our righteous desires. Let go, and get out of the tunnel, then we might see God’s whole glorious picture the way He sees it.

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Life’s a Journey, Not a Destination

Life’s a Journey, Not a Destination

My life can best be described as me rushing to get to a finish line that doesn’t exist. You know what I mean? You have a goal in mind, whatever it might be, and you think to yourself, once I reach that goal….then…..then I’ll be finished. Then my life will make sense. Then I will be happy. Right? Is that just me or does anyone else do that? So what always happens is I get to that goal and then I think YES! I’ve made it! I finally arrived! I can relax cause I’m done right? WRONG! Because life is a journey and it’s ever changing and there is no destination. The only destination that exists is the fake one you created in your head. So what I have been trying to do this year is enjoy the journey. Which is hard for me, because there is a deadline right? I have to get some where after all! It must be working with attorney’s for 19 years and working under deadlines that has probably hardwired that thought into my brain. Although, that work never ends either. There is always another case, another file, another client to work with right? It’s never ending. Kind of like life. It’s never ending. Well, until it finally ends and we die, but then that isn’t the end either is it?

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What this awesome year of 2017 has taught me is that life is so much more than just going to work, earning money, and paying bills. It’s about enjoying the journey we are all on. It’s about making time for your family and making new friends and throwing conventions out the window and just enjoying what’s in front of you. The reality is this life sucks sometimes, and it isn’t fair most of the time. We get let down, we get hurt, we get frustrated and angry at our situations but those situations are temporary.  This life is temporary and beyond this life is so much more that we can’t even really comprehend at the moment. This life is about learning to love ourselves. Learning to love each other. Learning that even if we get knocked down we can get up again and move on. That we don’t have to carry all of that weight with us. There are so many things that I can look at in my own life and just think….this isn’t fair. Why did I have to go through that or why did someone I love have to go through that? Why did my brother have to be in such pain that he took his own life? Why did his daughter, my niece, get ripped from our family by her mother? Why did those things happen? They are truly heartbreaking things. But you know what I’ve learned is that there is a plan, and we don’t know the entire plan. We don’t know what God knows. Will I ever see my brother’s daughter again in this life? I don’t know. But…..after this life we are promised that if we endure to the end and keep the Lord’s covenants that it will all work out after this life! What?! Seriously!  I mean, yeah, it sucks right now….and we wish to be with loved ones now but this life is very temporary and very short in the grand scheme of things.

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Basically, everyone has different trials they are faced with in this life and no two people have the exact same trial and even if it is similar, no two people have the same reaction or solution to that trial. Sometimes the answer is to just be patient. Sometimes the answer is that a particular blessing isn’t meant for you in this lifetime. Sometimes the trial is accepting the fact that you didn’t get what you wanted when you wanted it. But it doesn’t mean you go without forever. I’ve spent a lot of years feeling sorry for myself for one reason or another because no matter how hard I tried, things just didn’t connect like I wanted them to. The problem was that it was what I wanted, and I didn’t stop to think that maybe it wasn’t what God wanted at the time. Maybe, I just needed to be humbled enough to where I could actually see the Journey and not focus on the destination. I needed to take a certain path that really was quite hard to take before I could see the beauty in the journey.  When I was shown that path, when I was humbled enough to look outside myself, in the blink of an eye, I saw the light. I saw the journey, I saw the miracles and the blessings. We spend so much time worrying about what we don’t have, we don’t stop to look at what we do have.

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If we look to God in all things, and rely on His wisdom and spirit to guide us, we will find that while the journey might be long, and hard and unfair sometimes, He promises that He will make it worth it if we endure to the end. There are so many things that distract us from the journey. When we are worrying about those things we are thinking about the destination and not thinking about living the journey. However, focusing on the journey of life, on the gospel, and enduring to the end, will bring you everlasting peace and happiness for eternity! Eternity, so I hear, is a very long time….much longer than this temporary state we are in. So, Are we there yet?

Mental illness is a myth?

Mental illness is a myth?

