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Set Free

I don't talk a lot about religion, especially in my blog. I don't really have a good reason; I'm very religious and I have a very strong testimony.  In many aspects of my life, I feel fearless. But not this one. I know what I believe, I trust what I believe, and that's good enough for me. But this has been on my mind for a few days now, and I feel like I should share, so bear with me.

There's been something I've been struggling with, and it has been eating away at me to such a degree that my ulcers are giving me trouble again, and I feel like the solid ground I've been standing on is washing out from under me like sand with the tide. I consider myself to be very open-minded and I try my very best to love unconditionally, even if it isn't returned. But I have finally met my match, and we haven't even met. I have tried and tried to accept this person and, while I know I will never love them, at least tolerate the presence they will hold, and already hold, in my life. It hasn't worked so far. Every time I think of this person, every time I hear their name, my stomach twists into a knot even Maniac Magee couldn't untangle. I start to sweat, I feel nauseous, and whatever happiness I was feeling leaves me so quickly that I start to shake.

I should make it clear that the purpose this person is in my life is twofold: one, by my own inevitable choosing, and two, to torment and try me, I'm sure (kind of like flying bugs...). I have been praying for the strength to accept this person, to not lose it every time they call, but I have been 100% unsuccessful. I started to read my Book of Mormon over, and every night for the past week I would open my book and it would fall to the same page. I'd read a verse I had marked there, thought it was nice, and then find the page I left off the night before. As is usually the case with me, God had to throw a brick at my head before I suddenly realized the answer I needed I had read every night and then put away. 

The story that I read the verse from is one of my favorites, about a man named Moroni. He was captain over an army of righteous people, the Nephites, and led them in battle against the Lamanites, a group of people who were hell-bent on destroying and enslaving them. Moroni inspired those he led by telling him that they were fighting for their lives, their freedom, their wives and children, their land, and their religion. After a battle between the two warring nations, with the Nephites as the victors, Moroni commands the Lamanites to throw down their weapons and make an oath that they will not fight them anymore; if they would, he would let them leave. If not, they would continue the battle. 

The part that I read every night before turning to something else was is Alma 44:3.  

"But now, ye behold that the Lord is with us; and ye behold that he has delivered you into our hands. And now I would that ye should understand that this is done unto us because of our religion and our faith in Christ..."

This is all fine and well, but it was this last sentence that struck me:

And now ye see that ye cannot destroy this our faith.

I can't believe it took me a week to understand. I may very well have to deal with this person for the rest of my existence, but up until now, I've let them fluster me and doubt my faith in things I already know, let alone what I have faith in. This realization has done a couple of things for me. First, it's made me mad. Mad that I let them have this much control over my emotions ("We make ourselves our own distress/we are ourselves our happiness," remember). But also, every time that this person has come to mind or up in conversation, I quietly but very firmly and resolutely state that last line to myself in my head:  

And now ye see, [pronoun], that ye cannot distroy this [my] faith.

(And then I pretend to kick them in the head. It makes me feel better. Hey, I'm not perfect!...)

5 Responses so far.

  1. And I Kick him sir.....

  2. kannie says:

    Ha, Jessie! I thought we were the only family that frequently quotes Bartok the Bat! LOL!!!

    I really think the ongoing-ness is the hardest part of any positive change... it's like Alma talks about - "if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love... can ye feel so now?" That's one of my favorite "reality check" scriptures, because it helps me get back to what I need to remember... plus, it talks about singing. :-) But anyway, yeah - I need those reminders precisely *because* retaining those feelings really is difficult! Especially when the trial is ongoing. Or the traffic is heavy. Anyway, if it helps to know, you're certainly not alone in your feelings; great job keeping on doing the important things!!! :-) *hugs*

  3. Ann says:

    Just what I needed today...thanks for your faith and your determination to do well. I love you. :)

  4. That's so great! I am glad you have come to some sort of peace. Plus it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one out there that doesn't get it the first time! Sometimes the Lord has to push and push and finally I think he throws something at me to get my attention! Thanks for writing this!

  5. Chani says:

    I love all you guys :) Thanks for being supportive! :)


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