Lifting up and moving on

Something I am struggling with right now is not understanding what my purpose is in certain things. I have been asked to do certain things and yet I feel like I am being undermined by the very same people who have asked me to do these things. I feel like I am being undermined by the very micromanaging personality of this individual. When I first took on the assignment to do this particular thing, I was not excited about it. I was not. It is not typically the attitude we are supposed to accept “callings” or responsibilities, but I am being blatantly honest here.

Maybe I am doing something wrong in my life that I even feel this way, but it is the honest truth. I did not want to say yes at all. I do not know why to be real honest with you. It was simply a natural extension of one of my other responsibilities. It actually made perfect sense. It made even more sense when you break it done to the further details. It was perfectly logical as seeing I had a son that age anyway. Perhaps that was what part of the problem was. Maybe that is what even added to the resistance. Maybe it is what flared the initial stubbornness. I do not know and I do not think that at this point, some four months later, it makes any difference.

The fact is, I am still struggling in other areas. I was asked to do specific things. Maybe I should not have asked the question I asked in the beginning as to why I was called. I thought it was a fair question. Maybe it was not fair to question inspiration, however. Sometimes we may not like the answers we receive in return. I, however, was not surprised and I was actually perfectly okay with the answer I got. I could work with that answer. I could use it as a motivational weapon to find my own inspiration and whereby I was able to catch the vision. I was finally able to do what I was asked with a willing heart as opposed to a reluctant and heart. This was what mattered to me. My attitude changed and I was able to embrace the assignment instead of wanting to run from it. The best part is that it did not take half the year to reach this point.

Perhaps I went about it all wrong. Maybe I embraced it a little too much. Is there such a thing as getting too involved and in too deep in one’s calling? I am not entirely sure at this point. Life resumed as normal for me. I still had life going on around me and I was still functioning in it. I was still performing tasks as usual. I was shifting things around and learning how to do that. I was trying to figure out how to shift the weights around to get everything done. This new responsibility was a little heavier than I thought it would be if I wanted to do my very best at it.

Of course, this change of attitude also came at a time of year when I was also carrying a little heavier burden with one of my other callings/responsibilities. The two were starting to show their weight on my shoulders. Not immediately. Not heavy, or at least that was what I thought, at first. For the one I started to read. Then for the other I started to do more than just read the surface stuff, I started to really research. For this, reading was not enough. I kept getting promptings to keep reading things over and over. I would read something and I would find something else to go read more about it on the second pass through. I was devouring everything I could get my hands on. The problem was not so much that I was reading a lot of information, the problem was that I was losing a lot of sleep over it. It was not that I was staying up to 1:00-2:00AM reading that was even the problem as I am normally a late night person, it was the fact that I would be tired and I would crawl into bed but I would not be able to go to sleep. I would literally lay in bed and stew on what I would read. I would be tired at 11:00PM and I would be unable to resist the promptings to keep reading. I would read until 2:00AM at which point I would feel okay with crawling into bed knowing that the morning hours would come awfully early. However, I would not be settled. I would just lay there exhausted and contemplate and think about the things that I had read and researched. I would have my heart get heavier and heavier. I would be confused about both topics on my mind. I would be uncertain about how to further proceed on the one and worried about another that I did not even know would come up for a few more days. I would go sleepless for nights on end.

It almost seems unfair to be burdened by something like this. There is no logical way to explain it. There is no logical way to approach it. There has been no spiritual settling of the soul either. I have been in limbo for over a couple of weeks. Further study only made it worse. Following the promptings only made it worse. Prayer has not brought me answers that I thought would bring me peace. It has brought further confusion and to some degree frustration. There is even some degree of disagreement over things that are going on. I am not going to lie about it. The fact is that when things are all there and human nature is involved in any way, thinks collide and things are not in perfect spiritual agreement all of the time. They certainly are not for me right now. I actually do not know what to do or what to think. I am in spiritual turmoil over fairly simple things that in the grander scheme of things do not matter.

The fact remains, however, that my “natural” side feels like it is being undermined and it feels like it is not being listened to at all. It feels like it is being taken advantage of. In fact, it feels like it was even lied to in the beginning as to why I was the one that was needed for this particular position. See my self-doubt might be getting the better of me right about now because of all of this. Frustration and even anger might be giving way to bitterness in some regards. As hard as I try to keep it to a minimal, I know enough about what I have been asked to do that things do bother me and things to really upset me and with good reason.

So after a little searching on perhaps how to deal with the not so pleasant side affects of this problem, I found a quote from Elder Marvin J. Ashton that I thought was appropriate. It is a general quote, but when applying an interpretation to the parts, it is very fitting on how we should be living our lives.

“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.”
[Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915–94) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Tongue Can Be a Sharp Sword,” Ensign, May 1992, 19.]
The quote is actually about charity which I thought was appropriate because I am struggling with my callings and fulfilling the responsibilities surrounding them. Essentially my callings are acts of charity to the people that I am touching through serving them. That is not the direct form of charity that Elder Ashton was talking about, however. He was talking about the pure love of Christ. Isn’t he great? He caught me by the end of the first sentence and pulled me back it and made me get real again. 

The key to his first point was that we needed to be kind. He went on to say that we needed to be kind and give people the “benefit of the doubt.” He essentially was saying we should not pass judgement where we do not have room to judge, especially if we cannot be kind about it. If we cannot be kind about it, we should remain silent and not say anything at all. I think the best part of this was that we should give others the “benefit of the doubt” which is something that I was truly struggling with. I was trying to have faith that things were happening through “inspiration” but it was not the same “inspiration” that I was receiving so how could it be? How can something that “feels right” to one contradict what “feels right” to multiple others. I was truly confused. I did not understand. I honestly was having a hard time grasping how anything was right anywhere and how anything but “doubt” was correct here. I was certainly having a hard time remaining quiet. Maybe I was not even being kind about it as I was already exhausted between the conflicted spirit over the two callings already by this point. 

At any rate, this quote is a gentle reminder of what charity is. Charity is something we should be striving to have. It is the true love of Christ. Elder Ashton reminds us gently to accept others in spite of the things we “do not understand” and in spite of the perceived short comings. My problem was that I was “expecting the best” and not seeing that and I was really upset by it. My idea of the “best” and the ideas of others of what the “best” are clearly do not match. I still see the short comings. I am still hurt and feel that to some degree I was lied to about what my purpose was for filling this position. I do not feel that I am being allowed to do that – do my best or even do it to the fullest of my ability. I feel that my ability to receive inspiration to fulfill my own calling is being overlooked. I was given that blessing. In my mind that is being walked right over the top of. I do not feel that I am being offered the same level of mutual respect which is something that I will need to personally work on. This does not mean that I am not going to work on forgiving and trying to get past this, but for right now I am at least trying to get past the fact that I am upset by all this. I am working on the fact that I let this bother me at all. It does bother me. I am upset. 
Elder Marvin J Ashton, however, put it all back in perspective for me. I need to be a bit more charitable. I need to keep my head on straight with how I let this get to me.

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