We live in trying times. We live in a world that doesn't what us to know who we are are or what we stand for. A world that runs on an entirely different set of priorities than most of us are trying to run on. A world that puts ~ your status, how much money you make, how you dress, how you look, what your weight is and what your job is ~ well above all the things about you that truly matter. Sometimes, I think that we can be our very own worst enemies. We can do more damage to ourselves because we buy into the worldly views around us. For me, there are some very simple points that "the world" works on to help us wreck our own lives.
- Get us to pick on and squabble with one another.
- Confuse us about who we really are.
- Keep us from understanding the Atonement
I have also learned that there are usually three sides to any story. Your side, my side, and the facts. The facts have a bad habit of being scarce where gossip is involved. Women are nurturers by nature. We can do so much good if we will just nurture and care for one another.
I use a simple test to monitor for this in my own life. Just see today as you go about your business, how often you are tempted to say some snotty, little, thing about someone else. Then don't say it. I think that every one of us deserves to feel accepted, nurtured and loved. What we really need is to hear from others, "Don't worry, you can do it!"
The opposite of criticism is an outpouring of love and support. How would your family react if they received this from you instead of nagging, yelling, or even ordering? (and yes, I have been known to behave that way from time to time). How would your life change if you had the love and support that you needed today? How would your life change if you gave that same love and support to those around you?
We need to know and believe that we are daughters of God, first and foremost. We are here to do His will and follow His example. We are princesses of a Heavenly King! (I totally love that concept! I think all girls, and women too, should be treated like princesses). You are not and never have been anything or anyone else. Knowing who you are, helps guide us to know what things in our lives are most important. When we are confused, we chase after the things that the crowd follows. We lose our way in the confusion of the world. It is like being in a maze, searching and searching for the way, but unable to find it.
John 14:4-6For me, part of understanding the atonement is to realize that we only need to look toward our Savior to find the way home. He is the WAY. He will lead us. He wants us to come to Him.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
I have learned that one of the biggest mistakes we make is the failure to forgive ourselves. For me, forgiving others is not that hard. I get mad, I think about it, I forgive and it is gone. But forgiving myself, that is the problem. I hold grudges against my own mistakes in ways I would never do to another.
I know what the Atonement was for. I know that Christ lived and died for me, but somehow, there seems to be this part of me that thinks it must have been for everybody else. Somehow,my understanding of that wonderous miracle, doesn't apply to myself.
I struggle with that one on a daily basis. I make mistakes daily. I should know better. I should do better. I should be better. Often, I think that part of understanding the great miracle of God's love is showing more kindness to myself. And so, in this difficult struggle, I tell myself, "There has only ever been one perfect person in the world. And you (insert your name as I insert mine) are not Him".
So today, be a little kinder to yourself. We are all learning. We are all growing. We are all trying. Just because we are not in the same, exact place, does not mean that we are not individually doing our best. Finding joy in the journey is a process. It is learning to put the things that are most important first, and allowing the others to find their place. It is the process of accepting that we are all imperfect people in a trying, difficult, challenging, destructive, fault-finding, belittling, and unforgiving world. We are all trying to change it to be just a little bit better than it was before we came here. Let us all follow Him, let us listen to His words, let us practice His example. Let us find joy in our own journey as we seek to be more like Him.