Monday, February 29, 2016

Gossip Robs the Love of God



Ever since I was called to serve as the Relief Society President of my YSA ward just over a month ago, I have felt so inadequate to my own ability and I have had to rely on the Savior and Heavenly Father in various unique ways as I am clearly aware that I am nothing without them. Oh how fragile my heart can be as I am left to my own strength; but as I rely on Christ and focus on Christ confidence more than self-confidence I feel strengthened and am reminded of what a great team I got the choice to be on. 

Someone that I have a deep trust in made me aware of some gossip that was being said about me at my work place. My heart sunk deep and I couldn't seem to shake her words off for over an hour. I kept thinking about the words that had been said, letting them play in my mind over and over again; wondering why she even had a desire to be talking about me and judging my story she knows next to nothing about. I was letting it eat at me and I noticed my heart was becoming hard. 

As I started to evaluate the situation from a new light; a renewed spirit entered my heart and suddenly I was reminded of the relationship I have with my Savior. All the times He carried me on a path I couldn't walk alone. I was reminded of the moments that only the Savior and I have endured and how those moments are my priceless story that no one in this world will fully understand and appreciate like I do until we become one heart and one mind and return to Zion. I was reminded that I don't need anyone else's love and approval because God is on my side and that is the only thing in this world that really matters!

I became so focused on Self-Confidence that I forgot to rely on Christ-Confidence. Christ confidence is the only way I can become whole and content in who I am and where my journey has taken me. If I focus on the world trying to understand it; well then I am giving away part of the greatest love, memories, and experiences I came to this earth to obtain.





My heart was hurt by gossip, especially when I am fully aware I am an imperfect human. I don't understand gossip, I don't understand why as a humanity we are always out to attack and tear one another down. It makes no sense to me; why would we want to diminish the love of God in our lives by doing such actions? 

I love this quote by Elenor Roosevelt; "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people." What a profound statement! 




Let's Say No to Gossiping:
 People trust you more when you don't gossip.

When I hear someone gossip to me about someone else, I don't like to hang around them for two reasons.

1) Gossip drains me. It takes so much energy and happiness out of me because of how much negativity it holds. 

2) It scares me to be their friend because if they have all this negative stuff to say about others, it makes me wonder just what they might be saying behind my back when I am not around.

There is more than enough hate in this world. There is too much judging, especially when we each have our own sins. Let's be kinder, more loving, more forgiving, and less critical.

The faults we are looking for and finding in others, are always in us too. Sometimes we are so certain we are not at all like those we criticize; but just ask God and He will prove that we are all a lot more alike than our human eyes can see. Ask Heavenly Father to help you see the faults within yourself as you are caught seeing them in others, He will show you and He will gently help you correct them.

As I prayed and sought Christ to help me let go from being the target of gossip, my heart became broken for the gossiper. Perhaps she is missing feeling the love of God in her life; because when we feel His love; we want to give it, not rob others of it. 


"When our hearts are filled with the love of God, we become “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving.”" - President Uchtdorf

Thursday, February 25, 2016

To Be Crowned By Christ


Art created by Robert Barrett - Thank you so much for collaborating Robert. 



Psalms 21:3 - 
"For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness:
 thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head."

As a little girl, it was all I could dream about to become a Princess. I imagined what it would be like to have a closet full of clothes only royalty would wear, living in a huge castle where there was a guard at every corner, and of course a gorgeous gold plated crown that showed a declaration of nobility would be placed on the crown of my head.

Since my princess dream didn't come true at my young age, despite wishing upon a star. So I decided to take matters into my own hands; I made the choice I would compete in a pageant to earn a title and a crown myself. I knew it would be hard work, but I had no idea nine pageants later with such great sacrifice and dedication I still wouldn't have the crown my heart had been yearning for. 

But one day it hit me, what if I had been seeking the wrong crown all along? What if I had been working so hard for a corruptible crown and Heavenly Father was saying "I want to give you an incorruptible one". (1 Corinthians 9:25)

I gave blood, sweat, and tears to that dream; literally. I gave it my all! I pleaded my heart out in prayer to Heavenly Father, and all along He had a different plan for my life.

