Saturday, November 3, 2012

To Every Thing There is a Season

Recently I have been reading a Blog Series at the Blog, Feast Upon the Word, about Opposition.  The idea that is being discussed is how it takes good and bad to be whole. As I've been following this blog series, it has gotten me thinking about some thoughts and experiences that happened to me about 15 years ago. I guess I can call it my "reverse born again" experience. My life at that time revolved closely around church and all things religious. That seemed like the good thing to do. I had come through a very discouraging year and things were getting better. I had a spiritual experience and came to understand that my heart and who I was, was precious. My value did not depend on what I did or did not accomplish, I was still precious, and so was everyone else in the world.
I also came to understand that there are good things in the world that are not "religious", and my husband was an excellent example of that. He is a a great human being. Religious experiences and faith are not gifts for him. I fell in love with him because he is so true and loyal to what he thinks and believes. I love "real" people. The good thing is that truth does not require faith, truth is truth and can stand by itself. So many times religious institutions demand faith to be a part of their religion. I found a scripture in The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) that gave me hope for people who do not fit within the "normal" scope of faithful and religious people. In D&C 88:118 it says, "And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." Not everyone has to have faith to be a part of religion and spiritual experiences! Truth can stand up for itself because it is true, and truth doesn't require faith.
God and spiritual experiences are truth, and faith definitely enables different avenues of spiritual experiences, but the truths are not limited by faith.
These realizations led me on a search for wholeness, which became more important than searching for "good".  I like the scripture in James 1:2-3, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect, and entire, wanting nothing." Trials, opposition and using imperfections lead to "entireness" and wholeness. It is more about accepting, even embracing, who I am and using my "good and bad" to fulfill my individual part in God's big plan.
This concept of wholeness and not labeling things as good and bad became very important to me, because if something is labeled bad, then I had the tendency to avoid accepting, or even seeing the bad in me, let alone purposely using that part of me. (I struggle with the right words to use for "good" and "bad", so I apologize.)
I created a lesson to use with my children in my attempt to help them learn from what I was learning.  I titled the lesson, "Emotions-To Every Thing There is a Season.  The objective of the lesson is: God created each of us with lots of different emotions like being happy, sad, angry, excited and lots of others. All of these emotions are sometimes good and sometimes bad. God wants us to learn to use all of our emotions for righteousness. Righteousness is determined by the way the Holy Ghost directs us to use the emotions. The lesson pairs up "opposite animals" and then the children decide which animal trait is appropriate for which scenario. For example: A Playful and Silly Monkey--A Wise and Observant Owl.  Playing at the playground, which is appropriate? walking through a parking lot, which is appropriate?  Fierce Lion--Gentle Lamb. Playing with your baby sister, which is appropriate? playing soccer or someone asking you to take drugs, which is appropriate?
Click and you can get a copy of the lesson. Cut out the animal cards to use with the lesson. The lesson includes songs which are in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint Children's Songbook. Here is a link to the Children's Songbook. You can search by the number or the title.
I believe that joy and happiness are linked to our willingness to see who we are, the good, bad and ugly. We must seek truth, accept it, and then work with God, who will help us use the precious, whole, complete, true me to complete his plan, which is to help every other precious, whole, complete, true being have joy, hope and health.

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