Agent unto Himself

 

While studying God's word this morning I stumbled across the term "man is an agent unto himself".  I had just finished my morning prayer and consulting God about what I should be focusing on. I have been feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the things I feel like I "should" be doing and so I symbolically dropped everything and promised God that I would only  add the things he wanted me to. Here's the strange part… Within a few short hours of me dropping "everything'  I had 5 different people come to me and offer their insight into how I should spend my time and earn money.  All of their ideas were fantastic and they each seemed so sure that their inspiration was what I should choose to focus my time on. 

At first I was stumped.  Did God really want me to do ALL these things? Surely not! Then why would all of these great opportunities and ideas come to me at that moment?

So this is what was revealed to me…

Man is free.  We are free to choose!  Our daily mundane life might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but they are VERY important to us… thus being important to God.  We are his children and he is teaching us how to govern with him in heaven.  Just like when I see my child learning to responsible for something.  I don't think it is a small and insignificant task… to THEM I treat it with the same importance as I would a larger one.  This is because I want them to learn how to do it properly so they can then apply it to bigger life experiences. 

Isn't that a wonderful concept to know that our Father in Heaven loves us so much that he is willing to listen and guide us in the most [seemingly] trivial parts of life.  He cares about us, He loves us, and He wants us to succeed. 

There are a few things he teaches us that we need to understand… 

1. All things that are good come from God. This can be tricky and the term "Good, Better, Best" comes to mind.  What if we are living in a way that we have a lot of good things we can choose from?  We can get distracted with all the good things and never do the best!  God is testing us at this point to make sure we are using our agency to choose the BEST things.

2. He has given us the ability to judge righteously.  We must search in the Light of Christ with the Holy Spirit to discern what choices are in alignment with God's will. 

3. All things that are good come from God. Thus, we need to exercise our agency and CHOOSE the BEST choice with what we have been given.

4. We must confess his hand in all things and have gratitude. "In nothing is the Lord's anger kindled than confessing not his hand in all things".

5. We must have faith.  Faith is actually an action item. Our FAITH (and gratitude) actually assists that item to come to pass. Our faith propels it, and fuels it, and helps it come into the physical realm.

6. It does not please our Father if we do not make any choice until we are commanded.  And then if we receive a command and then have a doubtful heart, and not do it (by being slothful) we will receive bigger consequences for our lack of faith and lack of follow through.

So there I was…

an empty vessel just waiting to be filled. I was waiting for God to tell me what I should do but instead he taught me to study my options, decide what would be in the best interest of myself and my family and then ask if I made the right decision. 

Are you wondering what I chose?

Well, I made the decision to focus more on my family and completing a few inspired projects that I've been too distracted to finish and then do more in a few months. I told these inspired individuals that "I love the idea but it's not the right time for me to work on that right now". They were fine with it, and I was freed from any guilt. After I made those decisions I felt a renewed sense of focus, determination, and energy!!  This confirmed that as we ultimately do what God wants us to do, we will be greatly blessed!! 

This is my why

Be Uncomfortable

Have you ever noticed how little we share our problems openly?  Are we afraid of judgment?  Are we too prideful to admit we have struggled?  Is it that we are embarrassed and want to hide? 


Whatever the reason, WE NEED TO STOP!   In fact, I dare say that we should be okay with being 'uncomfortable' because that is where we will comfort those who need us most. 

 

Several years ago I was giving a talk in church and I kept feeling prompted to talk about several things that were VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.  One of those experiences was my adoption experience and the other was (and still is) something that still makes me squirm when I talk about it.  In fact, as I am writing this I am hesitant to even mention it… but here it goes.  I struggled with cutting/self-harm all through my life. [Note:  I haven't done it for many years but I would be lying if I said that the thought doesn't creep into my mind when I am going through something particularly difficult to deal with emotionally].

 

So here I was… getting the feeling to talk about something that the world doesn't understand and makes everyone uncomfortable to talk about it.  I told my mom my prompting… and she looked at me horrified and said "Well, maybe you can share that in your area but I don't think it would go over so well in mine".  OH-KAY… Now I'm more uncomfortable talking about it.  

 

The big day arrived and I had decided that I would give a 'general' experience and NOT tell them that it was about me.  But as I was standing in front of that room something happened… I found myself telling the stories in FIRST person.  Yep, I told them it was me.  

