by Christie Perkins
So lately I’ve been wearing some personality magnifying glasses that only sees my weaknesses. I sort of, kind of,… ok REALLY hate them. Every day it has this amazing power to pick up some new weakness. Well, I guess it’s not “new”- let’s face this- weaknesses don’t just flourish in a petri dish overnight. But, my ability to see what I am not is really annoying me.
So, I got the half-brained brilliant idea to list all my weaknesses down. Wow. And as I listed them a full force of thoughts came rushing at me. The creative juices were loose. In fact, they were a little overly rambunctious. Calm down now. I knew I wasn’t very successful at many things but I had no idea that I really did stink it up this bad. Yeah, that took my depressed state down a few notches.
Not exactly the best idea.
Phew! I was glad my five year old interrupted me as my personal stink list pad was filling up fast with what I think bad. Gulp. Nice interruption. I didn’t want to go back to that little self-reflection activity.
Bad mom. Bad friend. Bad at every little itty-bitty bit and tad. The thoughts just clad me bad.
Whew. That was a horrible mood-food feeder.
I felt stuck. Because when I’m sitting on the bottom and looking at the top I just get swallowed up into this hole I’ve made for myself. Thank you weakness list… nice job (insert scrunched up ugly face here). I’ve taken years to perfect and master the details of my weaknesses and today I want it all gone. Yet, people do it all the time. People change. I see a lot of perfected individuals- my magnifying glasses are good at helping me puff up others around me too. How do I change these things I don’t like about myself? How do I find myself on the top of this bottom sludge slipping hole?
I’ll tell you one thing- it’s not to build up sky miles on your cry files. Don’t look at and make a huge list of self-bet debts (I bet I can’t be a mom like her, or I bet others say worse things than me, or I can’t do it…). That’s not the trick. That’s negative self talk and that kind of thinking buries you, it does no walking. You get absolutely nowhere good with negative self talk. So what? What do you do?
I hated how I was feeling. I wanted to change.
Changing Attitudes; Changing How You Feel
I sat there thinking and then I was re-reminded (is that even a word?) of a message that keeps coming back to me all week long. My Heavenly Father has been trying to help me all along. Thoughts kept coming back to me in varying degrees of this one simple message:
It all comes down to studying and knowing the doctrine of Christ. This one little thing will perfect us. It will take my weaknesses and rather than blow them up igniting them into swirling flame throwers in a thirsty field it will gently persuade me of better ways. Better days ahead. It will nurture me, build me up, and grow me into a better person one little step at a time. Even at a snail crawl I move myself out of the hole. I will see the goodness of the message and instead of it tearing me down it will build me up. Instead of discouraging me and making me want give up, it will give me simple ideas and when applied will give me courage to keep trying. I will feel better, not worse about myself.
Yes, this is what I need.
Because I believe true doctrine is the source of all that is good in this world. The message I need is simple: Hit the scriptures with purpose. Study it.
So today instead of just reading the scriptures because that’s what I need to do I’m going to hit it with trying to learn a doctrine- some eternal truth. I’m going to start with a question and find a little answer. And I’m going to start with one of my weaknesses.
I’ve got a whole list of them.
And somehow in all of this I know that my weaknesses can become my strengths. I love the scripture found in Ether 12:27:
“I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
Boop-boop-boop. (That’s me bulking up because of all of those weaknesses bursting into solidified strength bubbles. Ahhh. I can almost see it. Thank you multiple weaknesses.) I have trust and faith that studying the doctrine will strengthen me. Already this little piece of information has already given me a little peace in my weakness-magnified-station. My mood has lifted with this piece of truth.
I trust in it. And that little particle of hope just lifts me up. (And if you don’t believe me… just sit there and do nothing about it. See how that works out for ya.)
Remeber to STUDY If You Want to Feel Better
So here’s a few simple tips to help you study the doctrine and get started on a path of changed behaviors. Instead of my weaknesses peaking I’m going to tweak them with a little study of eternal truths. Here’s some simple tips on how to better study the doctrine. Remember STUDY and you’ve got it.
Study Question. What is it that you need a little help with? Where do you feel that you fall short? What don’t you understand? Start your study session with a question. Questions will always lead to some kind of answer. Or you will find more questions that spur some pondering time. If you are listening you will find your answers between the lines or in your thought process.
If you study the goodness of God you will find it. I want you (no matter what you believe) to know that when we are focused on the good it will lift you up. You can find the gems when you study. Hold on to that. I have always loved the 11th article of faith: We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
Doctrine will be found in the scriptures. If you have a Bible pull it out and study there. I add my witness found in the 8th article of faith: We believe the Bible to be the word of God as long as it as translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. Start where you are. If you want answers go to the correct sources .Use your study time in scriptures or seek counsel from the prophets and apostles. (Yay, General Conference is this weekend!) I love and have been uplifted by the conference addresses found at lds.org.
Time. Commit to a set amount of time every day. It helps to do it at the same time every day. Choose your time limit now: 10 minutes, 30 minutes, whatever. Do what you know will work. Don’t set it too high that you will fail. Make your time goal achievable.
Understand. Take a few minutes to think about and figure out how you will apply the doctrine you learned. Make a goal. Maybe research other scriptures or talks that pertain. Find an answer to your question or find another question you need answered for tomorrows study. Write it down (because I’m sure you’ll forget by tomorrow). It literally can take 1-3 minutes to ponder and it can do wonders.
Do. Yeah, well… that’s pretty point blank. Guarantee follow through by praying for help- then listening for the answers and acting immediately on promptings. Keep your senses awake and follow the little ideas, especially if you don’t think that it will help (those are usually the ones that have more power for some reason).
Yearn. Work on the desire to to do it all again tomorrow. Stick with the habit and find that your weaknesses will become your strengths.
Your desires coupled with a study of the doctrine will bring about a great change. You ready for it? You want to lift yourself up from a hole- well, then seek out truth and follow it. I’m certain it will bring you up and out. How do I know? Well because the simple thought to study doctrine sparked a little hope in me. I felt a little better, actually a lot better, after following the STUDY model.
I know this works because I’m feeling a lot more perky than I did the other day. Funny how that little thing can make a difference. Don’t know how it works but it does. You don’t believe me? Well, give it a try. I double dog dare you!
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