So…as far as my goal this year (which is losing weight, as lame as that may sound), I’m not making much progress, per se. I haven’t lost weight. I am exercising more, and I’m feeling better, but I still have changes that I need make before I see any real results.
A while ago, I read a book by Robert Lustig – Fat Chance: Beating the Odds against Sugar…. I liked it because I realized that I am a sugar addict, and that there is more to health than just looking skinny (which is something I’ve always suspected). Anyways. Even though this seems lame, weight loss has been a real personal trial for me. I haven’t always been overweight. A few years ago, I ran a marathon! Only recently did I put on weight (with my last child), and I haven’t taken it off (he’s 2 now!!!) I’ve noticed that both my relationship with food and the perception I have of myself have changed. Neither of them have changed in a good way.
I’m including this stuff on this blog because I’m convinced that my struggle has a spiritual connection.
A friend of mine gave me the book Not My Will but Thine by the late Elder Neal A. Maxwell. It has been helping me as I consider my desires, goals, and the will of the Lord. I know that the Lord will answer my prayers, I just need to learn how to align my will with His.
Two things struck me when I read the first chapter:
“…God really is a loving, Father God, not a distant cosmic presence.” (Maxwell, Not My Will but Thine, p. 3)
“Jesus Christ has been, is, and will be our empathic Advocate with the Father. Not only is He our Advocate, but He helps us through our individual ordeals. By His own suffering, He was perfected, including in His capacity to help us with our individual suffering.” (Maxwell, Not My Will but Thine, 3-4)
God is really a loving Father God
(and not a distant cosmic presence). Do you really know that? Do I really know that? Do I remember it? I have to say, yes I know it, but no I don’t always remember. I have felt close to Heavenly Father – close enough to know that He truly is a Father that loves me. Yet there are times when I feel distance. Of course, that is my fault – usually distance is a result of lazy prayers.
But, even when I’m praying well, there are some times when it is hard to feel God’s real presence in my life. Or I feel it, but I want to feel more of it.
Jesus Christ is our Advocate and Helper
I know that Jesus Christ is my advocate with Heavenly Father. I know that He helps me. I know that there is nothing (in and of myself) that I can do to receive blessings or comfort from God. Everything I have received has been because of Christ’s mercy.
I know that the key to unlocking the power of the atonement in my life is through repentance, faith, and covenant making (and keeping). I know that I depend on my Savior for everything.
But there are times when I know that I underestimate exactly how powerful He is. For example – He knows my ordeals. My ordeals are ordeals. Even if it sounds stupid, being frustrated with myself physically, is still an ordeal. My ordeal is not because I can’t see my value as a woman and daughter of God. It is because I’m not living to my potential. It is because I have some real physical weaknesses, and I need Christ’s help to overcome them. Our ordeals and trials are always based on the conditions of mortality – our weakness.
Sometimes I forget how Christ can help me with all of my trials – even ones that don’t seem as crucial or important. I forget that Christ knows what it’s like to feel depressed or down. And he knows how to uplift. I forget that he has experienced all that I have experienced. I don’t have to endure this trial alone. I can take Christ’s yoke upon me, and he will help me to overcome.
So…while I don’t want to over-think things all day long, it is good for me to recognize that when I think about my goals, I can see a clear connection between my progress (or lack of progress) and my willingness to activate the power of the atonement in my life. If I’m feeling weak (in other words, if I want cookies), then I can go to the Lord for strength. I can pray that the Lord will strengthen me as I try to employ good habits (like portion control, good eating, and exercise) in my life. I can also pray that I won’t get bogged down on day to day issues, but that I will see the big picture, and be grateful for a working body, loving husband, and good life. Remembering My relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ really can help me obtain any goal or get through any ordeal.
How do you use the atonement to overcome weakness and difficulty in your life? How have you grown closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? How do you keep your relationship with Heavenly Father real and relevant?