If you’ve ever been in a car, as driver or passenger, and not had someone, at sometime, yell at you to “Get out of the way!” you’re in the minority. Traffic jams and busy schedules collide to create stressful moments galore while traveling. Or maybe just going over to the nearby grocery store. But this is not the kind of “Get out of the way” on my mind today.
One of Satan’s biggest tools against us is discouragement. It comes in many forms, and can suck the light right out of us. My feelings and thoughts about getting out of our own way derived from my reading Doctrine and Covenants, section 1 this morning. In verses 21 and 22 we read, “That faith also might increase in the earth; That mine everlasting covenant might be established.”
Often we are our own worst enemy, blocking our progress or allowing faith to diminish, drop by precious drop, if we can’t get out of our own way.
Here are a few thoughts about improving our state, choosing to increase in faith while we participate in the blessings of covenants, and thinking more positive thoughts about ourselves. Only we can dump feelings or habits that keep us trapped in a glass tower of our own creating. And we can take it apart in order to build in a better way!
- Have an opinion: Think things through, after which we may go and ask our Father if our thoughts are correct. We can then have an opinion of our own and find more confidence as we continue this pattern.
- Conquer overwhelming feelings: Usually we feel overwhelmed because we’ve over-thought. We start mixing issues, trying to solve everything at one time, and get lost in the cyclone of thinking. This keeps us at a standstill. Pulling that ball of thoughts and feelings apart, and choosing to deal with one thing at a time, grants more clarity.
- Accepting our “best” as enough: A couple of the kids were perfectionists. I have no idea where they got it from. [please note sarcasm] Having “been there and done that,” I understand their feelings. I also know they’re harmful in the long run, if we aren’t careful. We compare ourselves to everyone who does something better than we do. We demand too much of ourselves, so we feel as if we never measure up. I figure the adversary loves this useful tool. Get rid of it. If we’re as nice and encouraging to ourselves as we are the next guy, we’ll feel much more hopeful.
- Accept the little successes: If we’re wanting grandiose attention, strides, or improvements, maybe we just need to back up a bit and smile about the little steps we’re doing well. Enjoy our successes by adopting a slower pace. That fable about the rabbit and tortoise? The lesson is a good one.
- Get rid of the influence: If we’re listening to a little voice that says — despite our best intentions and work — “you’re not good enough,” “you’ll fail again,” or anything like it, then we’re falling for Satan’s influence. We just need to take a stand and tell him to take a hike. Jesus taught it himself in Matthew 16:23, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” He then taught his disciples the power in following him lest they lose their soul.
- Jesus loves us: This is a powerful, true statement. He loves us more fully than we can imagine. So does our Father in heaven. It hurts my heart to see so many who feel like they don’t deserve his love. I remember the counsel that is so helpful and hopeful — There are things we can do to stop God from blessing us, but nothing we can do to stop Him from loving us.
Because we’re here to gain a mortal experience, and the dark influences are very much a part of this sphere, our faith will be tested. We’ll fall flat on our faces from time to time. We’ll probably all feel the creeping influence of the prince of darkness beckoning us to a place of self- doubt or needless anxiety once in a while. But we don’t have to invite him in and let him take a seat next to us on the couch, right?
These steps are pretty simple to write, yet harder to master. But we don’t have to do it alone. The Lord is always near. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Alma 13:20 “Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; having the love of God always in your hearts, that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest.”
Self plus the Lord equals “Our best” and that’s plenty good enough. He will lovingly tend us and teach us to better love ourselves so that we can better love others.
P.S. My husband just had a conversation — this very afternoon — with one of the [almost grown] children. He guided her through this very kind of pattern so she could make a decision as she stands at a fork in the road. She received good counsel from her father. Now she has to think it through, work it through, and get out of her own way.
Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and “Mimi” who joined the LDS Church as a teenager. It was the best choice she’s made in life. The next best choice was marrying her hubby, Dean. Her propensity for being the queen of embarrassing moments notwithstanding, she sums up her journey thus far like this: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” She has taught Church youth and family programs for 25 years, and has written books, hundreds of columns, and created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. Her latest venture is to create a website to focus on, bring attention to, and grow goodness in this world. Come participate in a place “where goodness gathers.” Please visit her website at www.goodnessmatters.com