Oct 24, 2011

Waiting on the Lord -- Happily

My friend Beki just posted this on her blog. It really touched me for several reasons. One reason is because she and I both have had some really ridiculously uncommon health problems that doctors simply have not been able to explain. We both have gone to specialists (of both western medicine and alternative medicine camps) and have found some relief here and there, but no explanations and no permanent relief. As my health issues have been spiking lately, it is more on my mind, and reading about her own experiences has made me not only feel like I am not alone, but is a reminder that even people as wonderful and as faithful as Beki struggle with things that are way beyond our scope of understanding (which means there is hope for me yet!).

Another reason is because this has sort of been the theme of this weekend. I spent another Friday night and Saturday morning crying to my husband; another failed attempt at visiting family in Idaho because I was too sick; another week gone by feeling like I was an utter failure. When just a little over a year ago I was able to work a 12 hour day, go to the temple, pray for at least 1 hour, and get exercise in, these days I am lucky if I get my grading done for my University of Phoenix psychology students and also get a green smoothie made and consumed.

Anyway, honestly, I am tired of the psychosomatic illnesses on top of the real illnesses I already have. I am tired of the anxiety overwhelming me when I know better -- after all, how good of a therapist can I possibly be if I can't get my own anxieties under control? I cried to Dustin about how much this wasn't me; how the hopeless, sickly, pale woman sitting in the tub for the fourth time that day was not the woman I knew I was.

He lovingly told me I was everything to him, and that he understood that this behavior was not the real me. He gently reminded me to let go of the negativity; to be compassionate and patient with myself. He told me all the things I often tell my clients -- things I know to be true, but somehow, along the way, I have forgotten how to apply in my own life.

I took a long nap (and by long, I mean I slept most of the day). Later on Saturday evening Dustin suggested (again) that we watch 'The Secret'. While I understood its premise (after all, I am a big proponent of the Law of Attraction and use it in almost all my therapy) I just have had no desire to see it. I expected it to be overly secular and completely missing the mark when it came to Truth -- Truth as defined by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Boy was I wrong. Dustin knows me too well. He knows I'm a big-picture person, and I am positive that he knew how I would tie it in to gospel principles, psychological theories, and all the things I have already learned and gained a testimony of to be true.  It was like reading Widtsoe's "Rational Theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and William Glasser's "Choice Theory" all in one, with a healthy dose of 2 Nephi and D&C 93 to boot. When it got to the part about asking the 'universe' for what we want (the universe, in my eyes, being Heavenly Father), and truly believing that we would receive -- believing to the point that we didn't just believe it but we felt it within our entire beings, my eyes opened real wide as I recalled the single scripture that I clung to through the entire Jimi/spiritual ordeal.

Mormon 9:21 reads:
Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.
"Well, duh, Michelle!" I thought to myself, and quickly turned to Dustin to share with him my latest big-picture discovery (something that he already knew, apparently!) It really WAS all about faith. Huh. So ok, it's not like I did not know that, but somehow, this more secularized description of what I already knew helped me to better understand this important theological truth. I was reminded of how Ketan and Henry had tried for several months last year to get me to understand the whole "Be still, and know that I am God" bit. The whole concept of concentrating on the negative; on what I didn't undertand or didn't have only made things worse. The whole bit on how faith actually worked - it really meant giving it all to Him -- to Christ -- and refusing to keep taking it back. Ketan's horse and carriage analogy came back to my mind. Henry's pleading with me to simply believe and accept God's will came back, too. And then I remembered how I had figured this out in small pieces before.

For example, the time when I realized I did not have to be skinny to be healthy and beautiful; and I had accepted myself and loved myself for who I was (which, of course, didn't last...but I had understood the concept for some time). Or how about the time when I tested the power of positive thinking and how that alone, along with the exercise and healthy eating regime I had started months earlier doubled my weight-loss? Or how about how I had manifested the things my heart really desired in the past - even things of a temporal nature? Or, most recent and most profoundly of all -- how I finally let go of trying to understand to my rational satisfaction why Heavenly Father had told me all the things He had, concerning my eternal companion, only to find out I had somehow been wrong? I gave up trying to understand how He was going to keep His promise to me. After Thanksgiving of last year, when I finally saw a picture of Jimi and his new bride, I just knew, somehow, that things were how they were supposed to be. I let go of that need to understand. I finally released all that pain, heartache, and control and gave it to Him. Then I became determined to have the best December I could have.

