Oct 11, 2011

A Challenge To Become!

Become? Become what?

I very rarely dive into the deep pool of my personal thoughts on this blog.  I know my readers come here for light hearted, quick crafts and honestly, that's where I'm most comfortable too.  I hope, though, that you will bare with me, there's been so much on mind.  Things that, after bouncing thoughts around in my head and then chatting with a few really great women, I've realized that I may not be alone in my thinking or in my struggles.  Perhaps some of you can relate. 

I recently tried to express my thoughts in another public venue but I fumbled it.  I actually ended up offending or confusing a few people. I came across as either confessing my own sins or being self righteous and condemning of others.  Neither was my intent.  I guess I should know better than to stand in front of a microphone and a crowd when I'm highly emotional and try to explain my soul.  Duh!  right?!  So, instead I'll write my thoughts and send them into blogland for the masses to read - is something wrong with this picture?  Hmmm?!  At least I can take my time in writing and edit as needed.  A journal entry of sorts instead of diarrhea of the mouth, yup, that sounds much better to me.

I've been really struggling lately.  Things for me are changing.  My identity seems to have disappeared.  Where did I go?  In so many ways I feel lost.  My environment is the same, I do the same routine.  I go the same places. The territory is familiar but I feel confused and lost.  Have you ever felt that way?  You look in the mirror and you just don't see yourself anymore?  You feel out of place and like you just don't fit?

The odd thing is, I'm not sure why I feel this way.  Is it because my kids are getting older and my role in their life is changing? Is it's because I've let myself get into a rut and I don't feel like I'm progressing?  Is it because, while people are friendly here, I don't feel I have friends?  Is it because my day is usually spent focused on my family and their needs and I'm not nurturing myself?  Or, is it something that I just haven't figured out yet?  I simply do not know.

For the past several weeks I've been trying to figure it all out.  Do you know how hard that is?  How emotionally draining it is? My mind is constantly thinking about the things that are wrong with me. How did I get to this point?  What can I do to change it?  How can I find "me" again?  It's like trying to put together a puzzle only to find out that you have extra pieces and no picture to look at for a reference. Which pieces need to stay, which pieces go?  It's very confusing.

I still haven't figured it all out.  However, after much prayer, soul searching, and listening to several conference talks from leaders of the church I belong to, I felt like I was getting closer to having some answers.  Then, this past weekend I attended a Time Out For Women.  The theme of the conference?  "Choose to Become".  Seriously, it could not have come at a better time.  Things are much clearer now.  Here are a few things that have helped me put my thoughts into perspective and have given me some peace in this personal quest. I share them because I think there are others feeling the same way as me, perhaps it will help.

I know that God's love is pure and simple.  I was reminded of a quote I read from author Regina Brett, "God loves me because of who God is, not because of anything I did or didn't do."  So often I feel like I'm not doing enough and then I beat myself up. I tend to compare myself - yes, it's a personal weakness that I'm very aware of - to others who appear to do things better or who have stronger testimonies or perfect families or more talent and then I get sad and negative about my own self and abilities.  Truth be told though, God's love is pure and perfect.  He doesn't compare, I shouldn't either.

He knows who I am.  I may not fully understand my potential but my Heavenly Father does.  Because of this, because his love is pure and good, I want to do better.  I want to serve, uplift, and participate in things that help and bless others.  His love is a motivating source that I feel helps me work towards living up to my divine potential.  It really is all about progressing and about becoming.

His love is a challenge to become.

A challenge to become something more.

A challenge to help me find myself again.

In a presentation at the Time Out For Women conference, one of the speakers, Merrilee Boyack,  spelled out the word Become in this way... these are things that, when applied to our life, will help us find our selves and become all that we can be.

B = Bold, be a leader.  Be willing to stand and work for that which is good.
E = Eternally Minded, don't dwell too much on the temporary things of today
C = Be creative.  There is something in each of us that needs to create (Amen to that!)
O = Be Outward focused.  Don't dwell too much on yourself instead serve others
M = Be Meek. Be humble.
E = Be Enlightened. Seek after spiritual knowledge.

Then she added one more letter...

U = Be Unique. Be you and embrace the fact that you are not like anyone else.

I so fully related to her words.  I swear, even though there were 1500+ women in attendance, I think she was speaking solely to me.  At the end of her talk she posed the question, "How do you know what to become?"  Something I'd been asking myself for a long time.  Her answer?  "You ask and move forward, then ask and move forward again."

In her response, I understood more completely why I was struggling, I've been standing still. I was looking behind me to find the answers instead of realizing that defining who I am will be an ever changing process.  I won't be the same today as I was yesterday and that is ok.  I've asked my Heavenly Father what He wants me to become and now I am moving forward.

I will continue to ask him and I will continue to move forward.
I'm sure I will still struggle from time to time but I know that God loves me for who He is and not for anything I have or haven't done. Because of this I will be a little kinder with myself along the way.  And, the desire to reciprocate His love is strong and one of the ways I can do that is to become something more than I am. 

For the first time in weeks, the internal struggling and questioning has waned and I feel God's love and great sense of peace and that is a very GOOD thing!  I named my blog "Then She Made..."  how interesting that the most important thing I will ever make is myself.

Then she made... herself!

If you can relate this to, and are still struggling, this talk might help.  It gave me great insight and peace:  Forget Me Not by Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Also, if you have the opportunity to attend a Time Out For Women, I highly recommend it.  You can see tour dates here, 2011 Tour