A Better Place

Okay, so I was pretty dramatic last night. Sometimes emotions are a whirlwind, and I don’t know how to step out of them. I did pray and was mercifully given some peace so I could sleep. I’m so thankful for a Father in Heaven who can help me see things from a different perspective.

Today, my friend recommended this podcast to me called “Bold New Mom,” and I’m excited to listen to more of it because what I’ve heard so far is amazing and right up my alley of interests.

From episode 97: “You’re not in charge of anyone else’s emotions… You are responsible for your own emotions.”

I need to work on not having pity parties over people civilly disagreeing with me. I need to work on allowing people to have emotional reactions to what I write. I need to work on allowing others to believe whatever they choose to believe about what I write, or else a blog will never work out for me. I also need to assume there is a bit of truth in any critical comment and see if I discover any errors I’ve made by paying attention to their critique.

I am always grateful for good things to work on.

 

Failing and Trying Again

Sometimes it feels like God sends you love when you really need it. I made a few minute trip out in public to grab a couple things at the grocery store today, and the bread guy told me I was amazing out of nowhere, an old woman said what a cute crew I had, and a man who’d had surgery asked me to help him. They were literal angels to me.

Today was a hard day. The kind of day where I felt like I had no friends and threw a pity party in my head. The kind of day where I felt like I’m no good to anyone.

I have this strong desire to improve myself and share what I learn; but when I share, I think it must come out all wrong like either I know everything or I am condemning everyone.

I know I am not good at separating disagreement from dislike of me personally. So I have a hard time with people disagreeing with me when I’ve put myself out there so boldly. Hence, maybe the reason why I was supposed to start a blog? I think I sense a weakness… I try to tell myself it is a good thing that people feel comfortable sharing their opinions with me. I should be more self-assured and okay with most people disagreeing with me. But man… sometimes I could just go for a whole lot of YES people, haha. So then I post pictures of my daughter because the love pours in. 😊

I know there is surely much I am supposed to learn from this. It just hurts. But I intend to grow from this hurt I feel and hopefully come out a better person. I hope I can also use others’ opinions and perspectives to inform my own opinion. I am constantly reminded that I need to humble myself, rid myself of pride, repent, and look to the Lord for approval. If I have nothing but pure desire to serve Him and do His will, then it helps me love myself.

I’ll tell you what, I have a lot respect for any leaders who try to take a stand on moral issues. I think in my first blog post, I wrote how I love words. Well, I take it back. Words never fully convey what I want them to. Although I am better at written words than I am at spoken, it feels like the messages I write are never whole and fully capture my heart. Besides the fact that words are permanent, and opinions can change.

Something else that has been on my mind… I’ve noticed I have some social issues, and my friend mentioned that maybe I have some personality aspects outlined in an Aspergers diagnosis. Well, I read about Aspergers on Wikipedia, and what do you know- I totally think I have some of those characterizations. That moment of realization was really humbling.

“verbosity, restricted prosody…difficulties in basic elements of social interaction, which may include a failure to develop friendships or to seek shared enjoyments or achievements with others (for example, showing others objects of interest), a lack of social or emotional reciprocity (social “games” give-and-take mechanic), and impaired nonverbal behaviors in areas such as eye contact, facial expression, posture, and gesture…

Some of them may even display selective mutism, speaking not at all to most people and excessively to specific people…abrupt transitions, …Speech may convey a sense of incoherence; the conversational style often includes monologues about topics that bore the listener, fails to provide context for comments…”

Oyyy. Yes, I think I sometimes display all of these things. So then I was left at-where do I go with that information? I can let it lead me to embarrassment and social isolation…or I can work to overcome it. I can challenge myself to change some of these things. I can push myself to engage in conversations even when it feels scary, and I might fail. I can love myself despite these weaknesses, and sometimes that is the hardest thing of all.

Kent and I have been telling our kids a lot recently that it’s okay to fail; failing means you’re learning. Those who are successful have had lots of failures and just keep trying. So here I am… still trying.

The Outward Appearance

The other day, I was putting on makeup, and my 7-yr old boy came in and asked what I was doing. I told him it was makeup, and he asked why I was putting it on. I said, “It’s just for fun.”

I have had this conversation with my kids a few times, and it is at this point in the conversation that I always feel some sort of a twinge of guilt? Questioning myself? Because as my kids ask about my makeup, I start to think about the example I’m providing.

My son was actually really curious about the blemish cream I was using, so I even showed him on a red spot on his face how the cream makes it fade so it goes away or just looks like a freckle.

Then, I immediately worried that doing so was not a good choice. I realized, now I have not only showed my son that I cover up my blemishes, but I have shown him a blemish on his face and maybe made him hyper-aware of it.. Oh, and there’s also the fact that I put makeup on my SON. Oops..

Why do I wear make-up? I’ve thought of some answers: It is nice to feel feminine (according to our culture), it is nice to look “my best,” I’d rather not have people see my blemishes, it can be fun to “paint” my face, it is nice to fit in, it would be nice to look better than somebody else…

Wait, did I really say that last one? Isn’t that honestly what happens when in the courting years, though?

There are interwoven reasons why I wear makeup, but ultimately it comes down to what others think of me because I wouldn’t wear makeup in a bubble where I am the only person around. It isn’t THAT fun to put on.

