8.07.2011

Awakening

I love Sunday's. They become much less exciting when Cory has to work, however. I had a bad attitude about church today. I wanted to go because I love my ward and how else am I going to meet more people if I don't go? But today was my first time taking Kennedy alone since Cory is now back on a rotation with Sunday's and I hate going without him, so I was tempted to just stay home. But I really felt like I needed to go. So, I did. Sacrament was alright. We had 4 baby blessings so it was packed. Then towards the end, Kennedy started to get really fussy and by the time Sunday School was going to start, she was full on screaming and nothing I tried was working. I paced up and down the halls trying to find the mothers room so her screams wouldn't echo throughout every class going on. My plan was to get her to calm down enough that I could go grab her car seat I had dumped in the Sunday School class to save a spot, without interrupting, and just take her home to cry. But again, I felt like I needed to stay. I finally found the mothers room and got her to calm down and fall asleep just in time for relief society. Thanks heavens. What a lesson!! The Lord has been preparing me for a few things I have to do/fix in my life lately that either have been or/are going to be hard and uncomfortable for me and I've been putting off doing what needs to be done to make it easier. Today, He delivered the sucker-punch I've really been needing to get my act together. 

We have the cutest relief society presidency and today was their message. One of the adorable counselors felt like she needed to talk about fellowshipping. At first I got all excited because I've been trying to get to know people and go out of my comfort zone and I was hoping that I could share some thoughts and ideas and that the lesson would open the door to more opportunities to get to know even more people. And it did. But it really made me think about myself and how I handle interactions with people.

I'm always deemed as "shy" because I'm not that talkative if I don't know people that well. I don't consider myself shy because to me, shyness means being afraid of people. I'm not scared to talk to others, but instigating a conversation is not in my comfort zone at all. If you talk to me first, sure, we'll have a good chat. But it's difficult for me to just walk up to someone and strike up a conversation. I've been working on that - haven't been too successful yet - but I'm working on it. One thing that has always aggravated me is people who don't know me at all assume I'm snotty because I don't talk. I've always hated this assumption. But she opened the lesson today by talking about how quick we are to judge others. She was very bold and blunt which I LOVED and used examples from people in our class. She pointed to one woman and said it's obvious she's athletic and the teacher isn't so she could just assume they have nothing in common. She pointed to another woman and pointed out that this woman is gorgeous, so it's natural for people to instantly assume she's a snot. We all laughed but she couldn't have hit the nail more exactly on the head. It happens all the time. Then she said she's friends with both ladies and the assumptions people make aren't true and what allows them to be such close friends is the things they have in common and the fact that they got to know each other based on those similarities, not the differences. She then urged us to get to know each other and find out our common interests in order to help fellowship those around us and create a ward family.

I sat there absorbing her every word and was just dumbfounded at how amazing this lesson was and that there probably wasn't a single other person in that ward who could have delivered her message like she did. The class was riveted and the spirit was strong. I also sat there keenly aware of my flaws on the subject. I am a judgmental person. I'm going to put that out there right now. Everyone is to one extent or another. I assume things about perfect strangers based on their appearance. I laugh at grown adults wearing Lego Star Wars t-shirts. I assume all beautiful women are snobs. I allow myself to feel threatened when others share the same goals and accomplishment as myself. Everyone likes to feel special and unique and we tend to put down those who might share the same hobbies/talents. I am competitive. It's these judgments that make it hard for so many people to put themselves out there and talk to people. We're all so worried about what others think. We're so afraid to show our flaws. We're worried we won't be liked. Or we're worried someone might be better at something than we are, so we put on a front. We exaggerate our successes in order to impress people. It's natural and we all do it. It's what makes us human; we're imperfect. I'm an offender of this just like the next person. But by doing this we don't allow ourselves to really get to know people and make lasting friendships which in turns allows us to help and serve those who might need help or fellowshipping into the church.

But most disturbingly, I noticed I have a hard time truly forgiving those who have done me wrong on a personal level. I have difficulty leaving the past behind me. The other day I asked my mom a really stupid question. I asked, "What happens when we get to heaven and we see someone there who we think shouldn't have made it?" Within an instant I regretted that thought and felt even more ridiculous that I had voiced it. For one, it's not up to us to judge. That responsibility lies with the Lord and only the Lord. Second, the people I feel don't deserve to go to heaven currently are only those who have deeply hurt me one way or another. I realized if I feel that way, I haven't truly forgiven them like I keep telling myself I have. And furthermore, if I haven't forgiven them, the Lord can't forgive me of my mistakes. It really opened my eyes to feelings I've been having but haven't been able to identify. Now I know what they are. And I need to fix them as soon as possible. I need to learn how to forgive and let grudges go and scars heal. I also need to remember that each person here on earth is a son or daughter of God and He loves them regardless of what they do, think, wear, or say. It's our responsibility to love them too and look past their flaws. After all, don't we want them to look past ours? I need to understand that no one is perfect. I need to realize that I'm still a great person and my accomplishments aren't any less extraordinary because someone else may be doing the same thing. I'm still me. People will always be themselves. Nothing I say or think about them is going to change that. I need to change my attitude and how I look at the other spirits around me. By doing this I'll learn to love them. By loving them, I'll serve them and hopefully be able to fellowship more people and bring the light of the gospel into their lives. Or even just help those who already have it and may be going through some trials. The golden rule couldn't apply more. I need to practice treating others the way I want to be treated. If I hadn't have gone to church today, who knows how long it could have taken me to have this awakening. I'm so grateful I did and even more grateful for the Lord and His lessons and trials that help us become better. I'm  also grateful for this new challenge I'll be taking on. Time to change my perspective.   

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