Saturday, May 18, 2013

In The Pursuit of Happyness

Today's blog post comes from the outstanding movie Pursuit of Happyness, which did in fact make me cry for 3/4 of the movie. The one little part of the movie I got to watch on my break at work was after Will Smith gets his internship position and he's walking with his son to sell the bone density scanners. His son turns to his dad and says "There was a man who was drowning, and a boat came, and the man on the boat said "Do you need help?" and the man said "God will save me". Then another boat came and he tried to help him, but he said "God will save me", then he drowned and went to Heaven. Then the man told God, "God, why didn't you save me?" and God said "I sent you two boats, you dummy!" That quote is blown over pretty quickly in the movie but it's actually pretty significant. And it really stood out to me. Has God sent me boats while I've been refusing to climb aboard?

This is kind of embarrassing to admit but I've been pretty angry with the world lately. Sometimes I feel like that man who is drowning and begging for a sign, a savior. But what I haven't realized is that I'm not begging for just any savior, I'm begging for the savior I want. The guy in the story probably wanted God to drop out of heaven and pick him right off the waves. I don't necessarily wanted to be picked up out of my problems (but if you're offering, heck freaking yes!). But I have my own expectations for what I want as my saving grace. And it's definitely not something as simple and unglamorous as a boat.

That quote got me thinking, what if there are boats sailing by that are sent from God and I keep refusing that help? What if I feel like I'm drowning because I'm too prideful to accept help from the best source out there, simply because it's not in the form I want it to be? God gives me the boats I need, not the cruise ships I want. Sitting here typing, I can already think of many boats I've let sail past with climbing aboard. My family, my close friends, my boyfriend, and that's just the beginning. Sure, I might have held on the rims of the boat for a little while but I end up loosening my grip and falling back into the depths.

Take some time to look out for those boats that might be able to save you when you're in trouble. And beyond that, take some time to actually climb on and stop unnecessarily in the ocean we call life. Hop on the boat and enjoy the beauty of the world from the safety of the saviors God knows you might not want, but so desperately need.

Please enjoy this outstanding song about the woes of an obsessed stalker and have a lovely weekend :)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mission.... Impossible?

Today was stake conference for my ward and the overarching theme was missions. It was a really hard meeting to sit through. Not that stake conferences are easy to sit through under any circumstances but this one was especially difficult. As each individual got up to teach about the importance of missions, I sat in my chair pretty hurt and alone. After countless prayers and seeking personal revelation, I have decided not to go on a mission. It has never felt right for me to go and even as I type this out, I feel that same emptiness that came at the end of every prayer asking the Lord if I'm supposed to go. As time goes on, the answer no seems to get louder and more stern as I desperately begged for the answer to be yes.

This week, two of my closest friends told me that they are about to get started on mission papers. As excited  as I was for them (and I was absolutely beyond excited!), I was a little heart-broken. Why were these girls commanded to go on missions and I wasn't? Why wasn't I allowed to feel this same type of joy associated with preaching His gospel night and day? What had I done to be pushed down to the lowest rung of the ladder? Was I not a good enough person in the Lord's eyes? Could I not be trusted with teaching others? Was I too weak of an individual? There was one doubt after another and I was forced to conclude I wasn't good enough to be a representative of this church to the world.

As I was sitting in this meeting today, I remembered something my boyfriend had told me before leaving for his mission. We started dating only a month before he left on his mission and people really questioned my judgment on that decision. There were some times when I questioned it myself but I felt in my heart that it was the right thing to do. Dom told me before he left that no matter what happens in the future, he would be very grateful we dated before he left on his mission because he needed my encouragement and strength to help him stay on the right path to his mission. The significance of what he said didn't fully strike me until today as I was listening to the speakers and feeling sorry for myself. Maybe my mission wasn't to go out in the world and teach others directly. Maybe I was supposed to be behind the scenes and strengthening the missionaries so they could do that job.

When I first moved to Utah, I was called to some calling in the Laurels presidency (you can tell how passionate I was about it). The second counselor was setting me apart and I remembered he said something that I thought was beyond strange at the time of the blessing. He blessed me that I would strengthen the young men in my ward and in my life and help them want to serve missions in the future. Being a newbie in the ward, I was horrified that he had said that. What kind of responsibility is that?!?!?!?!?! Persuading people I barely knew to give up two years of their lives to teach the gospel? But as I reflected back on that experience, I realized that being a strength to others was MY mission to fulfill. Maybe I wouldn't even see how my actions affected others, but I was supposed to be an example at all times so that they would see Christ in their lives.

