Monday, May 23, 2011

Discernment and Decision

This is a bit of an extension of the feelings I had last night.

Today was a real struggle. I had lots of fears going through my head, chilling my heart, and making it hard to choose happiness. Isn't it just deluding myself if I move past the sorrow? Isn't it better to be "realistic" instead of "idealistic"?

There's a quote I found from C.S. Lewis several months ago that I really like. It reads,
No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of the wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only complete realist.       
(p. 108 of The Infinite Atonement, by Tad R. Callister)
While this quote is very striking and insightful, it wasn't what I was thinking of earlier. My thoughts were, "I know that faith and obedience are the answer that will bring me peace... But right now I'm scared! I don't want to be passive - I want to be either a passionate, avenging angel or I want to totally withdraw myself for the fear of loss that comes with getting attached. I'm searching for something to do, but I feel helpless." I was just feeling down and downer, and going nowhere good.

Then, I thought about my actual thought process. Here are some things I know:

- Heavenly Father is always encouraging. He has faith in who I am and who I can be, and that's why He's given me this particular cocktail of trials and experiences - because it's how I can grow the most, do the most good, and be happiest.
- Satan is the father of lies; a deceiver. He wants me to give up, give in to despair, stop trying, and stop coming closer to God. He is the one who makes me doubt my ability to do good and make a difference.

When you put my feelings in that context... It makes it easier to know what to do with them.

Like I've said in past posts, while I might not have the absolute assurance and concrete answers to my problems that I would like to have, I do have enough to keep moving forward, and I can rely on faith to fill in the gaps. My trials aren't going away... But this is also what I know:

- Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He suffered not only for my sins, but He experienced every pain I'll ever go through so that I can have a friend who understands me perfectly.
- Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are omnipotent and omniscient - they're all-powerful and they know everything - including and especially everything about me. They also love me more than I can comprehend (and for reasons that likewise are currently incomprehensible). Because of this love, ability, knowledge and understanding, and I can trust them with anything. Including my life, my dreams, and people I love.

If I've got those things down, everything else naturally falls into place. That's what faith is for - it fills in those unknown gaps with trust based on what you already know. So I'm taking a deep breath... and keeping on one baby step (or leap) at a time.

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