Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This is hard

Alrighty, it's about to get real up in here again. Sorry about that, but this is my blog and I can vent if I want to.
Life is hard. I know life is hard for everybody and we all have our different challenges and trials, but right now my life is HARD. Hard enough that I don't want to get out of bed in the morning unless it's Sunday because that is the only day that feels safe. Hard enough that one day at a time is all I can do. Hard enough that I feel like I'm being pushed to the very edge of a cliff and have to figure out how to stay on when everyone and everything around me is shouting "JUMP!" I have never felt so stretched in my entire life.
Now, to be fair, I am a ridiculously emotional and sensitive person. It is the end of my first year of grad school, and I'm exhausted in every single way a girl can be. Everyone tells me I'm in the homestretch, but it feels like the end of the obstacle course in American Gladiators where they put the hardest stuff all at the end and do their very best to break you. I always thought I had good life endurance, but this all makes me feel like a weakling.
I know what part of the trouble is. I'm trying to live righteously. That's not a bad thing, not by a long shot, but it does invite the devil to be hard on you because he wants to break you. I read numerous talks yesterday where the thought was said that when things get really hard, take that as a sign of encouragement that you are on the right path. That made me feel good, but it didn't help me to figure out how to get through it.
I've been praying with more sincerity than I ever have, and I always hope for miracles. But I'm starting to think this is one of those "push through it" times where heaven steps back and says "We're here, but you have to do this. Come on, one more step. One more day." I pray for strength for myself, which I always receive (sometimes by the end of the day I'm on my hands and knees, so to speak, and crawl home, but I make it) and other days it's like "Whew, I made it. That could have been worse." I pray to be positive, because I have to remember that with all of this hard stuff, I am an example of the gospel of Jesus Christ and people watch me. So I bite my tongue when I want to complain. I smile when I want to scream. I pray when I don't think I can do it. It's hard, but I have to do it. I pray for the people who are making my life miserable, because I don't know what else to do, and the Savior told us to pray for those people. I think it helps. But even the Spirit can only go so far in some cases.
I thought I had learned this lesson before now, when I was in a similar situation feeling just as lost and confused. I thought, "Hey, at least I won't have to do that again." I can see now that was to prepare me for this time. This place. These people. This is the real test. At least I hope it is. If it gets any worse than this in the future, God and I are going to have to have a serious talk.
I want to quit. Every day that thought pops into my head. "You don't have to do this. You can go home where there are people who love you. There's a job there you can go back to. You don't even want to do this. Go home. Give up." And never has any temptation been so enticing to me. Would anybody blame me for quitting? No, they've told me as much.
But will I quit? NO.
I may not know why the Lord sent me here and put me in this situation with these people and this place, but I KNOW THAT HE DID. I may be mostly alone here, fighting for my life, so to speak, and without any idea of how far I've come or what I'm doing right, but none of this matters. What matters is getting through it, even if it's by the skin of my teeth, and not letting go of what I know to be true. Nothing will shake my testimony of the Savior and His Atonement. Nothing will make me break the covenants that I have made. Nothing will take away the fact that I have been sealed to my family for eternity. Nothing will actually break me. I may crawl home at the end of the day, I may break down in tears on the phone with my mom because I want to go home, I may feel so hurt that my chest actually aches, I may wonder why in the world do I have to do this (and more terrifying, what could this possibly be preparing me for?), and I may have to talk myself out of bed every morning only to roll on the floor to my knees and pray for the strength to go further, but I will not be broken by this.
Others have gone through worse things, and no trial lasts forever. The scriptures always say "And it came to pass" not "And it came to stay."
So when I feel like my best will never be good enough, when one more day becomes too much, when I am tempted by the thought of giving up, I will remember my Savior, who knows exactly who I am and what I am going through, who has felt everything I am feeling, who endured far worse with far less complaint, who has never left my side and never will, who picks me up at the end of the day and brushes me off and says "Good job, you did it!" He is all the strength that I need.
If that is all I need to learn, that truly relying on Him is the only way, then I say BRING IT ON.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be a very dim light and a very long tunnel, but it is there. One step at a time, I'm getting there. Hands and knees some days, but I'm getting there. I am being built for something, and I want to give the Lord the best version of me that I can. He deserves the very best.
I am so grateful for my friends and family that remind me every day that this isn't it, that I am more than this, who make me laugh and tell me it'll all work out and say all sorts of sweet things to make me feel better. You make the day brighter, and I love you for it.
I will make it. We will all make it. We may have bumps and bruises and scrapes and scars when we're done, but everybody knows that bumps and bruises and scrapes and scars come with the best stories. So in a future day when we're all around the camp fire with s'mores telling our stories, I go first. Pass the chocolate.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Time to discus something that is super personal and drives me crazy and my parents crazy and no doubt my friends crazy, but it is something that I have been dealing with for some time now. It doesn't seem like a big deal, when you look at it, but it can be. And for me it has been.
This big, ginormous, annoying elephant in the room is worry.
Seems like no big deal, right? We worry, we're human. Parents worry about their children. Kids worry about getting in trouble. Students worry about passing exams or classes. Girls worry about impressing boys. Boys worry about impressing girls. Worry is a part of our lives.
Worry can take over our lives.
I don't believe I'm alone in this, but I have had moments where worry has been so intense that it has taken control of my mind. I become anxious and panicked and cannot think straight. Perspective goes out of the window. All I can think about is my worry. What if. Those are the scariest words for a worrier.
I do a decent job of pretending to be tough and trying to keep a good perspective, but worry eats away at you and sits on your chest until you can hardly breathe. It makes you think the Spirit is telling you something is wrong, even though you know in your head that you're fine. It can make you think you're having a heart attack. It can make you want to vomit. It can take the feeling away from your knees. You can feel completely paralyzed and paranoid because you feel like the floor is going to fall out from under you.
People can tell you that none of this matters, that you're fine, that life is not about this, and all of that is true. But you can't hear that when you are worrying. Because for this moment, this IS your life. For where you are and what you are doing, this is important. Will it determine the course of your life? Probably not. Will it take away from who you are? Probably not. Do you lose anything because of it? Not really. But you worry as if all of eternity is resting on this one thing.
I don't have any secrets on how to fight this. Every person is different. All I know is it's not healthy, it's not right, and you cannot live like this. So for me, I just pray, take a deep breath, and go through my life one day at a time. Someday, maybe I'll figure this all out and have secrets to help others. But for now, I've got today. And it's a beautiful day to be alive.