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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Back to the Basics

This morning I listened to Elder M. Russell Ballard's address, "The Greatest Generation of Youth" from the priesthood session of the April 2015 General Conference.  Though I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a youth, I found many of the high notes of his address quite helpful and timely as I reset my course to good health and increased spirituality.  I especially loved the following quote:

"The Savior of the world came to understand each of us individually by experiencing our dashed hopes, challenges, and tragedies through His suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross.  He died as one final act of love for us and was buried in a new tomb on that fateful night."

I have felt the weight of dashed hopes and challenges lately, as I deal with the pains and discomforts of gaining all my weight back.  It stinks.  The other day, I received a "helpful" and well-meaning comment about my weight that later brought me to tears at my bedside.  After a good cry, I was able to take a few deep breaths and realize that the comment was offered out of love and concern and that offense wasn't intended.  I thought about the advice, and by grace, I was able to examine the advice and find something useful in it.  It was a good reminder that I should never aspire to change habits and self out of fear, anger, resentment, or revenge.  Change should be the offspring of submission, humility, and an underlying desire to better serve God.

Another thing I enjoyed about Elder Ballard's talk, was the fabulous checklist that he provided for prospective young missionaries.  I have been thinking about the basics lately, so this list is a great jumping off point for that inner dialogue and self-reflection.  Here is the list:

1.  Do you search the scriptures regularly?
2.  Do you kneel in prayer to talk with your Heavenly Father each morning and each night?
3.  Do you fast and donate a fast offering each month?
4.  Do you think deeply about the Savior and His atoning sacrifice for you when [partake] of the sacrament?
5.  Do you attend your meeting and strive to keep the Sabbath day holy?
6.  Are you honest at home, school, church, and work?
7.  Are you mentally and spiritually clean?  Do you avoid viewing pornography or looking at websites, magazines, movies, or apps that would embarrass you if  your parents, church leaders, or the Savior Himself saw you?
8.  Are you careful with your time--avoiding inappropriate technology and social media which can dull your spiritual sensitivity?
9.  Is there anything in your life you need to change and fix?

Though this list was intended for young men, I found a few areas in my life that I need to improve.  Another great resource for this self-reflection activity is Alma 5, so I think I will spend some time reading there this week as well.

I have also been thinking about going back to the basics with my health.  Last time I found myself on the right path, it started with a simple decision.  I had had a physically uncomfortable evening visiting another ward's new beginnings program with the stake.  This discomfort propelled me forward.  Looking back on that experience, these are some of the rudimentary steps I took that helped me get started:

1.  No eating after 8:00 pm
2.  Exercise every day, at least ten minutes.
3.  Track everything I eat.
4.  Weigh in every week.

It's not much of a list, but that's how I started.  As I solidified these good habits, I was able to add more.  I think there is part of me that operates with an "all or none" mentality.  If I can't be perfect at maintaining good health, I shirk from taking care of myself at all.  Obviously that doesn't make any sense.  I need to work on that all or none thinking and allow myself to be imperfect.  I love this quote that I found on Pinterest the other day:

"We must have the courage to be imperfect while striving for perfection."  --Patricia R. Holland

I also loved this little gem:

(image courtesy scratchpaperstudio.com)

So here I am.  It's not where I want to be, ultimately, but that's ok.  There's beauty here, too.  My being here is a sign that I'm willing to learn and grow.  It's a sign that I obeyed promptings to bring another baby to Earth (no small thing!).  It's a sign that I am seeking a change of heart.  It's pretty much a sign that while I'm not perfect, I'm still pretty awesomesauce.  And that's that.


Tamaran said...

I love this and am glad to see you back. And I'm starting over too. I'm now heavier than I have ever been without a baby in my belly...and sadly, only 10 off of being over that. The twins will be 1 in June. I started working out, but didn't feel anything change until I started reading my scriptures and attending the temple regularly (trying for once a week in the wee morning hours). I'm trying to not be fearful (we have at least one more that we feel needs to be added to our family and the idea of losing just to gain is unnerving). I'm trying to trust. I'm trying to have faith. And your posts help.

K Walton said...

Thanks, Tamaran. We are also feeling that there is one more to join our family. It has taken a lot of faith, but we just went off birth control about three months ago. So that has definitely been a challenge for me, because like you said, I will be losing weight just to gain it back. It's exhausting, but I guess I just need to have faith that God will grant me good health if I get pregnant. It would be nice to know when exactly that will be happening though! You're awesome to be attending the temple regularly! That's definitely an area I need to work on! You're pretty amazing!! We can definitely help each other through all these life decisions and challenges! I really appreciate your support!

Tamaran said...

Congrats on starting that process again. I had no idea when I typed that, or I would have been more sensative about it. It is definitely hard-but worth it. And yes, He will help. Yes, going to the temple is hard, especially when it means being there as soon as they open so I can go before work-but sacrifice brings forth blessings, right? Love ya and glad to see you posting again. Maybe someday we will meet ;)