Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fixing What I Can and Recognizing Small Victories

Last night, my sweetheart and I listened to the General Conference talk Like a Broken Vessel by Jeffrey R. Holland, the talk I wrote about in a previous blog post. While there were many things that moved me, I was struck by one particular thought: "Don’t assume you can fix everything, but fix what you can. If those are only small victories, be grateful for them and be patient."

Some of you know that I am a "solutioner." At work, if there is a situation or issue, people come to me to talk about all the different ways we can resolve the issue. In my relationship with my sweetheart, I find that I take the lead  - if there is a problem, I try to fix it. 

Just yesterday, my sweetheart informed me that his car was out of commission for the day. Since he relies on the transportation for his job, and I had driven to my carpool area making my car inaccessible, I listed out all the ways he could find his way to my car and use it for his job. I also had planned on going to a friends house right after work, and had come up with a solution to get there and get home should I need to because my sweetheart had the car. I had it all worked out. This greatly upset my sweetheart. He wasn't ready to have these options. In his mind, he already had a plan for what he wanted to do yesterday, including completing the odds and ends projects that build up around the house. Had I let him tell me what HE wanted to do, I wouldn't have come up with this straight shot trajectory-solution that was clearly headed in a direction so far off where he was planning on heading. 

When given an issue, my assumption is that I can fix it. Back in my early management years, I also thought that my way was the only logical way to fix a problem. I have really had to concentrate on breaking through that way of thinking, especially when it comes to working through life issues. It has really been a hard concept for me to "become as a little child" in order to follow Christ's example. I have had to practice  letting Christ guide me and let Him be the "solutioner." In addition, my way doesn't really play out when there is more than one person involved in a decision...something that doesn't really help in personal and professional relationships.

I find that while I am trying to figure out how to fix things, and it doesn't turn out the way I expect, it is easy for me to get discouraged. I tend to follow the same pattern:
  • First, I think that life and solutions should be a certain way, and I sprint for the outcome...most often faster than I have strength
  • Second, I feel like I am being guided toward one way or another
  • Third, I think that this is the only certain way, and when it doesn't turn out, I get disappointed in myself, and other people
  • Fourth, I get angry - angry with everyone
  • Fifth, I realize I shouldn't be angry at everyone, and then I get angry with myself for getting angry
  • Sixth, I become a little bit meeker, realize that being angry isn't worth it, and lean on Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father for more understanding
  • Seventh, I slowly build up courage to keep moving forward
  • Eighth, I gain the courage I need and am given the grand blessing - one that I never would have thought of for myself - and realize my outcome is only possible through the blessings of a loving Heavenly family
It is important during these "life moments" that I look at the small victories, and remember that the ultimate solutioners are Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. I have to do my part to bear up what I can, and cling onto those small victories along the way. 

Two weeks ago, my sweetheart and I attended our fourth Financial Peace University class. We learned about debt (pretty fitting with what is going on with our country). We learned how God describes how we are supposed to react to debt - we being everyone in the world. When speaking about debt, Proverbs 6:5 says: "Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler." We were shown a clip of a antelope running away from a cheetah. In the video, Dave Ramsey was yelling RUN, RUN, RUN, RUN. I can't put in words how I felt at that moment. Tears came to my eyes. I was overwhelmed by how much Father in Heaven loves His children. He sees the snares. He sees what can catch us. He is yelling RUN, RUN, RUN. He wants us to be delivered. Read more about the lesson. I was touched beyond measure.

Our little family's small victory last week was going to class. There were several things that could have prevented us from going. But, we needed to hear the message. We needed to know how to make a plan to pay off the student debt we have, and how to stay on top of our finances. We need to be mindful to teach our children about the importance of not spending more than they have so that when situations like what has happened in our country, happen when they are adults, they can be safe knowing they were guided by direct and true principles. 

Before we listened to Elder Holland's talk one more time, I don't know that I would have outlined 'going to class' as a small victory. Now I know that going to class meant so much more to my sweetheart and I than just attending something that makes us feel inspired. This class is helping us become better with our finances so that we can contribute more as a whole. We believe that with all our hearts.

There are lots of games we are playing right now that we want to succeed at: work, school, moving, family, care-taking responsibilities, finances, etc. I know that I can do my best to fix what I can, but that I need to keep in mind that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are the ultimate solutioners. I know that I need to be mindful of the timing associated with each victory so that I won't give up too early - so I don't get caught by the cheetah. I also know that recognizing small victories will help us attain larger victories, and that it is only possible when God is coach of the game.

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