Wednesday, February 18, 2015

#40Acts of Kindness for Lent

It's very possible that I'm the only one in the world that does this, but you wake up and the first thought that hits your mind is all the wrong in your life even though you have so many incredible, amazing blessings in your life. So you lie in bed, grab your phone, scroll through Facebook and have a pity party dreading to actually start moving. You've never done that? Ha... I knew I was the only one. ;)

A few days ago I was reminded about lent by a friend. I had heard of it over the years, but because it isn't something I typically practice it wasn't on the forefront of my mind and I had to learn about the details and purpose of it again. After I learned about it I kept thinking that I loved the concept, but I couldn't think of anything to give up. As I pondered  deeply, a thought came to me and not all at once either.

Let me tell you why I love the concept of lent. If you don't know what lent is, it's sacrificing something for 40 days leading up to Easter, as resemblance of Christ fasting. To me, it's a way of showing Heavenly Father you love Him so much you would be willing to do anything and everything for Him. It's an opportunity to break a bad habit and replace it with one that will bring you closer to Christ. It's a way to refocus your life even when you feel you have absolutely nothing left to give.

As I pondered and prayed about what I needed to give up and where my life was going, piece by piece my puzzle has started to be laid out for me. Okay, so I only have two pieces ha ha, but that is enough! I'm learning that's how God works, He gives you a piece you act and try to find the next one and as you're searching and willing to act, He will give you another one until you can see the entire picture. Faith and action go hand in hand and you don't consistently keep doing both, He can start to take the pieces away.

So back to that pity party of mine, that's what I'm giving up. I'm sacrificing the selfish thoughts I have in the morning. The second I wake up I have to roll out of bed onto my knees and pray, and in this prayer, I can't really pray for myself either. I am praying for others. I am praying to know who needs me throughout the day. I am praying for my mind to be open to opportunities of service and kindness. I am praying for an open heart and a willing mind to serve those who are put in my path. I want to lose myself completely and these upcoming 40 days are going to be hard but they are going to be life changing if I consistently choose to act on the pieces God has given me thus far. 

So today's the day to begin!!! I woke up before 6 today and said my prayers and I can't wait to see who is put in my path for me to help. But it's so much more than that, it's not about finding projects, it's about finding people to love, to selflessly love and not because I have to, and not because I want to be the one to make the difference. It's about finding people you were truly meant to be an angel for, because God placed them in your path for a purpose. And something tells me this is just the very beginning... I have a very deep feeling it's so much more than the eye can see. This will be a learning process and journey.

Want to join in? Watch this video and then check out the site!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

10 Comforts for the Anxious Latter Day Saint Heart

Anxious Latter Day Saint Heart

4. 2 Timothy 1:7 - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 

7. Isaiah 41:10 -  Fear thou not: for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 

8. Courage = Healing + Action + Grace  (amazing references in this talk)

I have anxiety. It's something I don't talk about too often but I think I better start because if we don't talk about, how are we going to raise awareness?

The first time I remember having a panic attack was when I was eight years old. My parents required me to take swimming lessons. I hated swimming lessons, my teacher would force me to go into the deep end of the pool and I literally pictured everything that could possibly go wrong. I thought I was going to drown to death and die. (The way I look at it, those with anxiety have a strength - it's called a wild imagination haha!) One summer morning my parents came into my room bright and early to help me get ready for swimming lessons. I felt sick to my stomach, this was the day we were required to jump off the diving board, I had never done that before and I dreaded the journey that lay in front of me this day. Well I went, not by my own will or consent. I ended up jumping off and it became one of my favorite activities. It was the fear of the unknown that was set before me that day that made me feel trapped and limited my ability to think clearly.

To this day I still experience anxiety. As my testimony has really become strengthened and anchored in my Savior Jesus Christ, it has affected me less and occurred much less frequently. I remember a time where my testimony was growing at a rapid pace and I thought my anxiety had been cured forever. As much as I believe in the atonement and that Christ can take away our pain, my anxiety comes back from time to time. I hate it, if you have ever experienced anxiety before, you know how miserable it is. Words can't explain how trapped and hopeless you feel. It's as if you have no control over the situation and you have no control over your faith no matter how much faith you desire to have.

I've learned that anxiety usually enters my life for a reason.

Heavenly Father needed me to walk on my own to test my strength and see if I would seek Him in my times of trial and grief. Sometimes it will appear as if I have been forgotten and Heavenly Father's peace has left me, but it's an opportunity for me to turn my heart to my Savior Jesus Christ and to choose to love Heavenly Father with my own free will. He wants me to prove that I will be faithful no matter what I face. Anxiety is actually a gift if you think about it, it's an opportunity to show your love, faith, and devotion to Heavenly Father. Will you still choose Him no matter what pain you go through. 

While I don't like to refer to anxiety as a weakness because often it is a chemical imbalance in the brain you have no control over, I refer to it as a weakness for the fact that I can't ever get through it on my own. When I'm left in the dark and feeling alone it reminds me of 

Ether 12:27

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all me that humble themselves before me:for if they humble themselves before me; and have faith in me, then I will make weak things become strong unto them."

