Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just a Few Millimeters

I learned how to roof a house this past weekend! It was super fun to learn something completely new to me and to build and strengthen relationships with the people in my life as we worked together to complete a service for somebody in need.

As I threw down shingle after shingle and helped solve the problems that inevitably cropped up, I couldn't help but see life lessons in almost every moment. Lessons about the importance of laws and commandments, the importance of communication, the value of work, the value of service, et cetera.

Last night a dear friend dropped by to visit with me. She has been struggling with obeying the little commandments in life, and has been in my prayers every night. Her choices are breaking my heart because I know where they will lead. I've been there. Much like laying shingles, the seemingly small mistakes now make all the difference later on.

That shingle you just laid is only a few millimeters off, but unless you correct it immediately you'll be 5-6 inches off by the end of your row. That distance is much harder to fix! It is the same with commandments. My friend is making choices that seem small now, but I know they will drastically alter the course of her life and lead her farther and farther from God. She is asking questions and seeking guidance, and I have faith that with God she can correct the mistakes she is making and get back on track. Oh how I pray that she does! How important it is to be diligent in abiding by the little things in life!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Principles, Priorities, & Passions

Remember how I'm making one of the biggest decisions of my life? Well, this week was decision week for me. I had meetings and interviews all week long, and I'm happy to report the decision is made and I feel really good about it. Yay!

Last week held countless reminders for me of the things that are important and essential in the decision-making process. Looking back on the past 2 weeks, I cannot deny God's hands in my life and in my decision. Knowing I would make my decision this week, He sent me the right people at the right time to remind me of the importance of eternal principles, balanced priorities, and my own passions.

I live my life by eternal principles. These eternal laws make hard decisions easy. I know families are eternal, and I forever want to be reaching out to lift and strengthen my own family and the families surrounding me. I know I am blessed as I abide by the Lord's will and make time every day to worship and glorify His name. I know I am called to serve as His hands, and have a great desire to share His love with all around me. Whatever my decision, it needs to enable me to continue to live by eternal principles I have covenanted to abide by.

I have established balanced priorities in my life. Maintaining this balance is a constant challenge I am happy to face and eternally learn from. The world pulls at me from countless directions and in so many ways. As I balance work, play, relationships, health, and worship, I am enabled to do more with God than I could ever do on my own! Whatever my decision, it needs to allow me to maintain the balance that keeps me happy and useful.

My passions guide and direct my life and my interactions with others. A good friend looked me in the eyes last week and told me to remember to follow my passions as I made my decision. He didn't know it because I'm a master of disguise at times, but I panicked! I realized I had forgotten my passions. What do I wake up for in the morning and talk about all the time? What do I think about all the time and do for free? Lately it's been this decision, and I know that's not my passion! I turned to my friends and family--those who know me best. If you were describing me to a stranger, what would you tell them my passions are? I think friends and family exist in part to remind us who we are when we forget. And I am certainly blessed with friends and family who know me well! They quickly and unanimously reminded me of my passions: God, family, nature, and service. They reminded me to slow down and listen to myself. How grateful I am for a new friend who counseled me to follow my passions, and for old friends who knew what they were!

After last week I went into meetings and interviews armed with my principles, priorities, and passions--ready to make a decision. And I received a distinct impression that I could happily walk down either path--the decision was truly mine to make. The decision I've made is most in line with my principles, priorities, and passions. It may not make the most sense to some, but it is right. It sends me down the path of ambiguity, bound to be filled with more decisions that may alter the course of my life. I'm ready! Ready to face them with my principles, priorities, and passions in tow. Hit me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Life Stories

A man came into my office today to install a software program on my office mate's computer. While he sat and installed the program, this man I had never met before proceeded to tell me his life story. I now know all about where he's traveled, his health history, and the bladder cancer he was surprised with this summer. I know how they diagnosed it, what surgery entailed and what treatment now entails. I know how many people are in his family and where he fits and why he worries about his older brothers. It only took about 10 minutes to install the program!

Last night I was standing around with some friends after an activity, and gave my friend a ride to her car. We ended up sitting in my car and talking for 2 hours! And she did all the talking. I was amazed by how much detail she remembered about the story she was telling me--dates, times, the particulars of text messages and phone calls. I loved listening to her story, and I loved offering her the support she needed.

I met another girl recently, and we've already had 3 conversations like the one I had with my friend last night. Without knowing anything about me, she's opened her heart to me and trusted me with stories she won't tell others. I am humbled by this trust. I love listening to her stories and offering needed support to her! I now count her as a friend.

Another office mate sat next to me today as this man installed the software program. After he left, I asked my friend why people always tell me their life stories. He said it's because I ask genuine caring questions when others offer sympathy but don't leave conversations open. He told me this is a gift. Again, I am humbled by this gift. I believe it is a gift each of us can develop.

I love being trusted with the stories of others. I learn so much from them and grow so much from these kinds of conversations! Perhaps I am able to offer a kind, caring, and listening ear to people who need it most, but I think I gain far more from listening to their stories than they gain by sharing them. I am grateful for my God-given gift of listening, and hope and pray I will always be able to offer support to both strangers and friends while I learn and grow from the stories they tell!