 

After my talk I was standing around talking to a couple of friends and in the background was a woman I had never seen before.  She was dressed in a lot of black and had sadness in her eyes.  I could feel that she wanted to talk to me alone.  I finally wiggled away from the others and the first thing she said was "I can relate" and then she lifted up the sleeve of her shirt to expose bloody gashes up and down her arm.  We then talked for a few minutes about it and she expressed that she was getting help but that she really appreciated me talking about it.  

 

My dear friends, let's BE UNCOMFORTABLE together.  As we open up and share things from our past, we will be exposed… but we will also allow others to find solace in knowing they are not alone in their challenges.  

 

Now I also want to give you a warning… you will get strange looks.  Some people will NOT know how to handle it.  And you might even hear rude comments from people who are extremely uncomfortable with your topic… but please know – that is THEIR issue, not yours.  I cannot even begin to tell you all of the times I got a strange reaction, or silence, or weird comments.  It is part of the process and hopefully they will someday learn to be uncomfortable, too, but if they don't – we shouldn't judge them but just let their reactions fall by the wayside as we continue on our path of helping others.  

 

A couple of years ago I was struggling with opening up about things in my past.  I had gotten some strange reactions from people and desperately wanted to stop sharing.  I sat down and prayed.  I asked God "WHY do I need to share these uncomfortable things?  Why? "  These words enter my mind:

 

"This experience is no longer yours"

"Okay, Father.  Let me see if I understand" I said. 

I flipped through the questions. 

"If it's no longer mine… then whose is it?" 

Answers filled my mind.

"Ahh… I get it.  I've gained all I can from this experience and now it will be used benefit someone else. Right?"

RIGHT. 

 

What do you think?  Can you do this with me?  Let's be exposed and fearless.  Let's reach out to those that are silently suffering and feeling alone. 


LET'S BE UNCOMFORTABLE TOGETHER!! 🙂

 


Have you felt the need to share some uncomfortable experiences?  How did it feel?  What are your reactions after hearing someone share a painful experience?  Do you judge them or feel closer to them?

I want to be like THAT pen!

  I read a quote today that really got me thinking.  Here it is:

I once owned a pen that I loved to use during my career as an airline captain. By simply turning the shaft, I could choose one of four colors. The pen did not complain when I wanted to use red ink instead of blue. It did not say to me, “I would rather not write after 10:00 p.m., in heavy fog, or at high altitudes.” The pen did not say, “Use me only for important documents, not for the daily mundane tasks.” With greatest reliability it performed every task I needed, no matter how important or insignificant. It was always ready to serve.

In a similar way we are tools in the hands of God. When our heart is in the right place, we do not complain that our assigned task is unworthy of our abilities. We gladly serve wherever we are asked. When we do this, the Lord can use us in ways beyond our understanding to accomplish His work. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

After reading this I started to ask myself.  Am I like that pen or do I tend to tell God how and when I will serve?

Unfortunately, I don't think that I am like that pen often enough. Many times I receive very clear inspiration… then I am either afraid of what others will think… or require so much perfection of myself that it hinders my progress… or I get caught up in the 'how' and 'when' it will all work out.  

I want to be more like that pen.  I want to do the things He asks of me, as soon as He asks me!  

Then there was a scripture I came across that brought me great comfort and hope.  It is in Corinthians 1:27

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;"

So guess what?  I am weak!!  Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying this in a self-deprecating way… but more of an acknowledgement that I have weaknesses.   We all have weaknesses…. but doesn't this verse bring you great comfort?

The Lord chooses the weak to work miracles through them and then He makes them strong.  He chooses the weak and humble because they are teachable and will do the things He asks of them AND how much more does it glorify God when someone who is flawed works His miracles?  Think of Moses – do you think he confounded mighty people and things?  Of course!  He was very humble and was not gifted in speech yet he was provided for over and over – and miracles happened.  He freed his people, confounded the Egyptians, and parted the Red Sea!!  All this was done through a humble [and weak] servant of God.

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Ether 12:27)

I have come to a new resolve.  I am grateful for my weaknesses and I am grateful that I am constantly being shown what they are.  Instead of fearing that people will find out what they are or trying to act like I don't have any… I think God wants me to move forward WITH my weaknesses and have faith that He will work His mighty miracles through me.

How fun is this going to be?!  I get to show all my flaws as I move forward on this path that I have been called to travel… and you get to watch it all?  🙂  WHOO HOO!  

But in all seriousness, I am absolutely thrilled that I can be an instrument in God's hands and I commit to being more like that pen… writing whatever I am called to write… in whatever color I am called to be.  

