THE 3 THINGS THAT HELP ME THE MOST IN NAVIGATING LIFE STRUGGLES
Life is meant to include struggling. How else would we obtain growth and beauty?
Here are the three things that help me the most.
FIRST: BE STILL AND KNOW GOD.
When I see a mountain, I want to pause for a few moments and absorb the quiet strength of it. I like to breathe in the joy. Sometimes I think of the phrase, “A mighty fortress is our God”.
When a child approaches me, I want to pause for a few moments and look gently, yet deeply. I want to breathe in the delight and wonder.
When my husband comes home, I want to pause and breathe my own concerns away and ask, “I wonder what’s going on for him”.
When I approach my Heavenly Father, I want to pause and just “look” at Him, consider Him, observe Him, hold Him in my mind, breathe Him into the cells of my body. It’s so refreshing to not say any words. Just “look”.
There is a single chapter of scripture that uses some form of the words, “look”, “behold,” and “see” 66 times! (See 1 Nephi 11.) This illustrates the value of awareness/attentiveness.
Behold means to hold in your mind. I love to hold my Heavenly Father in my mind.
Sometimes I get distracted. That’s okay. I try to gently bring myself back. Isn’t that kind of what repentance is, a returning? The Bible Dictionary says repentance is a turning of our hearts and wills to God to get a fresh view about God, ourselves and the world. It’s also a renunciation of sin. In my opinion, sin is separation from God.
Being still brings awareness. Interestingly, there are two ways to achieve this. The first and most obvious way is to actually hold our bodies still so our brains can focus. The second and less obvious way is to move our bodies so our brains can focus. This can mean vigorous movement or slow gentle movement. Which ever way we achieve stillness depends on the moment.
Being still is an intentional decision. We can have an attitude of stillness for a moment or for a whole day.
People view being still as boring, weird, uncomfortable, or a waste of time. It can bring up feelings we don’t want to feel. But if we don’t acknowledge, feel and breathe into our feelings, then breathe them out, we can become “past feeling” and unable to feel the Spirit of God.
It’s easy to be addicted to doing, having dopamine rushes, and looking good from accomplishing.
What does Heavenly Father mean when he says, “Be still and know that I am God”? (Psalm 46:10)
Could we possibly know somebody if we don’t pause to talk with them, listen to them and do things with them? Heavenly Father is the smartest, the most capable and the most loving being of all. He has our best interest in mind. Being still enough to spend more time with Him can transform struggles into beautiful growth.
SECOND: SEEK TO REALLY UNDERSTAND ANOTHER
— -Seek to understand God. Think about Him. Read His words. Talk to Him. Express gratitude to Him. Look for evidence of His love. Listen to Him.
— -Seek to understand other people. Set aside, for a moment, all your thoughts, and really wonder what’s going on for another human being. Observe with compassion and curiosity. Ask questions. Listen. Clarify. Seek their viewpoint, even if it seems totally contradictory to yours. Take your eyes off of yourself and the pressure comes off. Listen with all your senses. Listen to understand. Full, rich attention, acknowledgement, awareness, acceptance is perhaps the most beautiful and meaningful gift we can give to another person.
Seeking to really understand others can help to transform struggles into growth and beauty.
THIRD: TAKE ACTION. DO SOMETHING.
It doesn’t have to be the perfect action. Just do something that seems right. You can tweak it as you go. Do something. (Between the doings, remember to be still.)
Cook, clean, work, write, paint, call a friend, go outside, organize.
Get outside in nature. Nature motivates stillness and action.
Taking action certainly can transforms struggles into growth and beauty.
I’m grateful for the 3 things that help me most in life’s struggles: being still, seeking to understand others and taking action.