Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"Let it wash over you"
Life is very interesting, and quite challenging for me right now. I have already written much about my health struggles. They are my resistance training, which is why I write so often about them. (When we build muscles, we have to break them down to build them. I feel like I'm in the spiritual gym a lot these days!)
Recently, things have been worse, as I have had migraines that keep coming (or maybe A migraine that has never left). I have already written a little about that, too.
This last weekend, I got another one. I wasn't as angry as I was before, but I was deeply discouraged. And afraid. And feeling lost as to what to do. I was trying not to feel hopeless, but I did.
Once again, as the week before, I found myself in my bed, crying and praying. I needed help and guidance. I didn't even know where to start. I wasn't even sure what to ask (a favorite scripture comes to mind). I shared all of this with Heavenly Father.
My dear husband came up and listened for a while. He counseled with me, and I with him.
"I feel like everything I do is wrong!" (Migraines had hit after doing good things...like going to a family Easter dinner, serving my family. One even hit after lying in bed reading my scriptures, even before I had done anything else.)
"Is that really what you are feeling?" hubby asked.
No. I knew that the Spirit wasn't saying I was doing everything wrong. But I felt within myself that I was. (Hence, my hopeless feelings.)
But my husband kept listening while I sorted things out, out loud. (I am a very verbal sorter-outer, as those who know me know.)
After a while, I started to talk about things I could do to make some changes. A peace settled over the conversation, and my husband identified it. He could sense the change in my demeanor, my voice, my emotion level.
And he helped me realize I was getting answers. I was getting answers!
I called a friend, and the conversation I had solidified that I was heading in the right direction. I cannot thank my friend enough, and I cannot possibly capture it all here, but I will say this:
God heard, and answered. Again. I was in the dark, and He gave me some light.
I recalled a conversation I had last week with a friend. I had shared my many mini miracles experience, where I received a clear message about God's love.
She wisely noted, "But you don't fully believe it, do you?"
And then she said something that has stuck with me.
"Let it wash over you, Michelle."
I know intellectually that God loves me, loves us, loves His children. But for so much of my life, when things have gone wrong, when I have goofed, I have gone to a place in my mind, a dark place of shame and personal criticism. I am coming to recognize more fully and quickly that this isn't truth, but I know I need the Lord's help to change my mind and heart, to let the truth of His love and mercy wash over me.
Of course, the truth of His love and mercy doesn't absolve me of responsibility, doesn't give me permission to slack off and sin. But I think I am at the extreme end, trying still to earn my salvation alone, on my own merits, with my own spiritual résumé (which, of course, is pretty thin -- after all, I am mortal!)
The scripture that has come to mind today is Alma 42:30:
Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God [after all, I shouldn't justify sins; that said, I'm still mulling over the difference between sins and mistakes]; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.
I felt like I was face-down in the dust for a while there on Sunday, gritty teeth and all, struggling for breath. That's not it, though. He doesn't want me choking on the dust! I realized that as I started to feel the power of humility as answers and TRUTH started distilling about why I need to be humble: because God loves me and wants to help me. And I need to let those truths wash over me. I need to figure out better how to let Him. To make space for Him and His love in my life. To not be afraid of not being able to do it all on my own, because that isn't the plan. Or that isn't how to access the power of God's perfect justice and mercy -- the power of the plan.