Exposed & Perfectly Flawed

Okay… I am seriously rethinking this post.  🙂  With my new theme of doing things fearlessly…. I think I must post this!! 

 

So last weekend I went to St. George for the weekend with my mom and 2 oldest kids.  We were enjoying the beautiful weather and decided to go hiking to some really cool (and very old) Native American writings carved into rock.  

 

Shortly after we found the writings, I discovered that I needed to go to the bathroom REALLY BADLY!   My mind raced trying to find the fastest way to the car so I could go to a gas station or store or ANYTHING!  You see… I have had a fear of going to the bathroom outside in the wilderness ever since I was a child.  It sounded like the most horrible, uncomfortable, embarrassing thing EVER!  

 

I walked as fast as I could to the car… stopping occasionally… but I was SO determined to make it to a bathroom.  About 20 feet from the car, I realized the inevitable.  I would face my fear at this moment.  

 

There were people hiking down the mountain behind me so I hobbled off to the side and hid behind a rock.  I scared 2 jackrabbits away from the area and then…. well, you know…. I became "one" with nature.

 

So here is the part of the story that is funny… and inspiring… 🙂  It was during that moment when I was feeling so exposed, embarrassed, and scared that I had this thought come to me…

 

"Hey – this isn't so bad.  What was I so afraid of?"  

 

I started thinking about all the other areas in my life where I might be too afraid to move forward… and I carry that thought with me "Maybe it's not as bad as I imagined?"   

 

In order to bring my life to the level I want it to be… I think I need to feel exposed, embarrassed, and scared sometimes.  

 

I went to a book publishing seminar in November 2009 with Michael Drew.  During the entire couple of days, he kept telling us how important it is to be "REAL, RAW, and RELEVANT".  This is how we connect to others and help them. This is how we market our message… we need to show that we are human – and flawed.  

 

 

Here I am… I am the new Martina… the one who is no longer afraid of showing her insides.   The one who is willing to show her weaknesses and strengths in order to connect and help others.  I might be afraid at times – but I KNOW that I will push beyond the fear… because when I do… I know I will think "HEY!  That's not as bad as I thought it would be"  And each time I do this, my faith will be strengthened until someday my faith will be perfect.  I won't be perfect… but I will be the REAL and RAW MARTINA.   You could say I am "perfectly flawed"  😀  

Taking a Real, Hard Look

I love the New Year.  It always brings in such a feeling of renewal and strength.  I usually think about each area of my life and set goals that can be reached that year – or at least they are my ideal goals… whether they be attainable or not.  🙂

 

This year felt different somehow.   As I started to do my usual routine, it seemed so shallow and insincere.  Almost like my insides were saying "Yeah right, Martina.  That's what you say you're going to do, but what are you REALLY going to do" I am standing on a threshold in my life.  All of the things I have been preparing for and 'talking' about doing are now staring me in the face.  I have a team around me cheering me on and it feels like I have a sports coach yelling inches away from my face

"JUMP NOW, Martina!!  It is TIME!!  Make that leap or you will lose what has been given you. You need to MOVE!!!!"

 

I feel an urgency.  I know there is a message within me that needs to be shared with the world.  I know I need to have faith and move forward with fearless courage.

 

This past week I saw a conversation on Facebook about having a centralized theme for the year.  I have noticed that most years have a theme… however, I have never considered picking one ahead of time.  But I liked the idea… a lot.  So here is my theme for 2011:

 

FEARLESS and FORWARD

 

Fearless because that is what it will take to do all of the many grand things that I have felt inspired to do and Forward because that is the direction I will need to continually push myself in.  I cannot doubt when I am about to run and jump over a giant ravine… or I would fall short in my attempt.  The same is true in my mission in life.  I must RUN forward with all my might and when it is time to jump, I do not falter ONE BIT.  It will take every ounce of determination and strength to make it to the other side.  And that is what I must do.

 

So how can I move forward fearlessly?

 

I feel I must take a REALLY HARD look at myself.  A real, honest, truthful look at every weakness and inconsistent thing in my life.  I must be completely honest with where I am at.  Then I will set goals and make those weaknesses my strengths.  When I am strong and prepared… I do not fear.

 

Today is January 4, 2011.  It has taken me me days to do this and I am now ready to make a declaration to the world.  I am ready to be honest about my shortcomings and seek ways to make them my strengths.  

 

Here they are:

1. My health and fitness

How I feel on the inside:  I am a totally healthy and buff girl.  I love exercise and I love how strong my body is.  I love eating raw, organic food that is free from all unnatural or artificial ingredients.  I make healthy meals for my family and meal plan ahead of time so we can eat healthy affordably.

