Sunday, March 2, 2008

"Righteously Hang On and Outlast the Devil"

Lately I have had some serious reflection on my own. And that was the problem. I've been trying to worry about things on my own, instead of letting the Savior help carry the burden, that I have almost been overwhelmed to the point that I can't even feel happiness.

Today was a true Sabbath, and the Spirit spoke to me to remind me of things that I need to remember at "the present time":

"Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter. . . .For after much tribulation come the blessings. (D&C 58:3–4)

"All things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good” (D&C 98:2–3)

I turned on a program this morning that I had recorded on BYU-TV. I caught the tail end of a talk by Randy Bott. It was exactly what I needed to hear today, after a difficult week:

"Sometimes life seems so difficult that we loose our zest for living. If we dwell too much or too long on what at the moment seems to be the negatives it is easy to miss the joy and the blessings which come our way daily." ("My Mind Was Called Upon Serious Reflection".)

I started today at church. Instead of finding negative things to criticize, I tried to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and to "Be of good cheer". I tried hard to focus on good things, and goodness, and to realize that we all have struggles and imperfections and are in need of the grace of Christ. I have especially felt this need lately.

We focus so much on being like the Samaritan in the parable and treating others like he treated the "certain man" on the way to Jericho. But sometimes we are the ones that are lying half dead on the side of the road, and we're in need of Christ's ministering to us. We may go unnoticed by others because we struggle internally. These are the times when we need to recognize that Christ is the only one to whom we can turn everything over and allow him to minister to us.

Sometimes the solution to that discouragement really is to stop focussing so much on yourself and to start thinking of others. But in the mean time, it's nice to hear some great counsel in our times of discouragement:

"When George A. Smith was very ill, he was visited by his cousin, the Prophet Joseph Smith. The afflicted man reported: “He [the Prophet] told me I should never get discouraged, whatever difficulties might surround me. If I were sunk into the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I ought not to be discouraged, but hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I should come out on the top of the heap.” (George A. Smith Family, comp. Zora Smith Jarvis, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1962, p. 54.)

"There are times when you simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves you". As the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high.” (D&C 121:7–8) (Ezra Taft Benson, "Do Not Despair".)

Lately I have allowed myself to get too overwhelmed when I think of all the things I have to do, pay for, achieve, etc--thinking I have to do them on my own. Today I realized that I need to turn my life over to the Lord and literally let his atonement take over. Let Him carry the burden. It brings peace to think of Him and know that His mission is "to bless in time of need"--and that He can bless us so personally according to our needs.

One of my favorite and reassuring scriptures is simply:
"Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not" (D&C 6:36)

Now there's food for thought.


Sally said...

Those last few verses of Section 6 are totally my favorite scriptures, too!

I'm glad you're finding peace from really the only true source. I'm sure my comments from the other night didn't help you out any. Just want you to know we feel for ya! But you're right--the Lord will help you find joy in the journey!

Seth said...

Spencer, I love you! That post was what I needed right now. The last two or three weeks for me have been really tough, like never before in my life, and just reading your blog helped me understand things more clearly. I was talking to a friend about this actually earlier in the week, because for me, I love to help people out with their problems (as im sure most people do) but it's just an amazing desire I have to help people, but than I don't think I realize that sometimes i'm the one that needs help. That's where you need to turn to the Lord for strength and courage and know that through your faith in Christ, you can endure all things. I love the scriptures you gave as well! Thanks for the post brother, and as you know, always know the savior is there to help us out through any problems or discouragements we may have, just have faith in him that everything will turn out ok, and it will!

Jacob John said...

