Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anxiety about the future

This morning I woke up feeling anxious about our future. There are a lot of unknowns and a lot of steps in the dark we are about to have to take. There are some things that I just don't know how we are going to handle or get through, and with these things, there is not much I can do about any of it...except wait and see. Wait and hope. Wait.

When it comes to our future, I just can't stop feeling anxious. Try as I might to have faith, it's a real struggle for me. If faith equals pressing forward and being obedient even though I might still feel anxious, then I guess I have it. Try as I might, I just can't completely rid my mind and heart of anxiety. It's been a weakness of mine for as long as I can remember.

Recently I pulled out my Old Testament student manual to help me to gain a better understanding of what I am studying. I studied Joshua 24 today and didn't particularly get very much out of it because my mind is wrought with anxiety. However, as I was reading the "Points to Ponder" section at the end of the study guide I came across a quote from President Benson (at the time still Elder Ezra Taft Benson) that seemed to be written for me today. I felt compelled to share the quote, so here it is.

"Elder Ezra Taft Benson used two passages from the book of Joshua to counsel those who feel anxiety as they contemplate the future.

"'Now during this critical period, and it is a critical period that we are passing through, I hope that we will keep ever burning in our hearts the spirit of this great work which we represent. If we do so we'll have no anxiety; we'll have no fear; we'll not worry about the future because the Lord has given us the assurance that if we live righteously, if we keep his commandments, if we humble ourselves before him, all will be well. I turn to two passages of scripture today which I'd like to read:

'...Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.' (Joshua 1:9)

"'This was the Lord's admonition to his son, Joshua, encouraging him to trust in God. Joshua answered that admonition in counsel to his people in these words:

'...choose you this day whom ye will serve; ...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.' (Joshua 24:15)

"'Embodied in these two passages of scripture are the two principal essentials for security and peace: first, trust in God; and second, a determination to keep the commandments, to serve the Lord, to do that which is right. Latter-day Saints who live according to these two admonitions-trust in God and keep the commandments-have nothing to fear.

"'The Lord has made it very clear in the revelations that even though times become perilous, even though we be surrounded by temptation and sin, even though there be a feeling of insecurity, even though men's hearts may fail them and anxiety fill their souls, if we only trust in God and keep his commandments we need have no fear.'" (In Conference Report, Oct. 1950, pp. 145-46)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

The last question in Alma 5:14 is, "Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" 

My answer: "I'm not sure about this one. I have always had an inclination to be good and be obedient. I have always wanted to follow God, but it took me awhile to find the place that felt right. I still make mistakes. I still sin, but my desire is to do good. So for me, my change of heart must have happened a long time ago, though I feel like I need a change of heart on a daily basis sometimes."

I guess that day I wasn't having any huge spiritual experiences! I had a very short entry. And ya know what? That's ok. 

When I first started this project, I had two goals in mind: 

1.) To re-establish a habit of daily scripture study and 

2.) To free myself from my internet addiction. 

Yeah, I'll just go ahead and call it what it is. An addiction. I spend way too much time playing around on my phone, especially on facebook. I will say I have seen improvements in my computer use, as evidenced by the fact that I studied and pondered this question back on March 1st and I am just now getting around to sharing what I wrote. However, I still spend a lot of time on my phone. If I have a spare minute, I like to check my facebook. Usually I only have short spurts of free time and I don't want to just sit there. That's boring. So I play on facebook, read a blog post here, or laugh at a silly thread there. I think I just need to find a good book to read during my down time. Like...the scriptures. 

I know I am completely getting off topic of what I originally wanted to write, but I wanted to share something I noticed a few Sundays ago. I was sitting with a few of my favorite sisters in Relief Society, and another of my favorite sisters (yes, there are quite a few women in the ward I call my "favorites." They're awesome!) turns around and asks the other sisters if they have their scriptures. They both look up and present their iphones that they are using to read their scriptures. Then she turned and asked me if I had mine. And I did. I still bring my old paper scriptures to church. It was just very interesting to me to observe the rows of brothers and sisters sitting in Sunday School and Relief Society that all had some sort of electronic device in their laps instead of paper scriptures. Young and old, male and female, lifelong member and recent convert, it didn't matter. There was no shortage of iphones, ipads and other devices in the crowd as I looked around Sunday School and Relief Society. 

Call me old school, but I feel like I can't feel the spirit very well if I am reading my scriptures electronically. This is in no way saying that my way is better and that reading paper scriptures is superior to reading electronic scriptures, but for me, I feel better when I use the paper scriptures-especially if I have a choice in the matter. There have been times when I am just waiting around somewhere without my scriptures or that I have accidentally forgotten my scriptures in my rush to get out the door where I have been very thankful to have my handy dandy phone with my scriptures on there. Reading electronic scriptures is definitely way better than not reading scriptures at all. But when I have a choice, I will choose my paper scriptures. 

Maybe this counts a little bit as a change of heart. I am feeling the desire to distance myself from electronic devices, which is what I set out to do in the first place. Yay me!