The hard reality:  I hate to cook.  I feel cursed everyday when I think of preparing food for myself and family.  Exercise and taking time to take care of me often finds itself at the bottom of the priority list where it consistently gets neglected.  I feel resentful that so much emphasis is put on the body.  I feel like my success is determined by my weight.  I feel like I am on display because I am a "personal fitness trainer's wife and everyone will be judging me or my husband by my fitness level.  I have had difficult experiences in the past when I am thin… so I [subconsciously] fear that if I lose weight I will be vulnerable…. somehow I've believed that the excess weight keeps me safe.   Whenever I eat really well, I find myself frequently sabotaging my efforts.

What I am going to do about it:  Last night I went to a doTERRA's event that was launching its Slim & Sassy Weight Loss Program.  They are coming out with some new products and they are having a weight-loss contest to promote it, too.  As I was sitting there, I felt purpose in my weight… and I felt a new purpose in my weight loss.  I can use a product that I love and feel passionate about, while having a set goal in mind (with the contest) AND when I win the contest, it will give me exposure with my message.  It will give me a way to make my voice be heard.  My husband just opened a fitness gym and I also felt inspired to use his workout plans along with the new products to get ultimate results as well as promote my awesome husband's abilities.  

I am also learning how to make more raw food recipes.  I have been trying to eat natural foods for a while now, however, because I have not enjoyed cooking in the past I let it discourage me.  I have attending a raw foods cooking class and have been reading several books that can teach me how to do it well. 

 

2. Goals and Follow-through

How I feel on the inside:  I feel like I am a 'go-getter'.  I like to set goals and I love how it feels when I accomplish the things I say I am going to.  I am a woman of integrity… if I say I will do it, then I will.  I also pay all of my financial obligations in a timely manner. I am a person of integrity and enjoy accomplishing the things I say I am going to do.

The hard reality:  I can get overwhelmed and my brain goes into a 'freeze' mode where I don't know what to do next.    I often have grand ideas of all the many things I want to do but then I don't follow through and see the things through to the end.  There are other times that I feel overwhelmed or fearful about the outcome of a situation.

What I am going to do about it:  I am going to move forward FEARLESSLY!!  I am going to do so much more than that – I am not going to worry about being perfect before I act.  I am going to act on inspiration the moment I receive it.  I am going to take time to connect with God every day and visualize the outcome of what I want.  

 

2011 is going to be the BEST YEAR EVER!!  I feel GREAT acknowledging the areas of improvement – because I think it is the only way to truly change.  

 

You've got to look at where you are  – in order to get to where you want to be.  🙂

I Want Some ‘Soul’ Food

I found this old blog post from a year ago (on my other blog) and I thought "Wow!  I can relate!"  I felt so drained and empty after the Holidays.  I ran faster than I had strength and my cup 'runneth' on empty.  It was a fun reminder to see what things help fill my cup after it has been depleted.  

Here is the old post:  Enjoy!


January 3, 2010

The past month (and especially this week) have gone by in a blur… this holiday season was absolutely crazy for me. There were a lot of changes in my home and I had to move things around and CLEAN every room, closet, shelf, etc. Then the holidays were here and family came in to town. It was so fun to see them, but the house was a continual disaster – and I was continually trying to clean it. My husband is also trying to put together a new business venture and since I am the computer 'go-to-gal' in our family.. My job was to spend hours and hours and hours putting the business plan together for him. I have been working from the moment I get up… to the minute I lie down.. .I am exhausted.

Then I finally heard it… I heard a quiet crying within my soul. It was sad. It wanted to enjoy life. Many of the basic needs of this 'soul' were being neglected. At first, I didn't know how to fix this sad little soul… but the answer soon came. It started when I laughed at something funny.

My heart skipped a beat and I felt warm and tingly in my chest… "Okay, that was something I liked" I thought to myself

Then the next day I had to run an errand alone. As I sat in the car singing as loudly as I could, I felt it again. There was excitement in my heart and I could feel it spreading to every aspect of my body and mind. This was making me and my soul very happy. And finally today, I figured it all out.

My body was achey and I was feeling fatigued. I was craving a good workout or something to move my body. I went outside and breathed in the cool winter air while watching the sunset. I walked up and down the street listening to music as I went. When I got home, I turned on the music. I sang as loudly as I could… I danced as hard as I could… I acted silly and ran around like a monkey and danced the 'twist'. I laughed. I brought my children in with me and we have FUN!!

