Tag Archives: honesty

Who are you?

This post is dedicated to learning more about each of you.  I would like to get to know my readers a little bit better.  So… who are you?  How do you identify yourselves?  What makes you different?

My name is Amy and I live in North Dakota with my family right now.  I am single and looking forward to going on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for a year and a half.  I am not sure where I am going yet or when I am leaving, but hopefully it will be soon.

I love my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  I have felt their love for me numerous times in my life.  I cannot even begin to describe the great blessings they have afforded me.  I am grateful for my life and for the ability to strive to come closer to Christ each day.

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Let’s Remember to be honest

The Need to Succeed

What type of car are you driving?

Today’s World

In the world today there is a great push towards success.  What are we willing to do to achieve this success?  Some are willing to do pretty much anything.  At times when one is willing to do anything, and he begins cheating his way up to the top, in the process, he destroys himself.

Success and Greed

Sometimes people get to the point that their success is driven by greed.  I think Gordon B. Hinckley covers this principle well in his book Standing for Something on pages 26 and 27:

“Everyone wants to be successful.  The question is:  Successful at what?  Successful at earning money, successful in marriage, successful in our own sight and in the eyes of our friends?  None of these aspirations is necessarily wrong.  But greed is an insidious trap that has the power to destroy those whose eager search for success becomes the driving force of their lives.  Greed is the devious, sinister, evil influence that makes people say, ‘What I have is not enough.  I must have more.  And I will do whatever it takes to get it.'”

There are dangers when it comes to doing whatever it takes to reach success.  Cheating and dishonesty often become involved and people in essence, destroy themselves.  Hinckley continues:

“During the past few years, an alarming number of individuals began working with integrity and honesty and lived in reasonable comfort, but they were not satisfied.  In their greed to enlarge their own kingdom, they enticed others to invest with them.  And those who invested in their enterprises, in many cases, were also plagued with the affliction of greed.  They listened to stories of large returns with little effort.  Like a dog chasing its own tail, the momentum of the scheme increased until one day there was a collapse.  Both the promoter and the investor were left only with shattered dreams.  What had been a friendly and pleasant association became one of accusation and meanness, if not criminal prosecution and attempts to recover losses through civil litigation.”

It is so important for us to remember our values and standards as we strive to be successful…  We must think of if we are striving to enlarge our own kingdom or if we are striving to enlarge the kingdom of God.  I love how Hinckley ends his chapter on honesty:

“Men and women of integrity understand intrinsically that theirs is the precious right to hold their heads in the sunlight of truth, unashamed before anyone.  Embodied within this simple principle and character trait rests the foundational virtue of every person and of every society.”

Can you hold your head up high and in the sunlight without shame?  How can you be more honest in your desire for success?

Talents

Each of us have many God-given talents.  It is our responsibility to share what we have been given with others.  We must not try to diminish what we are able to do only to make others feel better about themselves.  There is nothing wrong in doing things as well as you can.

We can show our love to others as we teach them the things we know and share with them our talents.  As we are sincere and following Christ’s example in sharing our talents and skills with others, we will know that we are not becoming prideful.  We must always remember where our talents, skills, and abilities come from, and that is from our Heavenly Father.

Are you seeking to enlarge your own kingdom or the kingdom of the Lord?

Living in the World Today

Living in the World today is not always easy

Growing Up

I grew up learning that I should be in the World, but not of the World.  Sometimes this is not as easy as it may seem to be.  Being not of the World requires sacrifice and sometimes ridicule.  It is not always easy to set yourself apart from those who surround you.

First Years of College

My first two years of college were particularly trying with this principle, especially my second year.  I was attending a school in Illinois and I did well academically.  There were many times though that I felt as if I did not really ‘fit in.’  But then I just told myself that it was okay if I didn’t fit in.

I often missed my friends from back home who already knew my standards.  Many weekends, I became quite lonely for friendship.  I am not saying that I did not have friends, because I did.  I am just saying that I did not do the things that my friends chose to do.  These things included such things as partying with alcohol involved and viewing entertainment that I was uncomfortable with.

