Monday, March 21, 2016

Finding God when you feel low

It's easy to feel down in life. Winter is not an historically good season for me, and I also tend to struggle with anxious/depressed feelings towards the end of my pregnancies (I've got 9 weeks to go!). So, I've been a little down lately.

By Friday night this last week I had hit a really low point. I just felt like nothing was going right, and the future looked really bleak. I knew I should turn my burdens over to the Lord, but I was scared. I was scared that if I didn't worry about all these different things, my hopes and dreams wouldn't come to pass. I was worried that if I didn't put in this "effort" (worrying, and trying to make things happen) that I would be resigned to being average and always a little disappointed, that I could never reach the ideal life I wanted. I went to sleep very sad.

I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. I decided to make a list of everything I was anxious about. I was hoping that, if nothing else, I could kind of get my fears out and then be able to sleep. It was cathartic for me, and it helped me sort out exactly what things I was most worried about, and how they were related to one another. I read an inspiring article, which really comforted me and taught me things, and then I went to sleep.

When I woke up, my fears were still written down on those sheets of paper, and they were set neatly in the closet. It was symbolic for me, in a way, I felt like I was now separate from them, and they had their place. I was still in general feeling bad, though. While I felt like I didn't need to worry, I still didn't feel like I had the direction I needed to go in, and kept my scriptures and prayer as my source of strength throughout the day. By the end of the day I read one more article, and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

At that point I began to piece together the small bits of comfort I had received throughout the last few days and months. I could see that God was speaking to me, and I was listening. He had been giving me a subtle direction, and it was my own fear and doubt that made me second guess or want to change that direction. Now that I had taken the time to see God's hand, and recognize his Love for me, I could finally put my fears to rest. I could repent and change who I was relying on.

I have wondered in the past if these kinds of hard experiences and sad feelings are just a part of life, as part of the "opposition in all things" we are to experience in our mortal test of life. But a quote we heard in Stake Conference this past Sunday really struck me.

"Trials and tribulations will come, it's inevitable. But misery is optional."

The part of life that should be hard, and is hard, is choosing right. It's choosing to rely on the Lord. This is the part that's hard, not life's actual, physical challenges, because those,  once partnered with your Heavenly Father on, can be conquered. They can be conquered by weak people.

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you... for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." -Matthew 11:28-30

When you decide to have faith, you are making choices, taking steps into the darkness sometimes without a resounding confirmation that your choice is right (or at least, an answer unrecognizable to you). Giving your burdens over to the Lord is hard, it means you aren't in control of the outcome. Emotionally, it's a leap of faith to say, "I'm not going to try and control this outcome anymore. And the outcome will bring happiness, despite me not being in control." It's hard to say that! Our logical brain says, "My expertise and experience is the key to solving this issue or problem." Faith says instead, "God's wisdom is better than my wisdom."

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord." -Isaiah 55:8

These are the problems that are hard. Not knowing for sure if something is true, and trusting that God knows best. Facing the unknown with faith. These are the tests of life, it's what we were put on this earth to face and conquer. We can't simply accept holes in our faith, or deny the peace and comfort He provides this time. What God has in store for us is always, always better than trying to solve it ourselves.

Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us. -President Uchtdorf

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