Thursday, September 8, 2011

PWOC, Self-Doubt and Godly Thoughts.

Last year, my neighbor invited me to join her at PWOC and I thought about going.   But I felt a little out of place.   I didn't really know her that well and at a meeting with some of her friends, I felt like I didn't have quite as much in common with them.   I confess that I was a little worried about sticking out like a 5th wheel.   And because it's Protestant Women of the Chapel, I felt a little weird about going to a women's group outside of my own faith.   After all, I am an active Mormon.   I love going to Gospel Doctrine and Relief Society.   I love the wonderful events that we have.   Would people at church think I'm strange for going to a Protestant Bible Study?   Would the PWOC women criticize my faith that doesn't align exactly with theirs?  Would the classes contradict my own faith?

So I couldn't make it to the first class and then I felt weird about going.   Yes, I know, I'm using the word weird a lot in this post.   I was letting my fears of sticking out and confrontation and leftover teenage angst stop me from trying something new.

Then a few weeks ago, I happened to run into a friend from church after dropping off my daughter at school.  She mentioned that she was going to PWOC for the kickoff and felt a little strange about being the only Mormon there.   She asked if I thought they would be critical of her beliefs or welcoming.   I admitted that I had the same fears the year before but after meeting many of the PWOC women, I was sure it would be a good experience.

Then she told me about the class she signed up for and clear as a bell, I knew that this was the place I was supposed to be.   I immediately changed and we went over to the post chapel.

The class is titled, "Me, Myself and Lies".  The write up on it says this.   "Is it time to spring clean your thought closet?  Do you have thoughts bothering you from the past, present or future?  Learn how to clean out that thought closet and focus on Godly self-talk."  

This is something that I had actually been thinking about.   I know that negative self-image and discouraging inner dialogue is something that I've struggled with my entire life.  I even had a close friend give me a verbal smack upside the head just a few weeks before I ran into Melissa at the school.   She pointed out that I seem very focused on the negative side of me....that day it was about my weight....again.   

She is a treasured friend and I didn't want to jeopardize our friendship because I was wallowing in the mire of self-pity and frustration.    I was struggling to change my thoughts but constantly berating myself because yet again...I would fail and think something negative....therefore, I was a failure.....and negative circle again.

I never ever walk my daughter to school.   I did that day.   I am so glad I did.  I really feel that Heavenly Father knew exactly what I needed and pushed me there.

As a Mormon, we believe the same basic things that other Christians do.   We are all God's children and he loves us.   Christ is our Savior and without his sacrifice we would be condemned for all eternity.   We believe in the Plan of Salvation, that through Christ we can be reunited with our Father in Heaven.

And here is where I think I needed a different point of view.

We believe that we are meant to learn and grow and strive to become better, to learn to be more Christlike, more in tune with God's plan.....we should pray daily, study scriptures daily, have family prayer daily, FHE etc etc etc.......

I know (mentally) that we are not expected to be perfect.  Yet I constantly see a stream of "perfection" in front of me.   She is so good at that.....she is good at that.   Yes, I know they all have flaws of their own.   But even when I learned to stop comparing myself with those around me, I still saw all of MY flaws.   This huge list of To-Do's and I was a failure.  I was comparing myself, not to my friends, but to a perfection that is beyond my reach today.   I knew (emotionally) that I was failing.

It didn't matter that I was telling my children of God's love for us.   Atonement, repentance, line upon line....mentally, I knew of these principles but I still struggle(d) with the feeling of failure.

Too fat, must be lazy
Not spiritual enough,
not patient enough
Bad mom-yell at my kids, 
Messy house

And that one shouldn't faze me....years ago, someone pointed out that I have so many talents, that I shouldn't be greedy.   OCD/a perfect home is a talent or the sign of a woman with no other talents.   My  cleanish but cluttery home despite my best efforts was a sign that my talents lay elsewhere.

But it does.   Seeing my home as less than perfect is a physical representation of the clutter and stress I felt inside.   I felt like a failure because I didn't get it all done.   I still don't and it still bothers me BUT...

The inner dialogue in my mind is starting to change.

This class is pointing out a lot of things in ways that I haven't heard before.   They are not truths that are unknown to me but I've never put them in quite that way, or applied them to myself that way.   Several passages that left me feeling frustrated at my lack of Christ-like perfection before suddenly became clear as I saw that it was not my patience that was being judged, but my ability to accept HIS patience with me as I learn.   That the thoughts in my mind, from childhood, past experiences or other places were not of God, that this was Satan's way of pulling me from God.

It wasn't that I didn't KNOW this before mentally.....I just didn't get it spiritually.   

This blog is getting long but I'll write more later about the things that have touched me.  But day one, they handed out a slip of paper with this scripture on it.   And it hit me hard.....I love it.  It is taped to my computer so I see it every day.     Words and Thoughts.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer.
Psalms 19:14

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