I was scrolling through Facebook and came across an article that said “Everything you Will Miss if you Commit Suicide” then it followed with the caption of “suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you are no different. But we need to talk about it.” This caught my attention for 2 reasons, (1) because it is true and (2) because my brother died by suicide in 2009, so I instantly see posts like that. They just jump out at me. So why does my title say “mental illness is a myth?” I say that for a number of reasons. Number one though is because I don’t believe that it is an “illness” so to speak. What if it is just how you are wired? I mean essentially it is. You are born a certain way, with a certain personality, with a certain way of thinking and sometimes your internal wiring is different than the average person. So, why should we call someone that is wired differently, mentally ill? Why should that term be used? Doesn’t it just further stigmatize the idea that the person has something “wrong with them”? That they are some how damaged? What if the way they are is essentially the way they were meant to be. That God intended them to be different for a reason? I know, really nice idea right, but what’s my point? My point is, that maybe if we didn’t label everyone who was different as “Mentally Ill” we might have less suicides.

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Think about it. If you feel different your whole life, if you are told you are different your whole life, if you are labeled with this affliction or that affliction your whole life, how are you supposed to feel anything but damaged? In addition to that, if you are diagnosed with this syndrome or that disorder, it becomes a part of your permanent medical file, it literally follows you your entire life. Sometimes it hinders the things that people will let you accomplish in life. So what if we said “mental illness” isn’t a thing. What if we just accepted that everyone is different and some people are a bit more different than others but they are still children of a loving Heavenly Father who loves them just as much as he loves you and I. What if instead of labeling people, we just loved them? What if instead of having government agencies and societal constructs that set these people up as failures, we let everyone be who they are without judgement? Without labels?

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Here is what I know (I don’t have a psychology degree or anything) but here is what I know for myself. I know that labels break people. I know that once you stick that label on someone, it’s over. They are now not human anymore, they are a label. People begin to talk about you, while you are in the same room as them, as if you aren’t there. You become this thing. This problem that people have to deal with. You start to feel like you are a burden to those around you. Then maybe you think, what if I just wasn’t here anymore? This is what I think, I think it is really easy to get from a label to a place of “people are better off without me here”. I recognize that I have even done this to people in my life who have been diagnosed with a “mental illness”. It is easy to see the problem and not the person. So, yes, I have wrongly done that, without realizing it. Now that I realize that this thinking, to me, is inherently wrong, I think it might be better to dispense with the titles.

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When you think about it, don’t we all have some sort of baggage we bring with us? Aren’t we all at some point or another “mentally ill” if you want to use that term? I’ve gone through depression in my life. I’ve been at very low points in my life. So why am I not “mentally ill”? Simply because a doctor hasn’t diagnosed me as such. But what if we just stopped looking at people as problems? People who see things differently aren’t problems, they are people, they are human, they likely feel very deeply about a lot of things. They likely know they are different and punish themselves for it. I’d like to stop perpetuating the cycle that people are problems. I’d like to recognize the true greatness in all people. That greatness that is God given, not man given. God loves all his children, he doesn’t see there problems as problems. He doesn’t see there quirks as issues. He sees all of us as we are, loves us where we are at. He doesn’t think there is something wrong with you. We need to be kinder. We need to insist that in schools and anywhere else that we interact with people that labels aren’t used. Maybe we say mental illness is a myth. This person is struggling with something and we just need to love them. We don’t need to label them, or break there spirits or talk about them as if they are a disorder and not a person. We need to see them as the awesome people they are, nothing else.

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I feel like if we do this, that maybe people who are struggling with whatever issue it is, will feel more comfortable coming to you and saying I feel this way, can you help me? The reason people don’t speak out about the problems they are having or feelings they are feeling is because of those labels. If I say something, they will tell me I am “Mentally Ill” and then that will be my life forever. Think about how daunting that is for a minute? To be labeled forever because you asked for help? Really? Is this the best we can do? I don’t know about any of you, but, for me, my new philosophy is that mental illness is a myth and everyone has a struggle that they are dealing with, and it’s okay because we all have struggles and we can all help each other. We should all help each other because God loves us unconditionally, regardless of our problems. He loves us. We need to do better. We need to stop judging. We need to recognize that people are not”ill” for being who they are.

To be honest, I was planning to blog about some very spiritual experiences I’ve had the last week, but this topic just jumped out at me and I felt I needed to address it because I feel like life is too short to let promptings like this go by. It is something I feel strongly about. I feel like this life is hard enough without labels. So why not? Mental illness is a myth!