It's a weakness that has me calling upon Heavenly Father. I need my Savior Jesus Christ to bring peace and comfort to my heart. I can't do it alone. He knows my weaknesses and He wants me to remember that I am absolutely nothing without Him. (Alma 26:12) My faith comes from Him. I have to remember that I don't know all of His plans, but the only thing He asked me to do is to trust Him. Heavenly Father loves each of us so very much, He doesn't want us to be in pain forever but He allows us to experience pain to grow and change and become like Him. He has so many great plans for you personally and sometimes pain is the only way to get from point A to point B.

What if we were more open in talking about anxiety and we helped society to not think of it as a burden and limitation, but as a blessing and an opportunity?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Be Bold in what you believe

I've been thinking a lot about the word bold lately. A dear friend whom I admire as much brought to my attention my lack of boldness in certain areas of my life. I then found myself reflecting on the word bold.

At first I was hesitant in the need to change. I'm not a bold person because I live with this constant fear that I'm going to offend someone. But as I've thought about it more, being bold is standing with declaration of truth and righteousness! It's being shameless about your beliefs and making statements that allows everyone to know where you stand and what you believe in. It's someone else's choice to choose to be offended by the declarations you make and you can't control everything. If you were never bold, you would go along with everything and probably have close to zero standards. That does not sound like a Christ-like life to me.

When I think of the word BOLD: I think of brave, courageous, shameless, forward, without hesitation, and making your point so clear that there is no room for others to question what you meant.

Even in the scriptures, Jude exhorts the Saints to defend their faith by “earnestly contend[ing] for the faith” (Jude 1:3)

I think being bold could have saved me from a few situations throughout my life. When you are bold, you are choosing to care more about what Heavenly Father thinks of you and less about the world's opinions. I used to believe confidence came AFTER you had done all that you could to fit in; you know the latest styles, coloring your hair, perfect makeup, flat abs, a nice tan, and choosing to never disagree with others opinions you didn't support. Goodness, I couldn't have been more off! I know without a doubt, confidence comes from the Holy Ghost. How do I know this? Because I have lived it. 

I declare that you DO NOT AND SHOULD NOT strive to fit in with the world to find self-esteem, you will never find enough of it! You'll constantly be looking to the world again and again for fame, attention, glory, and approval and slowly but surely little pieces of who you are will be chiseled away. 

Coming to know who you are and having confidence in 
that has to start by coming to know Jesus Christ. 

The world doesn't teach you that. The world tells you to do whatever you want because that's staying true to who you are. But what if you are so lost and confused from the chaos of the world that what you think you want is so far away from WHO you are deep down in your inner core?

Here's my full-heart pledged belief; I believe that you were a spirit in Heaven, Heavenly Father designed the perfect body for YOUR spirit. Your individual worth and unique gifts and talents began up in heaven. These divine qualities that are yours have always been apart of WHO YOU ARE! Your spirit lives inside of you and knows exactly who you are and what you believe in. That is never changing. After you observe societal behaviors and you see in media that morals don't really matter because you only live once, your soul and body start to forget what your spirit already knows about who you are. Society starts creating this formality of who you are and who you should be and pretty soon you have forgotten your purpose. So you start searching the world for things that you think will bring you happiness and confidence only to find that you have moved further than you ever thought was possible from the REAL and TRUE you! Please tell me then how you are supposed to be confident when somehow society has blinded you of what you believed in and your individual worth all along.

If I could tell girls anything, or really anyone for that matter - I would stand upon the peak of Mount Everest and shout at the top of my lungs that CONFIDENCE AND FINDING WHO YOU ARE COMES FROM FINDING OUT WHO CHRIST IS FIRST!

That is my loud and bold declaration to the world. I have never been so confident about anything in my entire life. My pageant years, I was trying to be who I thought the judges wanted me to be. I thought if I had their approval and I wore a crown on my head, then I would be confident. It wasn't until I searched with my whole heart, might, mind, and strength to learn who Christ was and to follow his example that I found myself and realized how confident and happy I was in everyday life. Sure, I still like to get ready to appear that I take good care of myself, but I suddenly found I wasn't obsessing over breakouts or bad hair days. I was able to feel confident about the talents and hobbies I do have and not worry so much about the strengths that seemed to be lacking. When I truly learned who Christ was and the peace he offered flowed into my heart in a way I had never experienced before, it was only then that I felt what I lacked, didn't matter. It's through his grace that he makes up the difference and I feel this confidence that is unshakable and reminds me exactly of what my spirit has always known even before this life. 

BE BOLD! Be bold in what you believe and be bold in staying true to the individual worth your spirit was designed upon.

Don't try to fit into the world because I can promise you with my whole heart you will never be happy and you will always feel like you're not staying as true to yourself as you could be. This is my testimony I leave with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

P.S. I REALLY like this post. Because I desire to know Christ more than I have ever known him before, I didn't watch the super bowl last night. It's important for me to guard myself from all things that could take away the spirit. We all have different beliefs but this is my bold statement that I don't support sports on Sunday's. I'm not better than you because of it and I have absolutely NO right to judge you if you have different views or beliefs. I just wanted to declare boldly what I believe.