A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2015, 2016, 2017 and Beyond

Last year I couldn't bring myself to write a New Year's post, because 2015 had seemed like a year of treading water. Nothing in my life had changed in any of the areas I had planned to improve on December 31, 2014. I felt like I wasn't progressing or moving forward. Maybe that's adulthood, because I feel like the next 30 years of my life could conceivably be pretty similar.

That was one year ago. Since then, I've changed a few things in my life, but I don't think I can escape the fact that there is still a lot I don't like about myself. I don't know whether I am more or less confident that the average person, but I do spend a lot of time second guessing myself and my abilities. To put it simply, I don't like myself very much.

But self-loathing doesn't really help in accomplishing goals, at least for me. I don't know how, but if I'm going to accomplish any of the daily, weekly, and monthly goals (in four categories) I set for myself in 2017, I need to be a bit kinder to myself. Being kind to myself doesn't mean I won't push myself to do and be better in 2017, but it does mean I need to be okay with however I turn out at the end of the year (hopefully married to a Hemsworth brother with a vacation home in Hawaii...what? stretch goal?).

One of my favorite quotes about charity, which is from Marvin J. Ashton, is this:

Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.

Forgive yourself for all the things you intended to do in 2016 but didn't. Be kind to others, and yourself, in 2017. Expect the best from yourself, but have patience with yourself too.

2017 is the year when I figure out how be at peace with who I am, because who I am is...pretty okay. I mean I'm not Mother Teresa, but I'm not Donald Trump either. And you know what, if you are reading this ridiculous excuse for a blog, you're pretty okay too. So, here's to giving yourself the benefit of the doubt in 2017. No hard feelings, 2016, but I'm okay to see you go.

"No Hard Feelings," The Avett Brothers

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fear Not

I'm reading some of the old Christmas devotionals on lds.org, and I found this quote from Elder L. Whitney Clayton in his address "Fear Not" from the 2015 Christmas Devotional. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The angel perceived the shepherds’ fear when he appeared to them, telling them to “fear not.” The astonishing glory of God, which radiated from the unexpected heavenly messenger, had indeed struck fear in their hearts. But the news the angel had come to share was nothing to be afraid of. He had come to announce a miracle, to bring the ultimate good news, to tell them that the redemption of mankind literally had commenced. No other messenger before or since has brought happier greetings. The Only Begotten of the Father was beginning His mortal sojourn: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” These were indeed good tidings of great joy.

We each face moments in our lives when the great joy that the angel promised can seem elusive and distant. All of us are subject to the frailties and hardships of life—illness, failure, problems, disappointment, and, in the end, death. While many people are blessed to live in physical safety, others today do not. Many face great difficulty meeting the demands of life and the physical and emotional toll it can bring.

And yet, despite life’s hardships, the message of the Lord to each of us is the same today as it was to the shepherds keeping watch two thousand years ago: “Fear not.” Perhaps the angel’s injunction to fear not has more transcendent relevance to us today than it did in calming the shepherds’ fear that first Christmas night. Could he also have meant for us to understand that because of the Savior, fear will never triumph? to reinforce that ultimate fear is never justified? to remind us that no earthly problem need be lasting, that none of us is beyond redeeming?

The sweetest gift given at Christmas will always be the one our Savior Himself gave us: His perfect peace.

(One of my Favorite Christmas Songs - "When the Baby Grew Up" by Kathy Mattea