Sunday, August 23, 2009

Don't cast it away

For months, I have been striving, working, changing.

I have been trying to give so much of myself to things that are important to me. I want to serve and lift and help. As I and my family have followed this course, we have been very happy, and very blessed.

But this week has been difficult. I have felt such an oppression in my mind. Such doubts and such discouragement. Thoughts of negativity have raged in my mind.

"Do you honestly think you can change things?"

"Who do you think you are?"

"Do you actually believe you're making a difference to anyone?"

"You're wasting your time."

"You don't matter at all...quit trying so hard."

"No one cares about those things...you're being silly."

"You're tired. JUST GIVE UP."


Sigh. It's no fun to have those thoughts be a constant companion. We've all been there, right?

Today I hit a low. I sat in church and watched change and growth all around me, but for some reason, I just couldn't see it in my own life. Discouragement overwhelmed me and flowed out my eyes. I silently pleaded for help, but even that was difficult.

The day wasn't easy, but I continued to try and to smile and to do my best. And as I kept trying to plod along, gradually light returned, little by little to my mind. Gradually, the negative voice of before was replaced by one I dearly love:

"Once there has been genuine illumination, beware the temptation to retreat from a good thing. If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don't give up when the pressure mounts... Don't give in. Certainly don't give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. 'Cast not away therefore your confidence.' Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you."
-Jeffrey R. Holland

Was anything worth doing ever easy? Was anything good and worthwhile ever unmet by opposition?

I don't believe so.

In fact, tonight, as I think about it, I find myself believing that if you are experiencing severe opposition and discouragement, it's probably a good sign that you're on the right track.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

-Hebrews 10:35–36

7 comments:

Jessie Mae said...

I have felt much the same this week. Although it has been a week of miracles for us, it has been such a trial and stress for me as well...

I had forgotten that talk, and really needed the reminder.

My favorite is where he says, If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don't give up when the pressure mounts... Don't give in

Thanks for the reminder... I love you. Hope your week goes better...

Tara and Dan said...

Just what I needed to hear tonight- thanks :)

Ryan and Evelyn said...

I love that quote from Elder Holland! It is definitely difficult to stay optimistic at times, but I know you can do it! You are an amazing woman!!! Love you and thinking and praying for you!

Rebecca said...

I LOVE that talk by Elder Holland. It's helped me through many difficult times!

I read your blog and see how you strive to be so in tune with the Spirit and be the best wife, mother, and person you can be. From my standpoint, you are someone I look at and admire. You are an amazing woman. You know that, right?

Kirk said...

Oh, Ann! I wish I could just give you a great big hug -- tears and all! With all the challenges and negativity in most of life, you are moving steadily (if, sometimes, slower than you'd like) against the flow -- and you know, feeling like you're fighting a real battle is the price for doing things right -- the only fish that float downstream are the dead ones! Viva la difference!
Love, Mom

Jason said...

In my life as a Latter-Day Saint two writers have touched my heart and the very strings that pull at it, one the very awesome and inspirational Jeffery R. Holland whom I love dearly, and you Ann whom I also love dearly. I hear my very own cry's for help when I read your blogs, you and I have a lot in common when it comes to our connection to both side of the powers that be. Thank you for your words of inspiration.

Nicole said...

it is funny how you think that you're the only one that feels doubt and you're surprised when people you look up to say they struggle with it too. thanks for being an example of the believers.