Monday, April 7, 2014

Self Evaluation

So this past week has been such a marvelous week for me! I spent time with good friends, finished school assignments early, spent time with much of my family, and I got to eat good food! The best part of my week though was General Conference, obviously. Here are some of my favorite highlights:

Faith is the answer to fear 
This principle is one that was a direct answer to my prayers. With faith, all is well. Patience is something I lack. I am an analyzer that likes to have every moment of my life mapped out and without the essential aptitude for patience, my planner soul gets frustrated and anxious. Patience is a necessary part of faith. I often overwhelm myself with fear and with angst. One of my favorite quotes says "Stop worrying about what can go wrong, and get excited about what can go right." There is so much stress that can be saved when we focus on the positive outcomes, when we remain hopeful and optimistic. I've had to learn that if I trust God and I am faithfully doing what He asks of me, my life will turn out just fine - probably better than I imagine because I always tend to imagine the worst. Faith is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. (Yes I totally just half-way quoted both Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia and Nelson Mandela.)

Put God first
I feel like this theme was talked about over and over and over. Or maybe I just picked up on it over and over and over because it is what I need to learn in my life right now. When we put God first (just like faith), life is a bajillion times better. It's not always easier and life can still suck, but at least there is someone who will love us and stand by us and guide us when it does suck. I completely testify that when we put God first, when we put prayers, scripture study, temple attendance (or working towards it), service, and His Will before anything else, our life will be smoother, our soul will become lighter, our countenance will become brighter, and life will seem much more hopeful and manageable. God knows the desires of our hearts, so it's completely okay to mess up. He knows when we are putting Him first. He knows our mistakes and challenges versus our deliberate and spiteful sin. His love is everlasting, infinite, and always accessible. We need to allow ourselves to feel it and make Him a priority in our life. Isn't the best way to show someone you love them is by showing them that you care?

The Gospel is individualized
This is something I feel very strongly about. Parents raise their children in generally the same way - taking them on the same vacations, reading them the same books, feeding them the same meals, and enforcing similar rules. Yet for each child the parent has to individualize advice, discipline, rewards, activities, and guidance. This is because each child, though similar in aspects, is very different and unique. The same goes for each of us and Heavenly Father. He provides us with the same covenants, blessings, and love, raising us to follow His commandments and teachings. But each human that has, does, and ever will live on the earth is completely unique spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and culturally. He knows that and He knows us. That is why it is important to take the necessary steps and follow the necessary fundamentals, but it will be at a specific time and place for each of us, because we are all different.
We each can and do have an individual relationship with our Father in Heaven and He is going to guide us in ways that are not only wonderful and eternally ideal for our lives, but particularly personal and spectacularly specific. That is why we should not and truly cannot judge each other. If we are turning to God and allowing Him to work with us, we cannot go wrong - whether the neighbors or grandma agree with our choices. Timing is everything. Trust is everything. Confidence and peace come with God, there is no doubt about that. The Gospel is so unique, that is why the scriptures are so big - they're full of secrets. (Secrets in the sense of personal evaluation). There is something for everyone and lessons that can be applied to one person that mean nothing to another. Stop judging. Worry about your life and your relationship with God. Help others but never critique or moderate someone's personal relationship with our Father in Heaven.

Service! Truly and absolutely my favorite thing. I might not rake leaves or cook dinner for the neighbors every other night, but I truly try my best every day to serve others. It is very hard, especially because I am a very selfish creature, but I believe service is such an amazing thing that brings you closer to each other, God, and yourself. With service comes the Atonement. I could write books upon books about that miraculous Act, but I'll keep it short: the Atonement is the most beautiful, selfless, and completely magnanimously encompassing occurrence that ever has and ever will take place. The price has already been paid for each and every single human and soul. All we have to do is use it. Just use it. It is simple. It is beautiful. It is just lying on the kitchen counter waiting for us to pick it up. Pray that you can use it, find yourself using it. It is so much more simple (incomprehensible, but simple) than humankind makes it out to be. We are serving God, ourselves, and others when we use the Atonement.
Another thought with service: I really loved both Elder Teh and Elder Rasband's talks. I think they each touched on important things concerning service. One, that service is not an idle act, it is the most beneficial way to spend our time and will allow our hearts to lay with treasures and things of divine and eternal importance. Two, being a disciple of God includes serving others. People need prayers, encouragement, support, comfort, and kindness. Service allows us to see ourselves and others in a Divine, God like way.

Oh my. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk. Pretty much just read his talk and it'll sum up everything I want to say about gratitude. I loved these two three thoughts: 1. gratitude is not a thought - it is a way or a disposition of life 2. do not have gratitude of the lips, but gratitude of the soul 3. we can choose to limit our gratitude to the blessings we feel we lack or we can choose to be grateful no matter what, with the type of gratitude that surpasses all grief and pain. Please just read his talk. It was beautiful.

There are about a million other things I could say. There was not one talk that I did not love. They all had such important and brilliant messages. Some other things I got out of Conference: be consistent, revelation requires work, the Gospel is not a checklist of things to do but something that lives in our hearts, preparation, do not carry unnecessary burdens, be an example of happiness and bliss, build my foundation on the rock of our Redeemer, love e v e ry o n e, find peace through the Savior, be steadfast, and have courtesy, courage, and compassion.

I love General Conference and the refreshment it gives me. I am so excited to read the talks and apply them to my life. Self evaluation is one the healthiest things that you can do and doing it with God is even better (:

*I also really love Elder Holland and President Monson's talks. I actually loved all of the talks. Please read all of them.

Oh and here's pictures of me and my Cat.

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