Sunday, March 5, 2017

I Tire of Me

Angel of Death by Gold-Seven
In The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, there is a scene where Death (the narrator) is wondering about God. In wondering and questioning why, why all these people? Death says, 

"I blow warm air into my hands, to heat them up.
But it's hard to keep them warm when the soul still shivers.
I always say that name when I think of it.
Twice I speak it.
I say His name in a futile attempt to understand. "But it is not your job to understand." That's me who answers."

Then Death continues, "Your job is to..." And then I stop listening to me, because to put it bluntly, I tire of me."

That is how I have felt lately....I tire of me.

The past several weeks, I have had things brought to light by myself, by others, even by strangers, that I am sick of. I am sick of getting down on myself for things that don't matter. I will replay scenarios and conversations over and over and over just to make sure I didn't do something wrong, or say something upsetting or offensive.The "people pleaser" in my has taken full affect, and to my detriment. My paranoia of making sure everyone is always happy has taken a toll not just on my emotions, but also my physical state.

In this discovery, I am learning what it TRULY means to "please others." Before, I thought it was to make sure someone was happy with me all the time. But, duh....I can't control that. To please others was very surface for me, and I always came back with anxiety about an interaction.

I failed to grasp the deeper principle.

In the talk Which Way Do You Face, Elder Lynn G. Robbins captures the essence of what I have learned, "Trying to please others before pleasing God is inverting the first and second great commandments (see Matthew 22:37–39). It is forgetting which way we face. And yet, we have all made that mistake because of the fear of men."

My fear of man runs deep, but is something I feel like I am overcoming. When I relax the small things (reading scriptures, praying, attending the temple, FHE), I find this fear comes back full force. The adversary is very aware of my shortcomings, and knows this is my "go to" when I am straying away from the Word of Christ and Love of God.

I have had many angels help me in my effort to strengthen my relationship with Jesus Christ and My Heavenly Father the past several weeks, including:
Pilgrim of the Cross at the End of His Journey. Thomas Cole. 1848.
  1. During a conversation with one of my supervisors, I relayed that I was struggling to feel valuable to the organization. I wasn't trying to demean the organization, nor leadership - but approached the topic with my supervisor in hopes to get advice for what I was doing wrong, how I could be more efficient, or what I could do to do my job better.

    The past several weeks, I have examined why I have a need for constant feedback, and why I like to know that what I am doing is good, bad, amazing, not so amazing, etc.

    It was at that moment that my supervisor expressed that as long as my relationship with Heavenly Father is in tact, I will feel value/valuable in all other relationships, or whatever work I pursue. It was that moment, I knew my relationship with Heavenly Father was not where it needed to be.

    This was the culminating moment where I realized my pride was being broken down in a VERY loving way from an EXTREMELY loving Heavenly Father.

  2. I attended an All Employee Conference where the HR Director from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke about leadership and becoming Disciple Leaders. Part of the training the church administration uses includes an exercise of asking Heavenly Father, "What Lack I Yet."

    I was not ready to ask this question. At this moment, I knew that this is what Heavenly Father was waiting for me to do - so that we could strengthen our relationship. I didn't know if I could handle what he needed of me. Without really asking, I know Heavenly Father allowed me to think/ponder the idea of asking Him "What Lack I Yet," for a little while. I am grateful that He gave me this time.

    I still haven't asked Him, but feel like I am learning anyway.

  3. There are some foundational things that aren't in place in our marriage for us individually, and therefore not in place for us as a couple. We both recognized the need to seek help to overcome some habits that have turned extremely ugly in our marriage.

    Our amazing Bishop is helping us with those foundational elements that are deep rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. His encouragement and testimony of our Savior's ability to heal and help us overcome our challenges has restored in me hope....something I haven't felt in a long time.

    The other night, our Bishop gave me a blessing. Prior to the blessing, I shared with him that I am being humbled right now, and in this state my pride is being broken down....and it is painful. It is so painful.

    The blessing was sacred, but I want to share that this period of being humble is far from over. However, I left the Bishop's office with a renewed sense of hope, a remembrance of Heavenly Father's love for all of His children, and with a surety that when I rely on Jesus Christ, I will be able to withstand, carry, power through, and be so incredibly happy.

  4. In a situation where I was supposed to be advising, I found myself being advised. This young lady pointed out: there are many people willing to die for Christ....which is highly admirable. Yet, how many are willing to live for Him? She continued that when she stops doing the small things, like reading scriptures, going to the temple, praying morning and easy it is to fall short.

    I valued her perspective and realized that I had been falling short. I know one of my Happiness Project Commandments is #8
    It is part of life's learning experience to fail - what is failure anyway? But this is something I realized CANNOT be compromised. I can't fail in this.

    Please don't misunderstand, I GET the reality that I may not do this sometimes. But the conversation renewed my conviction, and buoyed me through this turbulent time.
There are so many other moments that have helped and are helping me along the way. 

Going back to The Book Thief, after Death says "I tire of me," Zusak writes, "When I start thinking like that, I become so exhausted, and I don't have the luxury of indulging in fatigue."

The talk The Need for Total Commitment by Theodore M. Burton, states, "It is true that we each have imperfections to overcome. Life is a constant series of challenges and trials. Notwithstanding, we should never fail to strive for that perfection of life which can bring us closer into harmony with God. As the apostle Paul said in writing to the Philippians:

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as [would] be [come] perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Philip. 3:14–15.)

Thus we should seek to overcome any discovered fault in our characters which tends to take us away from a total commitment to God."

I don't have the luxury of being in this life with half my foot in the door and half my foot out the door. The time is now for me to commit fully.