Happiness and joy quickly came flooding into my life again… and it all happened because I listened to my soul and learned what it wanted to be fed to be happy.

MY HAPPY SOUL FOOD LIST:

  1. Family
  2. Laughter 
  3. Music 
  4. Dancing
  5. Singing
  6. Silliness
  7. Enjoying the moment! 

MY SPIRITUAL SOUL FOOD LIST:

  1. Prayer
  2. Meditation
  3. Reading an inspiring book
  4. Scriptures
  5. Preparing a talk or lesson

I have only begun adding to my soul food list. I urge you to find yours.

Definition of Soul Food: Anything that brings you joy and connects you to the spirit that lies within yourself.

Destination Happiness

You cannot ARRIVE at happiness. It is not a destination you reach and then stay there. Sometimes the choice to be happy is easy… but sometimes it is very, very hard. I was looking around at some of the patterns we put ourselves in that make us miserable and I realized some things about myself and others that I wish we could all do to prevent us from entering those dark places in our lives.
Here is what I see…
The pattern of being a victim: This is when you become very comfortable in this role – not that you LIKE this role, but it is something that keeps repeating itself and you feel like it happens to a lot.  Words that might be used are “Why does this always happen to me?”

The pattern of being self-absorbed:  This is when you think and act as if everything and everyone around you is either to serve you and if it doesn’t, then you don’t care (or even think about it or them) and you wish it would disapear from your life.  You could get irritated if things do not go exactly as you want.

The pattern of a dreamer:  This is when you place your happiness (or future happiness) on things that ‘could’ happen in the future.  Some of the comments might be “When I move into my new house, everything will be better”  “When I have more money, all my problems will be over”  “Someday, when…I will be happy”.

The pattern of a complainer:  This is when you never enjoy the moment at hand. You could constantly be in a state of criticism.  You might not even do anything to change the situation, just complain about it.  You might hear “I wish that person would do things differently”  “This is just horrible.  I can’t believe this is the way things are done around here”

The pattern of a martyr: This is when you view a situation as something out of your control when in reality you are creating the horrible situations in your life and you sit and feel sorry for yourself because of how bad things are.  That negative experience in your life, probably wouldn’t exist if you didn’t subconciously keep it alive.  Possibly you react to others in a certain way that encourages them to behave negatively towards you… but then you mope around afterward.

Do any of these patterns sound familiar?

I know that I have experienced all of them at one time or another.  Now that I have recognized the patters, I want to share what I have learned with you.

1. CHOOSE to be happy in whatever circumstances you are in.  Happiness comes when you choose a peaceful, forgiving, joyful, grateful, and loving thought instead of focusing on the negativity in the world around you. It is based on the choices you make each moment – NO MATTER HOW HARD – that will keep you in a joyful place. Only then will you be able to feel true happiness… even in the midst of pain.

2. KNOW that you are loved… and you are a child of God (which means he loves you no matter what and you are destined for greatness)

3. TRUST in the process of life. Believe that all things have a purpose and that in the end, it will always work out.

4. SEE the good in all things. Hidden inside each experience are great blessings. And yes, that even means the most horrible things that happen to us. We must look for the good in order to see it.

5. FORGIVE everyone and everything. By holding on to the pain, you are only hurting yourself more. (Forgiving does not mean trusting so if you are in a dangerous relationship – please protect yourself – but still choose to forgive them)

6. LIVE in the moment. Seize the opportunity that comes each second to be ‘in the present’. You will find new joy as you experience things on a more conscious level… you will truly see the people around you, you will enjoy your experiences completely, and you will feel peaceful, content, and happy.

7. LOVE the world around you. Love the earth… love your friends… love your family… love yourself. Miracles happen every day when there is love.

Although you cannot ‘arrive’ at happiness (and stay there permanently without any effort)… I promise you that as you apply these principles, you will feel joy like never before and it will be pretty darn close to actually arriving at “DESTINATION HAPPINESS”  🙂

Am I a Good Nut?

I was cracking and eating some almonds today and realized that you can NOT judge how good the nut will be from the exterior.

Okay, okay, I know I am really pushing it this time but I had an interesting thought come to mind.
 
Aren't we all like the nuts?
 
Some of the almonds I ate had really broken-up shells but the nut inside was delicious! I was getting to the last of them and I finally found this PERFECT large shell… I was so excited thinking about the huge, tasty nut just waiting to be eaten. I cracked it open and much to my dismay I found a small, shriveled, and blackened almond.
 
