Saturday, February 23, 2013

I Can Do Hard Things

As I've mentioned before, I made a goal this year to read the standard works cover to cover this year. According to my schedule, I need to read 7 chapters a day which I'm doing pretty well with...except for the last couple of days. It's been REALLY crazy and I haven't made time like I want and need to, but I'm going to catch up. In addition, I read at least one chapter from the Book of Mormon. Since my reading in the Book of Mormon isn't the largest portion of my study time at this point, I'm really trying to pick little nuggets of information or inspiration - whichever comes - to help me best.
As I've been reading, I've kept in mind a question I was posed in seminary and Sunday school. We can ask ourselves "why was this included in this book?" As I've done this I've been given greater insight. I recently finished reading the Book of Mormon and have started again. In 1 Nephi 2:15, it simply says "And my father dwelt in a tent". I've read that verse a kajillion times but never gave it much thought. As I was pondering the chapters I had read and asked myself this question, I had a thought.
The Lord commanded Lehi to take his family out of Jerusalem into the wilderness. They left all of their possessions and WALKED 200 miles and they dwelt in a TENT! I don't know what the housing was like at this time in history, but home is home. I can't really say that I enjoy sleeping in a tent, even if it is just for a night or two (perhaps it's because of the strange experiences I've had). I find it interesting and testimony building that this family (most of them, at least) willingly obeyed the Lord's command to leave home and end up living in uncomfortable conditions (at least that's what I'd consider it). And as a bit of an extension to the story, they went back to Jerusalem TWICE...that is just amazing to me!
I drew several parallels to my own life, but I will only share two here. The first is a question for myself. If the Lord commanded something, would I do it? If I were asked to leave my "home" - maybe my comfort zone, maybe my habits, or life - to follow his commandment and ended up having to live in a "tent" (away from what I knew), would I do it? Though I may not be perfect, I can say that, yes, I would do that...I have done that. I gave up my figurative "home" and comfort and walked into the wilderness at the command of the Lord...and it would appear that I'm still walking (and today I'm felling a little tired and I'd love to just sit still, but He's not quite ready for that).
The second parallel I drew was that sometimes the Lord asks us to do HARD THINGS!! I have this AMAZING friend named Shelly. When Lori and I moved into our awful apartment, she told me often, "you can do hard things". At first I wasn't so sure, but she was right!! That experience, as well as others of my past, present, and I'm sure my future, were so hard, but those hard times brought/bring me closer to the Lord. Our difficult times can bring us closer to God, or push us further away, but it is our choice, and I choose to go to Him. And I'll tell you what, I needed these lessons and reminders, this week especially.
As I try to move forward, I'm trudging through some VERY HARD things. I wear a smile most of the time, but inside I feel like I'm being torn apart. This isn't who I am, this isn't what I had planned for myself, this isn't what I thought Heavenly Father had planned for me. Right now we're walking, He and I. I also know there is a "promised land", so to speak, and as I pass through and overcome these times, He's right there with me. And I've a feeling that there will likely be a lot more hard things before it gets easier, and definitely throughout the rest of my life, but His promises are sure - our task is to endure to the end.

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