Well at this realization, I start to ponder how much time I spend on improving my outward appearance that is only for other people.

“man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

I do believe it is important to try to keep my body clean and well-groomed, to respect my body. But how much of what I do to “get ready” is beyond that?

I can’t help but think about other countries where women don’t even have the luxury of time to consider changing their appearance. I feel like our culture has turned women against their own bodies and also created an extreme time suck because none of us will ever truly be happy when we head down the road of comparing ourselves to the idea of “beautiful.”

I wanted to make a list of thoughts I’ve had that help me think through this:

  1. What if my body was made this specific way for a reason? What lessons can I learn from the body I was given and the flaws I see?
  2. When I speak negatively about my body, I am inviting others to see my body that way.
  3. Negative self-talk about my body gives the idea more power. How would my life be different without that belief?
  4. When I think about the people I love most, their physical appearance doesn’t cross my mind in the least…because bodies don’t matter when real love is at stake.
  5. How would my life change if I converted some of my “appearance-improving” time to something else that brings me or others joy?
  6. Smiles are beautiful, and ironically I’ve noticed I have a really hard time smiling freely when I’m too worried about myself and my appearance.
  7. I love this quote: 
  8. How does this scripture change my thoughts about and treatment of my body: “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” –1 Corinthians 6:19

I’d be curious other people’s perspectives on this. Regarding makeup specifically, I’m not sure I will ever stop wearing a little makeup a few days a week; but I am working on being more okay with my natural appearance. Human bodies are wonderfully imperfect, and I’m hoping to embrace that and see how much I can do with my body instead of wasting time wishing it were different and changing it.

Fear Man or God?

I think I’ve discovered the purpose for my blog.

One of the biggest parts of my personality has always been my concern over what others think of me. In some ways this has been a strength. However, my husband has shown me a different way of being, because he is so good at recognizing that his view of himself is more important than anyone else’s opinion of him. And I think he also gives himself a lot of mercy and space to overcome weaknesses.

Starting this blog has already caused me anxiety over what others think. I have had to tell myself multiple times that it only matters what I think of myself and what God thinks of me.

Growing up, repentance always seemed scary to me because I was not good at even simply saying, “Sorry.” I’m still not. It is hard for me to admit when I’m wrong. A few years ago, I started to change my attitude about repentance when I read this scripture:

you should not have feared man more than God.” –Doctrine & Covenants 3:7

I realized I was absolutely fearing man more than God.

thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men…For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” –Matthew 16:23, 26

What would it matter if everyone around me thought I was “perfect” and didn’t know of my sins, when the only person whose opinion really mattered eternally knew I was not willing to repent? So, I began the process of putting God first in my life.

Recently I read this scripture and recognized that I still have a lot of work ahead of me in regards to fear:

strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble” –Doctrine & Covenants 67:10

Maybe I will write about jealousy and humility another day, but after posting about this blog on Facebook for the first time, I woke up in the night and felt that familiar ‘fear of man’ creep in. Have you heard of the mind-gut connection? Well, it is very true for me. My stomach started churning as the fear encompassed me. But I remembered the scripture above and prayed to God to take away my fear. Thankfully, I felt my stomach settle and peace return.

As I continue to blog, I hope my fear of man will be tamed; and I hope my fear of the Lord will increase.

“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” –Psalms 111:10

My Why

When people start a business, they often talk about deciding on a “why” to keep them motivated in building their business. While I don’t have any intention of making money off this blog, I feel a need to explain my why.

Why did I start this blog? Actually, it is easy: God wants me to. Promptings from the Spirit are always subtle, but they are undeniable. And starting a public blog… well, it didn’t seem too hard or scary at all until I actually intended to start one. I’ve been fighting back my scared feelings for weeks now. (Do you know how self-centered and self-conscious I suddenly felt to start a public blog about my life, my thoughts, my desires, or ME in any form? And so much self-doubt wondering if people would actually take the time to read it??). I finally decided to stop making excuses and just jump in. And I decided, if nobody ever reads it but me, perhaps it still serves its purpose.

What will this blog be about? I think it will be about all the things I am seeking after–>a better me in all areas of life; so actually, I figure it could go any direction I feel inspired to go. Some topics I foresee myself writing about: religious musings, marriage, motherhood, plant-based cooking, personal improvement, and picking the brains of those I admire–>I’m actually really excited about that part.

Why did I choose the name SeekingForBetter.com? While contemplating a name for my blog, the word “seek” was stuck in my mind. And while praying and contemplating at the temple, this scripture came to my mind from Doctrine & Covenants 25:10:

“And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.”

As I read more, I realized it was perfect. The Lord was speaking to Emma Smith in this section. He was telling her to spend her time writing, learning, expounding scripture, and exhorting the church. I may not be very good at those things, but I AM interested in all of those things.

This quote gave me courage to move forward with the blog:

“Each of us knows deep down that eventually we must surrender to the Lord and open ourselves to his will for us. But not today. Not that way… The cold, hard fact is that if we wait until some special, red-letter day to offer our all to the Almighty, the day may never come. Is there a better day than today? …Will we make today a moment that matters, an instant in eternity toward which we will look back with gratitude and thanksgiving for a decision that counted?” –Robert Millet

So, I’m hoping my choice to create a blog makes today a moment that matters in the big picture of my life. And I’m hoping that I come to love this little blog space; after all, I really do love words.