It was during that wonderful December that I met my husband. Shortly after it became clear that God had kept His promise all along; I simply had to learn to let go and let Him work.

So yeah. I've learned and applied this concept before. So what has been preventing me from doing it again? God has proven Himself time and time again to me. He is ever faithful, if I keep to my covenants & simply keep trying. So what if I can't see how He is going to take care of my health, when I am sitting here with no money and no health insurance and big issues that are affecting my very ability to get through a day? Can He (or the universe, as 'The Secret' calls Him) not make things work out? If I let go of the negativity and the constant worry about my health, perhaps, just perhaps, I will start to attract the things I do want, rather than keep attracting what I don't want by putting so much worry and energy into just that.

Cannot God help me with my financial crisis? Has He not been there previously? Have I not learned the Law of Attraction ('The Secret') by simply paying my tithing? Paying tithing is a positive act that demonstrates that very faith in Him and His promises. It demonstrates my willingness to believe; to think positively, and to move forward. Just because right now I don't know how I'm going to pay all the bills that are coming due in the next 2 weeks doesn't mean that I won't be able to. If I keep worrying and thinking about it negatively, though, I am going to manifest just that - overdue bills. But if I concentrate on what I want -- enough money to pay them -- trust in the Lord that He will help and provide -- I will find just that.

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Every person who has understood this 'Secret' has enjoyed or does enjoy his or her life. 2 Nephi 2:25 IS true:
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
And...the enjoyment starts now. In the moment. That's the power of now, as Eckhart Tolle expressed in his famous book. 

I must admit that I love when I see so many truths come together as One. I love how these truths continue to support the Truth that I know is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I understand better how and why the gospel truly is the "good news". While trials and tribulations are an inevitable part of life, the more we are willing to see that they themselves do not have an independent, individual existence, and that it is only through giving our life energy TO those trials that give them, in fact, any power over us. If we understand this, we start to see life in a different light; we can see through our suffering instead of from it (Guy Finley, The Inside Story on Stress and Worry).

It's pretty darn exciting to see how much power we truly have; and to see how God designed the universe in the way that He did. God, or energy, cannot be created nor destroyed. Neither can we be, as we are energy.  D&C 93: 29-34 tells us:
29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.
33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.
That is pretty dang sweet, isn't it? :) We have agency to choose joy. Truth has been manifested unto us in many ways, in many forms -- and those of us who choose to receive its light will find joy. It makes total sense how we, part of the elements, have to be inseparably connected for this whole concept to work -- for this whole idea that we can manifest joy ourselves; with the help of a loving Father in heaven.

Anyway. I love eureka moments like this. I have been sick again this weekend. But truths I once knew but forgot; truths that are restoring themselves again in my mind; and new truths that are becoming known unto me are telling me the same thing: I have agency. I can choose to be happy. God wants me to be happy - but He will never force it upon me. Through my faith; through my positive thinking - through ridding my mind of fear, doubt, and negativity, I can manifest anything I want (Mormon 9:21 -remember?) because He is already willing to give it to me!! The work that is necessary is to simply ask, listen and look for the answer, and receive!

Dustin and I watched a few more talks from General Conference that we missed at the time. These talks centered around this whole theme as well. Perhaps it might not be obvious to anyone who is reading this how everything I just said is linked, but that link is gloriously obvious to me. Hearing prophets of the Lord only confirm such things brings me a hope and peace that nothing else could. President Uchtdorf's (and my husband's) reminder to be patient and compassionate with myself was a seed to helping me discover, or rediscover truths that really aren't so secret after all.

In fact, these Truths are manifest around us everywhere. They are in everything. We simply have to look and see.

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