In fact, my first year at college, I was excited to find out that the students in the theatre department had a kind of improv/cabaret show similar to “Saturday Night Live” and “Whose Line is it anyway.”  I was excited because in high school I was very involved in a similar organization.  So, when their first show came up, I was more than happy to go.  That was, until the show started.  Immediately, I felt out of place and uncomfortable with the material being performed.  I did not return to another show.

Quickly, my friends at the school and in the theatre department learned of my standards as to what I would and what I would not expose myself to.  Many of my friends were extremely respectful and courteous in telling me when they did not think I would appreciate a play or the content in a given show before the show started.

Sometimes choosing to not attend or read certain plays seemed like it would have an impact on my grade.  I often asked myself what do grades matter in the grand scheme of things.  Was it more important for me to stay true to my values and standards or was it more important for me to do well in school?  Sometimes, I could not have both.

Turning to Help

I have found that as I turn to the Lord for help, He is there to help me to succeed.  Many times when I felt like my grade was in a crunch because of my choosing not to attend certain performances, Heavenly Father made an ‘out’ possible for me.  Sometimes this ‘out’ was dropping a class without it affecting my transcript, while other times this ‘out’ was being able to do an alternate assignment.

I found that when I was honest with myself, my professors, and my friends, they had respect for me and my choices.  While they may have tried to convince me to go contrary to my beliefs, they ultimately respected me, even if they did not completely understand.

What it means to Come Unto Christ

Having the Lord on my side was and is a great blessing.  I know that He is on my side as I do His will and obey His commandments.  By coming unto Christ, I knew I was doing the right thing.  I love this quote by Sheri Dew:

“Coming unto Christ means walking away from the World.”

There have been many times in my life where I have had to do this.  We have to make a conscious choice to come unto Christ.  With that choice we must do what is necessary to get there.  And when we veer off course, there is a way back with the atonement of Christ.  He loves us so much to give us multiple chances.  Let us try to follow Him.

Sometimes following Christ in the World today is not an easy thing.  I love how Matthew 26: 41 in the New Testament puts it:

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Many times in our lives we have to continually work to follow our spirit and not the natural desires of our flesh.  Overcoming addictions is a huge example of this.  As we come to Christ and think of what He would have us do, we choose to follow His example and live righteously in a not-so-righteous World.

What are you afraid of?

Are you looking into the mirror of fear?

Fear consumes us…

There have been quite a few points in my life where fear has seemed to take the driver’s seat.  This particularly happened as I was in and out of hospitals during my recovery from depression.  I never thought I was going to get past some things because of the fear of rejection, failing, etc.

This is one of my journal entries when I was starting to come back to my senses after going through an extreme low in my depression:

My arms are going to be scarred up the rest of my life…. I am never going to want to go swimming again at least not with other people… I am going to be wearing long sleeves in the summer time… I’m going to be dealing with depression for the rest of my life now it seems and then depression is hereditary as well so that makes me feel like I shouldn’t have kids to pass it on to them…. I don’t want or wish this to anyone… Then who wants a wife or a mother who is depressed?  Who wants a friend who is depressed?  I feel worthless… I feel worthless a lot of the time… A lot of times I honestly wish I could just die… “

During this time I was allowing fear to control my thoughts and actions, instead of faith.  I think this is a very easy thing to allow to happen.  Are we focusing on the good that could possibly come from things?  Or are we stunting our growth by allowing ourselves to fear?

A Conscious Choice

One must make a conscious choice to not look into the mirror of fear.  When I was at a meeting with the President of Brigham Young University-Idaho, he answered a question about how we can overcome fear in our lives.  He gave the example of how we must consciously choose to look into the mirror of Christ instead of the mirror of fear.  The mirror of fear is dark and gloomy, and Satan is looking you in the face telling you that you can’t do it, while the mirror of Christ may still be a difficult journey, but He tells you that you can do it and that He will help you through.  President Clark continued to say:

“You will always have fears, but you don’t have to take counsel from them.”

Sometimes fear can be a good thing, leading us to choose the right.  But other times fear can be a detriment to our growth.  I think a lot of times we allow ourselves to be caught up in fear.

