05 September 2011

The Advantage of Gaining Perspective and Having the Spirit

Re-reading my last post, I realize it is bleaker than I intended. I was in a fairly self-pitying, Eyeore-ish state of mind that is now captured forever in Friday's post. The thing is, I'm not generally like that. I'm generally a happy person, even with as frustrating as my life is at the moment. This is a prime example of how one tiny little straw can break the camel's back and then the camel focuses on all the other straw that came before it and suddenly all the camel can see is a pile of horrible things that have accumulated. With that kind of obsessive focus, it all looks wrong and sad.

Yes, there are quite a few things that I want, that I feel are good things to want, that I do not have. Yes, I have wanted most of them for a while now and it is getting exhausting to keep looking forward and moving forward without seeing them on the horizon. And yes, when I think about it, I feel like a huge loser for being almost 33, underemployed, and unable to support myself. It is easy to compare myself to friends who are building careers, families, houses, futures really, that I am not able to build right now. That comparative mindset is easy to get into and hard to get out of without help.

Thankfully, I have wonderful friends and family who both sympathize and kindly suggest I get outside of my own head. Additionally, I have my faith, my covenants, the scriptures, and the gift of the Holy Ghost to also kindly, but firmly, suggest I stop feeling sorry for myself and get to work. Yesterday morning, as I was preparing for my Primary lesson, I was reading in 3 Nephi 18 and was struck by a scripture that I had never really paid attention to before. Christ is visiting the Nephites and is praying for them. The first prayer He gives, which I do remember, asks that the Holy Ghost be given to His disciples and those who believe on their words. The second prayer He gives asks that His disciples be purified and that those who believe on their words also be purified. That passage made me think about what it means to be purified. It is not an easy process. Purifying water takes intense heat and/or very strong chemicals. Purifying metals takes even more intense heat and requires the melting of the metal. These are not pleasant processes for the water or the metal. Neither is the purification of the soul.

These trials and tribulations I'm being asked to go through are not punishments nor are they meant to make me feel lost or alone. They are meant to purify me. The only reason I feel punished, lost, or alone, is because I lose perspective and forget to ask for help in keeping that perspective. Having perspective does not make the trials disappear, nor does it make them suddenly lighter or easier; it does, however, make the burden bearable. It makes it possible for me to stand up, brush myself off, and move forward knowing that at some point I will a) see the reason behind them and b) see the fruits of my moving forward in faith. It may take decades or it may be next month, but at some point I will know it has all been worth it, rather than just believing it now.

So yes, I will probably still feel like the last person invited to join the members-only country club that is adulthood and I will probably still whine about it at times. But I'll also be moving forward, focused on my faith and (hopefully) less obsessed with the pile of trials I'm sifting through.


The Ringmaster said...

Thanks for sharing this - I definitely needed to read it. And, although on paper, I look like I have entered the adulthood country club, I'm pretty sure that I'm merely a party crasher most days. Love ya!

Treat Queen said...

One of my favorite analogies is that of the hunk of iron. You look at yourself and think, I am a strong hefty chunk of iron! And that's great! However, iron cannot be exalted, only steel can. So God puts you in the fire and then he takes you out and beats you. And then he sticks you in the fire and takes you out and beats you. And on and on. But in the end, you are who you need to be to get what you want. And you were in the Lord's hands the entire time, doing what He wanted you to do. Its pretty much the same thing as the purification you were talking about. You probably didn't need to hear that, but there it is. For more information, see Hugh B. Brown's 'God is the Gardener'. Which is pretty much applicable to every day of my life.