In reflection, I wrote down a quote from a talk that a member of our bishopric gave on forgiveness and repentance. He said, "Some times we need to outlast the devil until his evil influence leaves us." That quote really speaks for itself, bit mostly I wanted to point out that God says to forgive everyone. Are we not included in the "everyone" title? Satans evil influence can make ones thoughts, of which could very well be brutal towards ones self, an overwhelming thing. We often mistake these overwhelming feelings and emotions as apart of our lives. Understanding we are not perfect is the main excuse we give of having such thoughts as "It's too hard"... "Can I really be good enough to raise my children?"... "How am I so imperfect?". Lucifer would have these thoughts be seen as thoughts for improvement in ones mind. I wish it wasn't 12:52 and I made more sense. I guess the main thing I am saying is, self discovery is important but Brutally scraping yourself apart to attain perfection isn't the key. It is feeling motivation in being better. It's a positive feeling given from the spirit that it's one step at a time to attain perfection. It is in hope and love! I am greatful to the Lord that I understand what I'm trying to say, so sorry if it's hard. I've learned much as of late and have been happy in understanding that happiness really is a decision we need to make. Thanks for being you and loving us so much. :)

JAMIE COOK~ said...

Sometimes you hit "moments" in your life when you feel like you are just hanging on. I have discovered that that is long as you keep hanging on, there will be a light somehow. i love a post like this--it makes you more human. We grow together through our struggles and helping each other to overcome them..i am going to say this every time---i miss you!

NM said...

Great post. =)

"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." James 1

Sometimes it is about letting go, and simply letting God... =)

Kelli W. said...

Hey there, I too love this post because I can relate so well to your feelings. There are times I feel so completely overwhelmed and a type of depression sinks over me. I fight it so hard, yet strangly it always seems to cycle out as I focus on Jesus Christ and his life and all he has given and provided me. Sometimes these are the times I feel closest to the spirit and it truely is a matter of holding on longer than the devil will. I always think of it as such since it brings out my stubborn side and I think there is NO way the devil will outlast ME! I know from experience that the best remedy is to lose yourself in the service of others, your husband or wife, your children, and even strangers. I left the grocery store frazzeled because the boys were beating each other up and crying the whole time, but as soon as I saw a strangers cart full of plastic bottles we was going to return blow away from him and spill all over the parking lot and the wind seemed to keep blowing to where he had three garbage bags full of cans and bottles flying everywhere. So I stopped and ran around helping him collect everything. He was so grateful and I felt so good! And the boys didn't hit each other once the whole time as they watched me run around the parking lot! Awesome huh? I sure love and miss you and thank you for your tender post.

David T. said...

You know, I've been so distracted trying to juggle all the Church stuff, I hadn't thought about how challenged my own life's been lately (and it really has). Thanks for reminding me the Lord's got my back.

Nate Probert said...

Spence.. I love you. I love the spirit and all things that are of good cause and good nature. Its truly amazing to me that when you are truly in need of being lifted up and you allow yourself to be humble, you stumble upon things like this blog entry and get to realize how you really need to hear things sometimes and you are directed to them if you allow yourself. This blog just made me so happy and filled with hope. I dont know why but I too have allowed so many things to weigh on my lately and even though I know our Savior has been there for me in times like these, I seem to neglect him and the good feelings because of my focus on the things that seem to overwhelm me and seem to be so important that I have to figure them out all alone. I love your scriptures, especially the last one. Its funny that I just blogged about not having fear and I got to come and read about his powerful words that come with promise. I know I am progressing, but it is in this progression that I seem to be having the biggest trials of my life, trials that honestly feel like there is no hope sometimes. Just want you to know how much I truly appreciate your faith and strength, and that your words really do bring peace and hope into my heart. I cannot wait to move down there with you and the family. Whats weird is that I know this may be one of the hardest things I do. And to so many people that doesn't make any sense, but I know who I am and what I am supposed to be doing and the road back sometimes seems like there is no giant tree of life at the end awaiting. But even though I know the challenge ahead, I do my best to thank our Lord and Savior for putting such strong feelings of what is right in me and making a way for me to return to live with him someday. Like you said, focusing on the blessings in our life and really thinking of others and their needs somehow begins to lift you up. I feel like we have so much to share and I am very excited to be around you guys. Great blog. Love you brother.