This never was the mission I expected for myself. I'm not going to be wearing a name tag or speaking in tongues in a foreign country. I'm not going to eat strange foods or share my testimony to strangers on the side of the road. I won't be biking 10 miles today (like I would do that ever of my own free will) or memorizing scripture passages. But I will be an instrument in the Lord's hand in the way that He thinks will be most effective, which is just as important as being a missionary. Maybe my mission will even change in the future and I will be able to serve a full-time missionary. But for now I'm supposed to focus on being a full-time example of Christ and encourage others to dedicate their talents to the Lord.

For those that are questioning a mission too, be open to the possibility that the Lord may have a different mission for you. One girl in my ward said that she wasn't meant to serve in the mission field but was meant to serve in family history and preparing her family names for temple work. The Lord will always take your fullest potential to the next level and perform miracles with it. Stay willing and stay worthy to be that instrument in his hands.

For your enjoyment, please waste your life away trying to find a song Spiderman can't dance to. It's a challenge that you'll actually enjoy doing :) Happy Sunday!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Boats Against the Current

Well week one of my summer is complete! And for a vacation week, it certainly wasn't an easy, relaxing, or fun one. Between juggling my two jobs (including one that I just started this week), wrapping up school, and trying to adjust to life back in this terrible town of Lehi, it hardly feels like a break. Just a transition from one medium of life into the next.

With the upcoming Great Gatsby movie (so freaking excited for it!!!), I was browsing Pinterest for Great Gatsby stuff while I was getting ready in the morning. I found my favorite quote from the book which is actually the last sentence of the entire novel. It says "So we beat on, boats against the current, bourne back ceaselessly into the past." If you've read the book before, you'll know how flawless this last sentence is. It's my favorite ending to any book I've read. For those that haven't read The Great Gatsby (shame on you), this quote explains one of the themes of this novel. That we as humans try to push forward in life but constantly find ourselves pushing instead toward the past.

This thought has consumed my mind for the past week. Being back in Lehi is extremely hard for me. Nearly nine months ago, I left Lehi very happy with where my life was at that point. Over the course of the school year at BYU, most of those happy memories and aspects of life were tarnished. Coming back to Lehi is like walking through a ghost town for me, you can still see buildings and places that you remember from the past. You may even have solid memories of those locations. But your feelings and emotions about those memories are as empty as the buildings themselves. In some ways I feel like I'm being pushed back into the past, that all the progress I've made as an individual is somehow lost in the pain of being "home." It's really hard to tell what home really is anymore. Can you really call the town that makes you miserable home?

I think what I'm starting to learn though is that the past is the driving factor in pushing our boat along the river.  We can choose to let the power of the past push us forward, to propel us to brighter futures and calmer waters or we can choose to let that power try to push us upstream from where we already came, where we already know the waters are rough and difficult to pass through. I love what F. Scott Fitzgerald says because it's true, no matter how hard we try to progress in life, we always find ourselves wandering back upstream. I like to think that I have control over which direction I let the past take me. And in a way, I truly do. But there will always be the little things in the river that might cause me to want to turn back. Maybe there are rougher waters ahead. Maybe the water up head seems more treacherous than the waters I just sailed through. If I've learned one thing over the course of this week, it's that pushing against the current back to the past is never productive and will never make you happy. The past is much better suited to propel you forward than backwards.

I hope I get my boat turned around soon. The river downstream looks pretty ridiculous from where I'm standing and maybe it's true that the waters behind me were calmer in some ways than the waters ahead of me. But I know that somewhere down the river, there will be calmer and more beautiful waters. I like to imagine it like that part in the Little Mermaid when Eric and Ariel are rowing along peaceful waters while fishes and birds are serenading me (this is my river, I can dream what I want!). But I won't get to the singing fish till I brave the waterfalls and currents that lay before me now.

And as I step off my soapbox, please enjoy this hysterical youtube video that demonstrates the many eating habits of the animal kingdom

And this is one of my favorite songs of the week. Take notes, I married Macklemore in my dreams last night!!(that was quite the dream, I'll tell you that).

And before I sign off for the night, I want to thank you all for reading my blog. It's been astounding how many people have told me they read and actually enjoy reading my blog! Thanks for all the kind remarks and  thanks to the readers who casually stop by to read. Evening ladies and gents!