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Monday, June 24, 2013

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT -- Learning to Love and Forget Myself

A few days ago, I was standing in front of the mirror in my bathroom, wearing nothing but my skivvies (sorry, Mom!), and I had a revelation of sorts.  I am OK with my body.  I'm not OK with the way I feel physically, but I'm OK with the way I look.  Sure, I'd like to be a few sizes smaller, a hundred pounds lighter, a little younger-looking, whatever, but in the meantime, I'm OK with the way I look.  So, why the low self-esteem all these years?  Why the desperation to lose weight, knowing full well that as shallow as it seems, it hasn't always been about health or quality of life as much as it has been about numbers and measurements?  Or about what others thought about me?  I realized that in the past, I needed and wanted to lose weight mostly for others, only secondarily for myself.  I have always had something to prove:  to my family, to my Weight Watchers leaders, to my friends, even to the blog readers following my journey online.  Have I ever truly, truly loved myself the way God intends:  without condition?  Or is my self-respect only present when I am tearing it up in life, completely tied to success as the world and others see it?

Last night I watched a documentary about Gordon B. Hinckley.  Since I was already an emotional basket-case after a fantastic day at church, the tears flowed freely as I watched this film:  a tribute to a truly great man.  He told the story of an experience he had as a rail manager, when a baggage car went missing.  He searched and searched for this missing car, while angry passengers waited for the solution of the mystery.  After a long and stressful hunt and several phone calls, he located the missing baggage car thousands of miles from its intended destination.  The rest of the train arrived as planned in New Jersey while the baggage wound up in New Orleans!  The problem came when a careless worker unhooked the car and changed a switch a mere three inches.  Three inches off course ended up leading the car on a completely different journey, a completely different path, and to a completely different destination!

After watching the film, I considered my own life and wondered what, if anything, was possibly setting me off course by merely three inches.  I decided that my not loving myself enough could definitely be leading me astray.  In a big way.  The more I thought about it, the more this thought made sense.  The spirit then confirmed to me that humility is much different than discouragement and doubt in my own abilities.  Humility is knowing that I do have the ability to accomplish ANYTHING, but ONLY with God's help.  Humility is accepting God's will for my life, then giving Him everything I have, trusting completely that my life will be so much more rewarding with His every day help.

I also love to hear about young missionary Gordon B. Hinckley who found himself in the field, feeling completely inept in every way, guilty for using his family's much-needed resources.  He was beyond discouraged!  He wrote to his father, expressing these concerns and received life-changing counsel back from his father:  "Forget yourself and go to work."  Elder Hinckley fell to his knees that night, and covenanted to the Lord in that moment of humility, that He would spend His life thinking of and serving others from that day forward.  And he did!  He spent the remainder of his days lifting others, serving others, providing for others, and leading others.  As he told this story, he affirmed that all good things that had come to him in his life could be traced back to that moment in his life.  He said that it was a turning point for him:  a day of decision.

I feel similarly discouraged and inadequate at times:  with finances, with my duties as a wife and mother, with my church callings, with my health, with my eating disorder.  I felt yesterday that the keys to healing are to forget myself and think more of others, to work harder, and to learn to love myself as God loves me.  I think as I find joy in the service of others and in doing many jobs well-done, this love and respect for myself will grow.

In the meantime, I will continue to study and live, growing and feeding my living testimony.  I am grateful for my sweet friend, President Hinckley and for his wise words which lifted me in a dark and discouraged hour.  He is still lifting others, even from the other side of the veil!


Stueller said...

Thank you. I needed this today ♡