"When life is cut too deep and left you hurting. The future you had hoped for is now burning. The dreams you held so tight left their meaning and you don't know if you will ever find the healing. You're going to make it! If your heart is breaking, there is a promise for the ones who just hold on. The sun is rising." - Britt Nicole


It's so easy to become distracted in this world by jewels and titles. We think what makes someone popular, beautiful, or of importance comes from what the world deems as success, but the world has it so wrong. This painting means everything in the world to me, when I first saw it, my eyes filled with tears. It's a picture of Christ putting a crown on my head. I didn't need a worldly crown to be deemed worthy or accepted; Christ already paid that price for me. 

I want you to picture yourself in this painting, picture Christ putting a crown on your head. The beautiful thing about crowns is most of the time when someone is crowned, it is a declaration of acceptance and self-worth. What do people do with their heads when they are insecure? They look down to the ground, their body language displays they are not happy, they are not confident, they don't feel secure. What would happen if an insecure person looks down with the crown on their head? It would fall off! We have to know who we are and that our individual worth and divine nature is found in Christ for the crown to stay on that Christ places on each one of our heads. And how do we know this? By coming unto Him an by following in His ways. 

When we aren't living with an open heart, we can't feel the love of our Savior. That love, that acceptance that Christ has for every single one of His children can only be felt as we are accepting and using the atonement in our lives. It is for EVERYONE. Inviting the atonement of Jesus Christ into my life is the greatest crown I could have ever imagined being placed on my head. Without Christ, I am nothing. Christ has all the answers and He is the only way to light and good things to come. 

The love my Savior has for me is everything to me. I love in the Book of Mormon where it says "After ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches." (Jacob 2:18) A hope in Christ literally feels as if you are rich. That hope in Christ is something I have to work on every single day of my life. 

That crown Christ puts on your head is a symbol of his
 love for you. Every day he crowns your head saying,   

 "You are worth it!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Forgiveness Builds Confidence



In my eyes, Cinderella is an incredible icon of self-esteem and confidence. Why do I say that? Because no matter who tried to cut her down, no matter how many cutting remarks her step mother and step sisters made, she never sought to seek revenge. It is the most humbling thing in the world to me! It takes a high self-esteem to have the humility to forgive someone of such cruel nature, just as Cinderella did in the end. 

Being in a conflict with someone can really hurt. Sometimes when a hurtful comment arises, all we want to do is scream and let them have it. But how often we forget that the true nature of our spirit is not one that seeks revenge. It isn't the person we are mad at that's the culprit here, it's Satan. He knows our weaknesses perfectly, he knows what buttons can be pushed to really get us angry and hurt; he uses that to influence others. As we act in anger and spite, we lower our self-esteem as well as self-respect and it takes away from our progress to be as Christ is. 

It sure takes humility to let something that was so hurtful just go. Words and actions can feel as if they pierce our soul to the very core, but it doesn't have to be that way as we turn to Christ and let Him in. 




So here's what you do to practice forgiveness...

1. Pray for the other person
2. Pray about the angry feelings you may have had
3. Make a list of 'I forgive's' (quite honestly this should be done weekly and sometimes you will be writing about yourself on reasons why you forgive yourself.)
4. Put yourself in their shoes, what are they going through right now?
5. Read scriptures so you can allow Christ to warm your heart.

Let's go back to #3. That's the most important one. 

It's important we ACT when someone hurts or offends us, but it's equally important we don't REACT! To act means we are choosing to take care of our emotional and physical health by not bottling our emotions in, but releasing them properly. 

Writing is one of the greatest tools we have because it puts us in tune with our subconscious mind which has every single answer we will ever need. As we write, we allow ourselves to be reminded of truth and we are reminded of how valuable we are which builds our self-esteem so we don't even have a reason to react. 

As we take action on turning our hearts to Christ and freeing ourselves from carrying burdens of revenge and grudge, we become free and self-esteem grows stronger, allowing our hearts to openly give more. 

There will be many times you will be angry at someone or something; acknowledge it, write it down, and then write down exactly what you are forgiving. If you don't want to remember it, rip it up and throw it away and you are FREE! Satan has no more power to let that action either by yourself or another to bring you down. 

FORGIVENESS - MATTHEW WEST


As I was in the temple tonight, I spent a lot of time praying over an individual who has hurt and offended me. My heart feels free to just let it go and allow Christ to take this heavy burden. It is in the process of letting go and trusting Christ with our whole heart, allowing him to carry those heavy burdens, that self-esteem and a greater understanding of our individual worth grows. Because Christ offers us forgiveness, we must extend it to others! 

