Friday, August 30, 2013

The Great Escape Artist

I'll be honest.  Summer kicks my trash.  Being a mom during the summer is harder for me than running a marathon (and that is not my idea of fun)!  Most days I wanted to yell at my kids, "YOU THREW OFF MY GROOVE!" and have them thrown out the window.

Summer full-time mom-ing throws into stark relief ALL my parenting/personality foibles.  The seemingly opposite desires to control those around me and keep everyone happy; to work hard and relax deeply; to keep the house tidy (at all times) and play freely; to sing joyfully amid complete silence.

As the summer progressed I found myself, struggling to balance life, the demands of my children, the chaos of happy (and sometimes not so happy)  play, and the managing of a household.  When I couldn't do it all, I began escaping into books, sneaking food to my room, eating with a closed door so nobody would ask, "Why can't I have cookies at 8 am?  I found myself thinking, I can't do it; I'm just going to ride out the storm.

Fast forward to today.  I have started running with a good friend who is getting into shape and has little running experience (AND she is joining the Army-- how cool is that!).  As we were running this morning I was explaining the difference between pushing through a run and relaxing into the run.  Powering through will get you to the finish line if you're close, but the goal is to relax and let your body do the work.  Your will can not overcome the workload-- it is irrelevant in running.  More energy is expended when power through something, than when you relax into it.  Surrender to the run-- or what ever workout you're doing and life will be fantastic.

Great concept right.  I've taught this concept many times; I've blogged about it before; I know this!  Maybe not.  Today I realized that I have been trying to Power Through my summer.  When the power method fails, I give up and escape into a my world of books/food/facebook/???.  My will does not need to be imposed, and I don't need to retreat.  I just need to surrender to life.  Allow my feelings to be real.  And run on.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Changing My Heart

I have had a hard time coming up with something to write for the past few weeks. Things have been going steady in my recovery, and I wasn't quite sure what the next step would be for me. For the last couple of weeks, I have had impressions from the Spirit guiding me to what the next step in my recovery should be, but I wasn't quite ready to take that step. Yesterday, I think the Lord realized that I wasn't quite getting it so He had to kind of beat me over the head with it (I am an incredibly stubborn person).

For the past few weeks, I have been feeling that I needed to start letting others into my heart. Due to things that happened as I was growing up, I closed off my heart to others. In fact, I built great barriers to my heart that only 5 people on this earth have been able to penetrate. Those people are my wife and children. I can honestly say that I have not even let my parents or siblings into my heart.

So anyway, I have been getting these impressions from time to time over the past few weeks, but I kept telling myself I was not ready to deal with the issues that caused me to close my heart in the first place. Yesterday, the Lord gently but firmly let me know that it is time.

During my scripture study in the morning, I found a cross-reference to this verse:
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
It was clear to me that, through the Atonement,  Christ is prepared to give me a new heart. He is just waiting for me. This was another nudge telling me that it is time and I need to move forward.

Later, while I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting, there was a talk about charity. While I was listening, this talk by Elder C. Max Caldwell that I read several years ago came back to my mind. In the talk, Elder Caldwell talks about what is meant by the "love of Christ." He lists three ways this phrase may be looked at:

  1. Love for Christ
  2. Love from Christ
  3. Love like Christ
I am beginning to understand that I have felt love for Christ and love from Christ, but I have never felt love like Christ. It is now clear to me that the next step in my recovery is to develop this love for others that is lacking in my life.

I know this is going to be incredibly difficult for me, and I am a little scared (and by a little scared I mean I am completely terrified) of what this process will require from me, but I also know that, with the help of my Savior, I will be able to give up my stony heart and receive the heart of flesh that has been prepared for me.