I have restarted this blog post over so many times, and it ultimately has led to it just sitting in my Drafts folder for over a month.
First, let me clear up any misconception. I am hardly strong. I’m not. If you know me/ been to one of my firesides/ heard my lessons/ read my blog/ watch my videos- I speak with much boldness. But I do so because I am the opposite.
Strong, not quite.
Faithful…definitely. Extremely. Confidently. Consistently. Fearlessly faithful- Yes.
I speak with boldness because things are hard.
I know how hard it is to keep going.
I know how easy it is to get discouraged, and to give up.
I know how tiring it can be, how exhausting it can be, or perhaps lonely.
I know that.
I also know how easy it is to overcome that. To conquer, push forward and stay happy.
No matter the person-no matter the situation-there is a way, a solution. And it is, and always will be, Christ.
I know that because I need Him, because I rely on Him- everyday, for everything!
I know that because I am here, smiling. Happy.
I know that because of where I am right now in life.
I know that because there are so many more things I could be doing. And the things that I am doing I can be doing so much better with.
But I know that simply turning to Him allows you to end up in places you never could have dreamed of- with opportunities you never could have imagined- becoming a better person you ever could have pictured yourself becoming.
It is not me. It’s Him.
Many of you have asked me the same question, what is it that keeps me ‘strong’. What are some tips and things I do during those trials, those hard times, and those times where I just want to lay on my floor and cry.
Your relationship with Heavenly Father. I grew up with somewhat of a religious background. Although, I was not interested in it at all -was not firm or passionate or knowing anything for myself. So for me, finding out for sure if there was a God was the first step. And if there was, if He really does answer prayers-what it is He wanted me to do. This should be your step one too.
Once I found out Heavenly Father answers prayers- (even though at the time I was convinced they were the worst prayers He has ever heard hahah)- I trusted every answer I got. If Heavenly Father said-this is right or do this- you’d want to listen, of course! It’s God! You’d be so silly not too!
Because of my East Coast culture, when I was learning/investigating the church there were a handful of things I didn’t understand, and things I personally didn’t agree with.
When I got baptized, the only thing I had a testimony of was that the Book of Mormon was true. I knew that there was more, and I was ok with that, but, that’s as far as I got. The biggest downfall- the biggest danger there is to yourself, is taking your confusion and questions everywhere but Heavenly Father. I guarantee you, that confusion will not go away and could even get worst. Do not let yourself turn to the internet or other people before Him. Do not do it. Don’t.
Right now, there is not a single thing I am uncomfortable with. There is not one thing that I disagree with. Not one thing that I am confused about. And it is because I turn to Him. First, and only. Because He does answer prayers. Because He will help you. Direct you.
(makes me think of 1 Nephi 15:7-9 “And they said: Behold, we cannot understand…” “And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?” “And they said unto me: We have not…”)
Priesthood blessings. I sure do put my home teachers to work, too. And I don’t know what it is about a priesthood blessing that scares us away from getting one. We feel like our situation isn’t big enough for one, or not important enough, or we even feel unworthy to get one. I know, I have felt all of those. But here’s the thing, that is all so dang invalid. Don’t make excuses. Don’t hold yourself back from blessings and counsel that are in Heavenly Father’s own words. Sometimes when we are confused or upset it is more difficult to listen and understand the spirit. This is the easiest way to figure it out. If the thought comes to me, or if someone suggests I get one, I do. That’s the spirit. And make sure you write it down after!
What other option is there? Have Heavenly Father, and Christ fix it, or, not do anything and hope things just get better soon. That’s how I look at it, anyway. Notice what I named this post. Stand or Fall. Alma 41:7-out of context, but good nonetheless. And it’s up to us which one it is. But I assure you, standing is only hard if we are making it for ourselves- If we do not do the gospel principals that are promised to be that ‘strength’ we need. Or perhaps, try a little and give up too quickly out of frustration, or exhaustion, or discouragement.
I love the Book of Mormon. I love it so much! Right after joining the church, nothing but hard times came. Nothing but sacrifice and loss came. It is the Book or Mormon that kept me going. Happiness is in there. Our own personal spirit is in there. Read it. But don’t just read a chapter and quit and say, ‘well that didn’t work’. Read it until you feel better. Allow that time for the spirit to work with you.
Just recently I was having a rotten day, and I was late for some plans I had. They called me wondering where I was, and because of my frustration and my east coast sass, and desperation to feel better, I yelled at them. Hahah. I yelled saying I am reading the Book of Mormon and I am not going to stop until I feel better! And not only did it come shortly after, but I felt better then I did before the trial. And I was learned. And I was physically filled with love directly from my Father in Heaven.
Experiment. This is my favorite part! How do you know what works and what doesn’t if you don’t try things in so many different ways. How do you know where your faith can get you if you don’t try it out, challenge it, put it to the test. Experimenting is not a bad thing! If you do it with prayer, it has been nothing but a testimony builder to me, every time.
A few random others that I rely on daily-
_Setting goals, and making it a priority to hit them.
_Keep yourself busy with things that have eternal worth to them. Could be a hobby, a habit, an activity. It will be a perfect thing to keep you away from worthless, and sometimes dangerous distraction. It will be the perfect thing to be learned. Be strengthened. Strong. Inspired. And just what you need to make it through those times when they arise. Why do you think I have a church blog, and make church videos and accept firesides and teach with the local elders and volunteer and the MTC, and everything that I do? Because I need to. Because I need those things to motivate me to have more time with the things that matter most. And the things that matter most, is this Gospel and what we do in it. I need those things to keep an eye on my testimony, and to constantly nurture it, help it grow. And then, stick to it. Hold yourself accountable.
_Pray daily in the morning to help others. To be His hands. To help his children. That has been the most humbling blessing in my life.
When I give firesides I spend much time speaking of the trials and losses I had been through. Bearing my testimony in sacrament I am honest with the trials I am currently going through.
But this isn’t about me, or my experiences.
It’s about you.
It’s about your experiences, and who He wants you to become.
But I speak of them, because you need to know that, that happiness did not ever go away. Through everything. It did not go away.
Not even for a second.
And not only was that happiness always there-but it got stronger!
And it’s because I did what I could to turn to Christ. Because that is why he is there! Now is not the time for Him to judge us. Not yet. Now is the time for Him to help us! It is! Right now!
You deserve to be happy always. And when I say ‘you’, I don’t mean ‘you’ in general. I don’t mean your friend, or those you go to church with.
I mean You.
And you can be.
Through everything the church offers. Through the priesthood. Through the spirit. Through our commitment to not fall, But to Stand!
And through Christ. Whom all things are made possible.