This past year has been challenging for our family, but very rewarding in the same way. We have experienced severe sickness, continued recovery from pornography addiction (which is a constant reminder to be on our spiritual A-game), homeschooling our children, starting 2 new businesses, all of our children in school, job loss and the list could go on if I thought more about it.
ALL of these challenges have brought us A LOT of strength and hope. While some we are currently going through and others we have passed to the other side, there is still opportunity to look for the blessings that come in the opposition of our lives.
Opposition is defined as anything contrary to what we desire. We desire health, there is the opposition of sickness. We desire wealth, there is the opposition of financial struggle. We desire happy, respectful obedient children, there is the opposition of agency (ability to choose for oneself)
This time of year can bring challenges for some. The hustle and bustle of finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list while staying within budget. The desire and request to be at every party from neighbors to friends to family. The feeling of loneliness as we reflect upon those who have passed on to the next life. And for some, the debilitating feelings of depression and anxiety in realization that life might not look the way you had hoped it would. I have experienced all of this at one point or year or another. It happens to all of us, but why??
Why this time of year? Honestly I believe it's in the air, and part of the traditions we have taken on. The air because it's generally colder, darker earlier and much quieter outside than previous months that encouraged getting out more, being social more and soaking up the lovely rays of the sun. The traditions because of the expectations or pressures we have allowed to take over, whether by choice or force.
As we begin a new month, the last month of the year, we get to reflect upon the Birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. We must not to forget to look at all the good that is happening in our lives and how we can bless others with our optimism and hope for the future.
Sister Eyring, wife of President Henry J. Eyring of BYU-Idaho has taught us how to
RISE ABOVE OPPOSITION
RECOGNIZE SPIRITUAL POWER: We are physically, emotionally and spiritually designed to succeed.
RETHINK DISCOURAGEMENT: The adversary, namely Satan, uses discouragement to keep us from progressing. Our failures, which are in fact natural learning opportunities, may seem to belie our inherent, God-given optimism.
LEARN TO SERVE AND SEE: When we serve others with pure motives, we can be blessed without falling prey to the natural 'what's in it for me' temptation. A downward emotional and spiritual cycle can be converted to a permanent upward one.
APPRECIATE OPPOSITION: Opposition is designed into every aspect of mortality. Without it, we cannot grow physically, intellectually and spiritually.
CHOOSE TO SEE MIRACLES: Take credit for what you have learned as you acted, not necessarily the way things turned out. See the would-be hero in yourself.
Applying these recommendations will help me get through the hard times in my life and help sustain me as I press forward in hope and optimism.
IT'S NOT EASY.....BUT IT'S WORTH IT.
While some of our trials, some of my trials not expressed, might not every 'go away' in this life, we are being tested on how we handle them. We can be hopeful, optimistic and helpful to others who might be experiencing the same opposition. We can be a light to those that are in the darkness and accept others light when our darkness doesn't show any signs of light.
Some of the hardest trials in my life have produced some of the greatest blessings. Without the ability to see/experience the opposition, I wouldn't be able to appreciate the good nearly as much.
To me it's much like physical work. Our bodies enjoy sitting/lying on the couch and would do so if we never required it to do anything more. In fact, if we weren't surrounded by others working, we wouldn't know the need or excitement that comes from work. Even though it might not be something that we want to do, thus displaying a sense of opposition to our natural state of idleness, we wouldn't experience the fruits of our labors, namely wages, connection with others, learning new skills, directly blessing the lives of others who need our work/services.
Mosiah 24:15-16 "...the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
...Be of Good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage."
Without the opposition of the hard ground pushing against the roots, the roots of this plant wouldn't become a strong plant.