I didn't see any evidence on the shell that something could be wrong on the inside so how could this happen?  So here is my question to you… how many people (aka nuts) do you see in this world that have perfect outer shells? How do you judge them? You may envy them… or try to be more like them. And how many people do you know that have scraggly, broken up shells (lives) and how do you judge them? Do you pity them or make judgments about their lives?
 
Honestly, we cannot judge anyone. We do not know what lies within another person. They could have a rough exterior and a heart of gold… or they may be the best church-going person and have dark secrets of abuse. You never know…
I am reminded of the Sadduces and Pharises in the Bible. Jesus knew the intent of their hearts and saw that they were shriveled and blackened within – even though the exterior of their lives were 'perfect'.
 
I started to think about judment day… when we stand in front of our Maker. It is at that time that our shells will be cracked open to reveal what lies within us. Even though I think of myself as having cracks, broken edges, and a little scratched up, I hope that when I stand with my Savior he will find me filled with His light and love and be pleased with the 'good nut' he found.  🙂

Journey in the Wilderness

As I was reading my scriptures this morning I turned to a random chapter and started reading. I felt like it was telling me some very specific things and I would like to share them with you.

1Nephi 17:1
“…we did take our journey in the wilderness… And we did travel and wade through much affliction…”

Not only is life a journey by itself but we also have several smaller journeys that we experience within our life. Sometimes the greatest journeys that we have are the ones inspired of God. Although we are not asked to literally travel into the wilderness we are quite often led to do things that lie within the unknown or that seem extremely difficult and scary. How many times does God give us personal commandments? Such as when He prompts you to do something very specific and you know you need to do it?

In 1Nephi 17:3 it continues:
“And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them…”

This also reminds me of the scripture in 1Nephi 3:7 where it says “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

From these verses we begin to know:
1- That we will all have periods where God leads us on a journey into the wilderness
2- We will have much affliction and it will not be easy (after all the wildnerness can be wild, untamed, unknown, and scary)
3- If we keep the commandments, He will nourish and strengthen us
4- He will never ask us to take that journey without also providing a way to accomplish this commandment

In verse 4 it says that they traveled EIGHT years before they got to the land Bountiful. EIGHT YEARS! Okay, I confess. There are things that God has asked me to do and I get impatient after a few months! I had to really look at my faith. I also had to wonder, how many times the people traveling with Nephi questioned when or if they would ever get out of the wilderness? I am also reminded of Moses and the Israelites… they were in the wilderness for 40 years!  I would like to think that I would be faithful the entire time, however, that is a very long time… would I keep the faith?  If I know that when God wants me to do something, I sometimes get impatient and doubt that it will come to pass.  Why do I do that?  And why when things get difficult do I sit there and think that it should be easy? I mean, hello? Wilderness does not mean ‘taking a walk in the park’.

After they arrived in Bountiful, the Lord told Nephi to (in verse 8) to “construct a ship… that I may carry thy people across these waters”. Talk about scary and unknown!!

Now that Nephi knows his mission he starts to build it. Then everyone around him tells him “you’re a fool” “you can’t do it” “who do you think you are to think that you can build a ship?!” (verses 17-18)

Then Nephi begins to be sad because of the hardness of his family’s hearts and for their lack of faith. When his family sees this they say “we knew you were lacking in judment” “we knew you couldn’t build a ship” (verses 19-20)

Albert Einstein once saidGreat spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

Have you ever felt this? I know I have. Not in the sense that I think others have a mediocre mind – but that seeing someone move into an inspired direction can cause a stirring inside the person who is not responding to their own inspiration. Sometimes when I have shared my grand dreams with others they quickly shut me down or spew some kind of negativity at me. It’s feels as if I have found a way out of a deep, dark pit but they do not want me to leave them in that pit – so they pull on my leg, tell me things to try to scare me, or try any other desperate attempt to bring me back down.

I have also noticed a pattern through the scriptures – God takes us through the wilderness to get us to where He wants us to be. It is the also referred to as the ‘refiner’s fire’.

It reminds me of our body. Many times when we are healing from an injury, scar tissue builds up where the injury once was. The purpose is to make the area stronger than it was before. This is the same principle for us. When we heal from something difficult, we can learn and experience things that will teach us very valuable lessons and certainly strengthen us more than if it had never happened in the first place.

Although difficult at times, I am very grateful for the many times I have been led into the wilderness… only to come out better than before.  I THANK GOD for being with me and leading me through… and making me better each time.