GREAT RESOURCE FOUND HERE

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Our Relationship with Christ is the Foundation for All Our Relationships



It's said you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with; well if that's true and if the only person ever found perfect to ever live on this earth is Christ, then shouldn't Christ be at the top of that list?

There have been many moments in my life where my relationship with Christ is rock solid strong and I devote so much time to strengthening my faith in Him as I allow Him to enter every area of my life. Then I have moments where I let fear stop me from turning to Him, like He is going to fail me or something. CRAZY, right? I know, it's pure and utter crazy madness. It makes no sense to me, none! But that's how Satan works, He's deceiving in the little tiny ways. 

If you get anything from this post, please just remember this one line:
CHRIST WILL NOT FAIL YOU! EVER! 
No other person is fighting for your happiness and pleading for you to have eternal joy more than Christ! 

As I've been evaluating the relationships I have in my life, I've noticed a pattern; the stronger my relationship is with Christ, the stronger every other relationship in my life is as well. The more my heart grows closer to the Savior, the more I can grow and strengthen the relationships I yearn to grow. Without Christ, nothing grows; it just stays and over time it weakens. 

Christ is the glue to every single relationship and bond I desire to grow, without Him everything else around me crumbles. When I spend time with Christ, I am becoming more like Him which allows me to be a better a person and lift those around me. Without Christ, I become bitter, jealous, cynical, and weak. Christ allows me to be a light and joy to those placed in my life as my heart is pointing to Him.

There are quite a few Christ-like attributes that we need for any relationship to grow...

HOPE - 

Trials will come up in any relationship, they just will no matter what. But as you hope in good things to come, as you work through the hard times and develop confidence in each other, you will conquer discouragement and you become stronger together. 

CHARITY + LOVE - 

True love is about loving the other person more than you love yourself. It's about constantly thinking of that person and wanting to serve them. It's about finding time to think of that person and sharing them that you care through selfless acts of kindness and charity. 

But charity doesn't just relate to a romantic relationship, for any relationship to be strong we have to be willing to show that we can put that person first and that they matter to us. 

VIRTUE -

Virtue is living a clean and spiritually pure life. Without virtue in a marriage, there could be no trust and no unity. Virtue is also the ability to control your mind so you can resist temptation. It's about living a life of integrity and honesty because trust is essential to any relationship. 


KNOWLEDGE - 

Worldly knowledge is nice to have and can make some conversations really fun, but the important kind of knowledge to gain is knowledge of the scriptures because it is impossible for man to be saved by ignorance. Studying the scriptures allows the Holy Ghost to speak to our minds more easily and fully which can be a great benefit to grow any relationship. 

Just the other day I was frustrated by something someone I care for very much was doing. I kept seeing this action as a weakness and I felt irritated. Then the spirit taught me a lesson, I saw it as a weakness, but just maybe it was a gift. Perhaps I was frustrated by this action because I was looking at it through the wrong eyes. What if it was a gift given to this person to help analyze and see things in a new way. What if I was irritated by this action because it was a gift I had not yet developed so I couldn't see it as such just yet. Without the Holy Ghost and the knowledge it offered me, I wouldn't have been able to let go of something so small that could have hurt this relationship.

PATIENCE - 

Any relationship takes patience because no one is perfect. There will always be something that someone around us does that bothers us, it takes patience to address it and then let it go. It takes patience to overlook weakness and sometimes that is simply the only thing that can be done.

HUMILITY - 

Humility is not always having to be right, it's about loving the other person enough to not cause contention and to simply just let things go once again. It's about saying sorry even if you're positive that you are right. It's about serving the other person even if they did hurt your feelings. Humility is one of my absolute favorite Christ-like attributes because everything falls underneath it's umbrella. 

DILLIGENCE -

Diligence is about not giving up when a relationship gets hard and tough. It's about sticking through the rainstorms to see a beautiful rainbow in the end. It's about doing good things and putting everything you can into the relationship to look back and see just how far you have come.  

OBEDIENCE - 

If we aren't obeying God, we are inviting the adversary in to destroy every good relationship we have. Christ wants us to be happy! God wants us to be happy! Commandments are here for protection, not restriction. 


I testify that as we turn our hearts to Christ and spend time with Him every single day of our lives, really investing in this relationship, every other relationship we desire to be strong really does grow. The only limitation is that both individuals need to be giving their hearts to Christ, both need to be equally yoked in Him. That is not to say one couldn't influence the other. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Feelings and Emotions are Indicators of Where Our Heart Is



Being a girl with a sensitive heart has it's many gifts, but also can be very burdensome. A sensitive heart is such a blessing as it gives the eyes to see things differently, the heart to always be aware to not offend others, and the empathy to comfort and acknowledge when others are in pain.

