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Thursday, May 21, 2015

He Suffers With Us

This morning I've been thinking deeply about HOW I can work towards my health goals with a full purpose of heart (see yesterday's post), especially given that I seem to find energy and motivation in short supply these days!  I'm always comparing now with last time I lost weight and was wildly successful.  These comparisons are starting to feel unhealthy, and not unlike when I compare myself with others.  True, I can learn a lot from "last time", but I am a different person now than I was then, and I have had struggles and experiences since then that have helped me to develop into the me of today.  By always saying things like, "Why can't I be like I was then?" or "What is my problem?" or "Why is it so hard now?", I'm really becoming stuck in the past.  The truth is that I HAVE gained all of my weight back.  I can use the experiences and successes of "last time" to learn and grow, and hopefully propel me forward, knowing that I did receive aid from Heavenly Father.  But when I put a negative spin on my struggle TODAY, always comparing it with yesterday's successes, it leaves me feeling depleted and defeated.

I know that one thing that really helped me get started "last time", was the concept of self-compassion.  I have been through so much in the last few years:  a major job loss, working outside the home, financial uncertainty, scrambling to arrange childcare so I COULD work, having a husband in school, having a husband work two jobs, etc.  And oh yeah, I almost forgot ... HAVING FIVE KIDS.  As I look back and think about all we have dealt with and overcome, I am filled with gratitude to Heavenly Father.  And I am proud of us.  My whole family has made sacrifices, but as a mother, I have been the glue.  I was able to hold things together (mostly) on the worst of days, and somehow we were able to navigate some pretty rough waters.  Some very, very rough waters.  So, here's the thing.  I need to forgive myself for gaining weight during this time, because who wouldn't have?  Seriously, I think I need to make some serious allowances for myself and realize that life is crazy hard sometimes, and that I was pretty much in crisis mode for much of the last seven years.  And it's hard to be amazing in every area when you're functioning in crisis mode.

With that being said, it really IS time for me to raise the proverbial bar regarding my health, realizing that I deserve happiness and health.  While I am the glue that keeps things together for my little family, it doesn't make sense for me to let myself fall apart.  I need to be healthy to be my best me.  I know that this is a righteous goal.  I want to be gentle with myself.  I want to allow my spirit to grow and improve at its own rate, and allow it to be gently led by a loving Heavenly Father.  Sometimes I want all the answers, all the results all at once, without realizing that the truths of the gospel and the applications of the Atonement don't always come so quickly.  The answers I seek aren't always available on demand.  Patience is very much a crucial quality when seeking divine aid and lasting conversion in all areas of the gospel.  At this point, I'm not seeking a quick fix for my obesity.  I know through years of struggles, as well as welcome relief, blessings, and triumphs, that a change of heart is the very best weight loss plan there is.  Self-help books, pills, surgeries, fitness programs, and diets, though respectively effective on some level, all pale in comparison to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Therein lays the most underutilized weight loss plan on Earth.  I truly believe that, though my life and choices have not always been a perfect reflection of that belief.

The real beauty of the Atonement is that the Savior truly understands us, wherever we are on the path to Him.  Whether we are at the beginning of our journeys, or well on our way, He knows how to succor us.  He "gets it" because He has LITERALLY been there.  He has felt the EXACT pains I feel:  the frustration, the worry, the doubts.  He felt that for me in the Garden of Gethsemane so that when I finally turn to Him in moments of near-despair, and fall on my knees in submission to His will, pleading for His aid, He could perfectly understand what that means and how He can best help me back.  It is always a beautiful thing to find a true friend who understands something that you are going through.  It is even more beautiful when that friend not only understands, but chooses willingly to go through that trial with you.  And the most beautiful thing of all, is when a Friend chooses to go through the darkness FOR you.  And that is what my Friend, even Jesus Christ, has done for me.  Literally, He has suffered this trial for me, so that I might not.  My choice lies in this simple decision:  will I accept that gift?  Or will I needlessly go through the pain that He so willingly bore in my behalf?  It sounds simple, and perhaps it should be.  But, as I make stupid decisions and sometimes even neglect the gift of the Atonement due to my own mental weakness or spiritual rebellion, He is still filled with ceaseless compassion.

In Mosiah 8:20, it says:

"O how marvelous the works of the Lord, and how long doth He suffer with His people; yea and how blind and inpenetrable are the understandings of the children of men; for they will not seek wisdom, neither do they desire that she should rule over them."

Sometimes I find a verse like this, that just CUTS me to the core!  I testify that He DOES suffer with us.  He has suffered with me countless times!  He has rejoiced with me.  I know that I have been blind at times.  And heaven knows that I can be inpenetrable and proud.  I have ignored wisdom many times, not desiring that it should rule over me in my life.  This enmity is what holds me back and I pray that the Lord will soften my heart and grant me wisdom.  I know that as I turn to Him, as my prayers ascend, and as I make good, deliberate choices each day, this softening will come.  I know that He will guide and straighten my paths, and for that knowledge I am grateful.  How full my heart is, knowing that He understands what I am going through, that He chooses to go through it with me, and that He chose to go through my trials FOR me.  I am overcome with love for Him.


Valerie said...

What a beautiful way to look at a physical struggle. I especially love how you say at the end that He chose to go through your trials for you. It is so true!