Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Cottage or a Palace? - Part Two

Welcome to Part Two of the blog edition of the class I taught at last weekend's Stake Women's Conference! Let's continue with a couple more points under the topic of "Spritual Health"...


4. When we have said our morning prayers and have invited the Holy Ghost to be with us, perhaps it is time to do a little "spiritual creating" of the day ahead. To me, this is a beautiful, heavenly principle that we learn a bit about in the temple, and also in the scriptures:

Quote #5: "For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth...And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them;..." (Moses 3:5)

**Learning to create our lives spiritually (before we carry them out physically) can be a powerful practice. Ideas for doing this: set the stage with prayer and scripture study, have a special little notebook (a lovely one, because after all, we want our lives to be lovely, right?) set aside just for spiritual planning, and when under the influence of the Spirit, contemplate the day ahead:

What is important for me today? Is there someone I can help? What healthy meals will I prepare for my family? When will I exercise, and how? What tasks, if accomplished, would keep me ahead of the game? When will I spend time with my husband? With my daughter? Can I carve out a little special time for myself today? What uplifting book or music do I want to make time for? How will I FEEL at the end of the day if I was truly able to "put first things first" and "get out of the thick of thin things?" What time will I go to bed?

As you contemplate the possibilities and necessities of the day ahead, visualize yourself having success in the things that you write down on your To Do list. See yourself having patience with your children, feel what it will be like to complete that long walk, imagine how delicious dinner will be when you use those fresh tomatoes and onions for homemade salsa. Come up with a plan, making sure to leave room to shift gears if/when the Spirit prompts. Carry out your plan, and have joy in knowing you are accomplishing a great and important work, even if "cleaning out the garage" is the order of business for the day. Then, before bed, report back to Heavenly Father and review your day with Him.

Our roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers are SACRED. We should feel accomplished when put our hearts and souls into our busy days. I have found that when I partner with Heavenly Father, I feel a greater measure of success in my accomplishments, and more joy all around. On the days when I'm trying to power through on my own, life feels flat and uninspired.

5. Learn more about the Savior's Atonement and how it is available to us on a daily basis as we make poor choices and goof up. Because we are human, we are imperfect. When mistakes are made, turn to Him rather than succumbing to guilt. Remember that being tested is one of the primary reasons for being here in mortality, and failing now and then is normal. Take the time to repent! Ask for the power of the Savior's Atonement to make up for your shortcomings and to change your heart. Make restitution for any damage caused, turn your eyes toward God, and move forward. Feel - really feel - the peace that comes from appealing for forgiveness, and then having it granted. Repent daily, even hourly if necessary. Consciously make the Atonement a part of our everyday lives. Know that we are preparing ourselves to be worthy to be in God's presence.

Quote 6: "...nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God;..." (Alma 12:24)


**Good health is not usually a condition that some are granted, and some are not. Much of our physical well-being can be traced to the kinds/amounts of foods and substances we put into our bodies, how active we allow ourselves to be, the amount of sleep we get, the time we spend outdoors in the sunshine, and our mental attitudes.

**Would you indulge me while I primarily share from personal experience in this section? Your physical struggles will be different from mine, but try to look for PRINCIPLES that you could apply to what you are dealing with.

**Two years ago, on a June morning, I woke up with painful, stiff joints from head to toe. I could hardly move, let alone get out of bed. Panic!!! I got to the doctor right away, and blood work was done. After two weeks, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Really?? This was not at all what I had in mind for myself. Not only did I have a disease, but I was severely overweight and oh-so-tired all the time. It was a very discouraging, dark time.

I had always planned to get healthy and start exercising again, and now with RA, I feared I had lost my window of opportunity. Thanks to good medication, I finally started feeling a little better by September, but was still so frustrated with my weight. For a year, I watched people around me get fit and healthy, using a variety of diets and methods. I kept getting the prompting that those ways were not for me. The Spirit continued to quietly teach: "Yours is a spiritual path. Let me lead you. You will not find lasting change until you turn to Me."

**On February 21 of this year, I was suddenly ready. The "stars aligned", my heart was focused, and I made up my mind to make the huge lifeshift to get healthy and fit. On that day, I let the Spirit guide me to create a weight-loss/get healthy plan, tailored just for me.

Some of the items I listed in my notebook on that day: eliminate refined sugar from diet for now, drink 64 oz. water daily, eat whole and unprocessed foods in half the portion that I had been eating, start to walk, plan menus daily and track foods eaten...I jumped into the darkness in faith that day, and haven't looked back for three months.

And guess what?! I have lost the weight I had set out to lose by this point, I am running 12 miles per week, and I feel ten years younger. And! Almost all my symptoms of RA disappeared the very week I changed my habits. I am holding my breath. Is it a miracle? It just may be. I think that ridding my diet of refined sugar and processed foods, plus adding exercise and spiritual strength, have overhauled my physical health.

**The Word of Wisdom (Doctrine & Covenants 89) trumps ALL worldly diets. Start here when changing eating habits. ASK?? What are some of the "DO" components of the WofW? (eat meat sparingly, fruits and vegetables in season, grain for the use of man, all foods used with thanksgiving) To me, this steers us away from the high-protein or low/no-carb or other extreme diets that are so popular today.

**Through the wise insight of a friend, I began to see the need for repentance for the years I abused my body. ASK?? What spiritual laws had I been violating? (neglecting to see my body as a temple, misusing my gift of agency, not living the Word of Wisdom)

Quote #8: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit dwelleth in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16)

**My testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ has been strengthened as I have turned to Him to change my body, and also my heart. He wants us to be our very best selves so that we can serve Him and HAVE JOY in this life. The Atonement can compensate for every one of our personal shortcomings, but we must allow it to heal us. As we do, our righteous desires will be reached, and many other beautiful blessings will be showered upon us. The Atonement is for each of us, every day of our lives.

Well, friends, I'm going to take another short break before I post the remainder of our class. Writing and editing is exausting! What to look for tomorrow in the final Part Three: ideas for staying emotionally balanced AND a few thoughts on temporal well-being. Hope to have you back!

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