Monday, October 31, 2016

Finding Me - Fear is the Enemy of Faith

Many who know me know that about a year and a half ago my life was spiraling rapidly out of my control.  Its been suspected that I've been dealing with depression for over a decade but I tipped down that particular slope pretty hard last year with the addition of bouts of anxiety that had begun about a year and a half before that (give or take).  I tried so hard, oh so very very hard, to swing back up but the track was gone.  It hadn't moved, I hadn't changed my own direction, it had completely fallen apart.  Disintegrated.  I had an idea of what direction I should be heading but was not able to get there on my own.  My father tried his absolute best, and I tried moving in faith, but I kept hitting up against barrier after barrier.

By May I knew I needed some serious outside help.  I talked to my bishop and was able to meet with a therapist through LDS Family Services.  I am so grateful I had that opportunity!  It helped me hold on in ways I didn't know I could anymore, just knowing that in a few days I'd have my next appointment.  My therapist went above and beyond too, staying longer and giving me the time I needed to be able to talk.  One of the things she jumped on right away was that work is a big source of stress for me and she strongly recommended I look for a new job.  She even put me in touch with incredible resources to get a baseline and start looking.  I even started considering going back to school for a Bachelor's degree (I have an Associates as a paralegal).

It was in this timeframe though that my brain really started coming unhinged.  Remember my earlier post where I talked about how my brain never stops?  My trains of thought are frequent, rapid and never-ending and they started looping like mad on these topics.  I couldn't even begin to find the brakes let alone pull them, or at least get onto a different track.  In my moment of greatest desperation I did what I have done in the past--I called my dad and asked for a Priesthood Blessing.  I find it a great source of comfort that my father is a worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holder, and have often turned to him and to my Heavenly Father in times of need, and I felt in urgent need at that time.

I was in Springville, UT at that particular moment and called dad up to ask if he'd be available in about 45 minutes (the time it would take to get to his house).  When he responded affirmatively I requested the blessing and we talked for a moment.  After getting off the phone with him, while proceeding north towards Salt Lake County, I offered one of the most fervent, heartfelt, sincere prayers with real intent I've ever prayed.  I spoke to the Lord of my confusion, my absolute desire to do His will without any idea of what it was.  I thanked Him for all of my options but prayed so hard to know what the right one was.  Please, Lord, just let me know which way to go and I will!  Remembering, though, that all things are according to the Lord's will.  He knows exactly who I am and what I need to do to return to Him, so let all things be according to His infinite knowledge and will.




The answer wasn't what I expected, but it was absolutely the one that I needed.  Still need, truth be told.  To paraphrase, I was told to be patient in my current circumstances.  To remain where I'm at, in other words, and the Lord will let me know where to go when it's time to change.  He reminded me to consider the lilies, how he still cares for them so much more will He care for me.  There were other things contained in that blessing, but this works for now.  I find I am grateful to this day that the response He gave was so clear, and still find comfort in that tender mercy.

I knew peace in that moment.  I didn't need to run around and find new situations to learn from but rather continue learning what the Lord would have be learn in this moment, in this place and time.

A few months after that I began to wonder, to worry that I'd missed something.  The Lord reminded me very clearly that fear and anxiety are the enemy of faith.  They rob faith, steal it away until fear is all that is left.  Fear, doubt, discouragement, hopelessness.  Those are not His domain, but that of another.  I was calmed and pressed forward to the best of my abilities.

A few months after that I was reminded again.  The Lord would make it clear when it was time for a change.  I was still where He intended me to be to learn what I needed to learn.  Need to learn.

Tonight I confess I began to get, not worried, but rather a little impatient.  I remembered those past blessings and promptings but began with a bit of a prayer of frustration.  Lord, I have faith that you'll let me know what direction to go when it's time for a change, but could you please let me know when that will be?  It's so hard when I keep screwing up.  When will I be approaching that intersection?  How much farther until the turn signal?

I went on like that for a few minutes before it came to me.  I was, in essence, saying "Lord, I trust in your timetable, but not really.  Just let me take a peek at it, ok?  Just to make sure?".

I chuckled a bit at myself in that moment.  He let me know exactly what I was doing, and gave me the opportunity to repent.  I am extremely grateful for that as well.

I will trust in the Lord and His timing.

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

"We love him, because he first loved us."

1 John 4:18-19

He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  It is in Christ's perfect love that we are perfected.  May I ever so strive for His love, and reach to Him, rather than let fear tear me apart.  I choose to love Him--after all, He already loved me first!

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