This past weekend had been a hard one for me with my sensitive heart; hearing of tragedies, taking in negative energy from others, and my heart aching in behalf of a friend I care about deeply. So many things around me that break my heart and I kept taking on piece after piece until it started to pile high and I felt as if I might drown.

This morning I woke up to a text that nearly broke my heart. I got up, got ready for work and I couldn't stop thinking of why such terrible things happen to such good people. I wanted to fix it, I wanted to change it, I wanted to be in control of the ending of the story. 

I got to work with so many things weighing heavy on my heart, all I wanted to do was cry. I felt a little light missing from my spirit and gloom weighed heavily upon me. As I was trying to get work done, a co-worker I have had so much respect for in the past walked by and started making a few comments that made me feel attacked, comments that pierced my heart as if a knife had just gone straight through it. 

Wait a minute, what was happening? Why was I so offended by these words? And then it hit me. I had been trying to do everything on my own. Everything that was weighing my sensitive heart down was being carried upon my shoulders and not at the feet of the Savior. I hadn't been giving my burdens to him, I hadn't been using the atonement to the capacity I know my Savior would want and expect. He has already paid the price, so why was I letting his loving gift sit on a shelf to collect dust instead of using it?





Then I started to think about how moody I may have came across, and it was only because I felt a little bit worn and very much weary. So perhaps this co-worker didn't mean any offense to me personally and had burdens of their own, burdens they were not giving to the Savior either. Perhaps both of us were allowing Satan to influence our hearts more than Christ. Perhaps both of us were holding onto pride and power as if we were in a competition to win something so worldly that we had forgotten to look for the things that mattered most. 

Usually being offended stems from emotions of insecurity and fear. When our hearts our hardened, they grow very small and they shrink to the back of our chest, as this occurs we start to feel as if our ego is being threatened because we have lost the protection a softened and expanded heart can offer. 

It is absolutely fascinating to me that our feelings and emotions are indicators of where our hearts are at in the moment. And the beauty in this is the fact that we can then decide to make the choice to open them up and allow love to feel our lives. I can promise you that it is much more comfortable to have an open heart that is willing to give much and love whole than a shriveled heart that leaves no room for protection. 

To not take offense to the cutting words and actions of others, our hearts and minds have to be a little more Christ-centered and a little less egocentric. It's a decision that isn't ever going to be permanent, but one that we will need to make every single moment of our lives.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Wife I Hope To Be Someday

I spend a lot of time pondering about the girl I am and the girl I want to become. I have this ideal image of the wife I hope to be, it's absolutely nothing unattainable, but I know I need to work a little bit harder to get to where I long to be. Being a good wife is one of the most important things to me as I want to be able to serve my husband with my whole heart constantly. The definition of true love is to care more about the other person than you care about yourself. It's about making a choice of humility every single day, while still balancing working on being your best self.  

Goal setting is one of my favorite things to do. It's important we always know what we are striving for. I came across this blog post the other day talking about '23 qualities of a woman worth dating' and I am absolutely in love with this list. While I don't feel like any of those qualities were really missing from my life, it's a list that makes me want to be better and try harder. I am so in love with this list that I have put it next to my mirror so I can review it often and take a personal inventory of how I am doing. 

Here's the list:





Take this list; add to it, adjust it, pray about it. Whatever you feel to be right, do it. 

I personally feel the list is very close to the wife I hope to be. 


A few of my goals as far as being a good wife goes are...

1. Cooking meals all the time - families that eat together, stay together.

2. If something hurts my feelings, don't take it personally but get out of my emotional brain and into my logical brain to reevaluate the situation.

3. Focusing on how love is being shown rather than how I feel I need it to be shown.

4. Being a cheerleader for my husband at all times, always supporting his ambitions and goals.

5. Working out and eating healthy together. Health plays into everything!

6. Being open minded about hobbies, passions, and goals and always willing to try new things that my husband may be interested in.

7. To be easy going and less critical. I want to praise my husband, not constantly tear him down.

8. Keeping the home and yard clean and organized so the spirit can be with us.

9. Never yelling or fighting, but talking things out calmly if a disagreement appears.

10. Every day finding a way to serve him to show him just how much he means to me. 


Also check out the list of'23 qualities of a guy worth dating'.