Monday, March 25, 2013

Does the Journey Seem Long?

My two year old decided to give himself a haircut, and then drew his art lesson all over his bedroom wall. My four year old has been up all night the last 2 nights because he has not been feeling well. My oldest two children are in trouble for not being attentive during our scripture study. I have had to send each one of  the boys to separate rooms for fighting. My house is a mess, the laundry is piling up again, and so are the dirty dishes. As I take a break from yelling at my kids, I think to myself, "I need some peace and quiet!" 

Whatever happened to that idyllic dream I had in my head as a child, that growing up would be so grand? My husband would be perfect. My home would be perfect. I would be the perfect mother to my perfectly behaved children. I miss that dream as I realize that I am not perfect; my husband is not perfect either. My boys are not the perfectly behaved children I wish them to be, nor am I the perfect mother keeping my house in perfect order. I admit that there are times when it is hard for me to get out of bed sometimes. I get overwhelmed by everything that I think I need to be accomplishing. And I am reminded of the words penned by President Joseph Fielding Smith:

Does the journey seem long,
The path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet
As you struggle to rise
To the heights thru the heat of the day?

Is your heart faint and sad,
Your soul weary within,
As you toil ’neath your burden of care?
Does the load heavy seem
You are forced now to lift?
Is there no one your burden to share?
 Sometimes I get so discouraged. I want to accomplish so many things. The Lord has commanded us to become perfect like unto himself, and I don't feel like I am doing all I can to reach that type of perfection. Elder Cecil O. Samuelson taught  that perfection doesn't happen overnight, and that sometimes we feel that we are not worthy of God's blessings because we are not perfect. He says:

"Occasionally, for well-motivated and highly devoted Latter-day Saints, confusion occurs about the differences between worthiness and perfection. Worthiness and perfection don’t mean the same thing! All of us are “works in process.” We can be worthy while still needing improvement.

Be sure that you do not have higher standards for yourself or others than the Lord has established. Find satisfaction in your progress while acknowledging that perfection may still be distant.

Our perceptions of ourselves may or may not be accurate, but more frequently than we may expect, they may differ from how others view us. Those suffering from perfectionism tend to be wonderful, contributing, and effective people, and yet may feel that no matter what they do, it is never enough. These good people suffer from exaggerating their minor mistakes, weaknesses, or shortcomings to the point that they may become dysfunctional.

When we become obsessed with our deficiencies or weaknesses and so focused upon them that we—of necessity—neglect everything else, then we are out of balance. The Lord shares an important insight: “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)."

When I feel discouraged and weary, I need to remember that there is someone who knows what I am going through. I am not alone. My Savior is there to help turn my weaknesses into strengths if I just come unto Him.  President Joseph Fielding Smith continues with:
Let your heart be not faint
Now the journey’s begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
So look upward in joy
And take hold of his hand;
He will lead you to heights that are new—

A land holy and pure,
Where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed,
For no sorrows remain.
Take his hand and with him enter in.

Does the Journey Seem Long?,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 127
 Listen to the invitation that Jesus extends to all of God's children in Matthew 11:

 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf commented in the October 2012 General Conference:

"We do matter. We determine our happiness. You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness." 

I hope we can all remember that it is through our Savior Jesus Christ where we will find true joy and happiness. He will turn our discouragements, our weaknesses into strengths. He will show us that we truly matter. He gave his life for each one of us because we are important. We may not yet be perfect, but we will be able to attain perfection through His atoning sacrifice as we endure to the end of this our mortal journey.

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