Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Can't Expect Perfection

I am a perfectionist to the extreme. Well, almost. I'm getting better about it. But I still get really upset sometimes when I mess up. It's a natural reaction. For example, this morning I overslept and missed seminary. At first I was really mad at myself. "Come on, Whitney! This is the third or fourth time this has happened this semester! What gives? You're better than this! Step it up! What will people think about you? What do you think about you?" Obviously, these are not productive thoughts. Actually, thoughts like these come from the adversary, who wants us to make us discouraged and miserable. When I realized how hard I was being on myself, I began thinking in a different manner. "This was just a silly mistake. It's alright. It's not fair to expect perfection from yourself because mortality makes it impossible for you to be perfect. You're doing the best you can and that is enough." Once I changed my thought patterns like this, my whole morning changed. I was happy and able to forgive and love myself.

I have been catching myself doing this quite often, lately. I'll make a mistake and begin to berate myself for it, then realize what I'm doing and be kind. It has been so eye-opening to me. It is liberating. When I make mistakes, whether it's in Spanish class or Orchestra, where it feels like everyone expects me to be perfect, or just in daily living, I can forgive myself because my Savior forgives me. If I am good enough for Him, I must be good enough for me. Choosing not to dwell on past mistakes and mishaps is changing my outlook and changing my life. It is wonderful. I'm so grateful for my Redeemer and the atonement He made which makes this possible. I know that all things are possible through Him, and through our Father in Heaven.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Medallion Moments

People really do notice the little things.

I received my Young Women's medallion in December. I was so excited!! I decided that I was going to wear it everyday because I loved how it made me feel. When wearing my medallion, I always knew my identity and my future, the temple. Having such a tangible reminder of my divine nature and worth helps me to feel close to my Father in Heaven and my Savior all the time. However, always wearing my medallion has blessed me in more ways than just that. In fact, it has blessed other people, too. 

It seems like EVERYBODY notices my medallion. All the time friends, teachers and random people comment on my necklace and ask me questions about it. The most common question being, "Is that the Disney World Castle?". (I find that hilarious, actually.) Being asked about my medallion invites a wonderful missionary moment to explain to that person about the temple. I am able to simply state, "Actually no. It's the temple." Most people know I'm LDS, but if they don't, it gives me the opportunity to share that with them as well. Depending on the person's interest level, I am able to explain varying amounts of information about the temple. I make sure that my love for the temple comes through the words I use. Then I'm sure to mention the temple that is currently being built in the state where we live, and how ecstatic I am for it to be completed. I have extended several invitations to people to tour the temple during its open house once it's completed, which invitations have been eagerly accepted by my friends. 

It's kind of mind-blowing to me how something so small as a necklace can have such a profound influence on me and those around me. I'm so grateful for the opportunities The Lord gives me to share His gospel. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Take His Yoke Upon You

It's late at night, I'm stressed out, I have tons of stuff to do, and I really need sleep. So, naturally, I write a blog post.

God has so many blessings set aside for each of us, but many of them are dependent upon us asking for them. And we have to ask the right way. Here's an example from real life. Today.

I have an important audition tomorrow that I've been worrying about. I'm on the verge of feeling prepared for it, but I've been stressing. So, this morning I prayed about it. The prayer went something like this:

"Please bless me that I will do well on my audition. Please help me to be at peace and to be calm. Help me to reach my goal."

Eh, not bad. But not good. I did feel more at peace, but I didn't necessarily feel more confident. But I kept praying and humbling myself throughout the day. This evening, I realized how I needed to word things, and accordingly prayed a bit differently:

"I can't do this by myself. I need thy help. Please help my to play my absolute best, and to be able to happily accept whatever the results are."

And now I feel much better. I feel more at peace AND confident. This morning, while I was praying, it was really hard to let go of my fear and negative emotions. I knew that I had to consciously give them over to Christ. The phrase "Take My yoke upon you" kept coming to my mind. I knew that He could help make my burden light. That's what the atonement is about. It's not always about sin, but for everyday problems. It took me awhile, but I was able to give up my fear and stress. It really took effort, but I felt SO relieved and wonderful once I gave the negative emotions to the Lord.

That being said, I'm stressed again now. Guess I need to keep working on it. But, that's okay. I'm mortal, and I'm learning. And it is so wonderful that I can use the atonement all the time.