Christ is in the boat with us

There is the story in the New Testament about the disciples being in a boat when a storm was raging and Christ was sleeping.  The disciples became afraid and turned to Jesus.  It is in Mark 4: 37-40.  It reads as follows:

“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.

And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow; and they awake Him, and say unto Him; Master, carest thou not that we perish?

And He arose, and rebuked  the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

And He said unto them, Why are ye so fearful?  How is it that ye have no faith?”

We must remember in our lives that the Savior is in the boat with us.  He is there to help us through our storms in life.  As we have faith in Him, we can overcome.  Let us not forget and fear and let doubts stir our minds as the disciples may have at the time of the storm.  Let us remember that the Lord is able to do ALL things.  He well help us to overcome.

I invite you to please watch this video in its entirety.  You can overcome ALL things with Christ.

 

White Lies and Addiction

Do you feel stuck like mosaic tile in mortar?

Trapped

Do you feel trapped in your habits?  Do you find yourself telling white lies in order to keep other people happy and to keep others’ perceptions of you high?  Do you ever feel like you are not able to get out?  That you are stuck like mosaic tiles in mortar?  How do you chip yourself free?

Honesty

Honesty means to be truthful.  Complete honesty is being truthful and sincere always.  Honesty may not be an easy thing to do, especially when it comes to the little things.  Howard W. Hunter said this about honesty:

“Is there really any difference between dishonesty involving a thousand dollars or that which involves only a dime?…Are there really degrees of dishonesty, depending upon whether or not the subject is great or small?…If we would have the companionship of the Master and the Spirit of the Holy Ghost, we must be honest with ourselves, honest with God, and with our fellowmen.  This results in true joy.”

You are still being dishonest, even if it is a small matter.  Being honest at all times takes courage and faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Being honest helps us to be true to ourselves, others, and our God.

Being True

Why is it important to be true to yourself, others, and your God?  Perhaps it is because trust is based on being true.  When we are true to ourselves we are better able to trust ourselves to do those things that are right.  When we are true to others, they are able to trust and rely on us.  They gain confidence in us because of our integrity.  When we are true to our God, He can trust us.  As He does He blesses us with added knowledge and with greater capacity to serve others.

In Ann M. Dibb’s talk entitled “I Believe in Being Honest and True,” she talks about Jane Eyre and how sure she was in staying true to her standards.  This is what Jane Eyre says to herself when faced with temptations:

“Who in the world cares for you?  Or who will be injured by what you do?… I care for myself.  The more solitary the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.  I will keep the law given by God…Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation; they are for such moments as this…If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?  They have a worth—so I have always believed…Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by:  there I plant my foot.”

Even when Jane was initially tempted into choosing a wrong choice her conscience helped her to do that which was right and that which allowed her to be true to herself and to her God.

Addictions take us away from the ability we have to recognize our conscience when it is trying to help us figure out the right thing to do.  But there is a way to break free from addiction.  There is hope, even the hope that comes from the Savior and His atoning sacrifice.

Freeing yourself from the trap of addiction and white lies

There are many programs available to help people overcome addictions, but ultimately a person must decide for oneself and stick with the decision to overcome an addiction and begin a new life of hope.  Begin today.  It is amazing how free you can feel when you allow the atonement of Jesus Christ to work in your life.  I love this quote by Ann M. Dibb.  She says:

“Being true to our beliefs—even when doing so isn’t popular, easy, or fun—keeps us safely on the path that leads to eternal life with our Heavenly Father.”

You can overcome your trials and Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are there to help you.  I have felt their great love and help in my life.  Their power to heal is real.  They lift us higher and help us to choose that path of freedom and eternal life.

Your Heart

purity

Your Heart

Is your heart broken?  Is it locked?  Is it torn?  Is your heart firm?  Is it pure?  Your heart makes up who you are.  What is in your heart leads you to make your decisions.  From your heart stems your deepest desires.  What are your deepest desires?  Do you know?

I went to the bodies exhibit a couple of weeks ago.  It is an exhibit of bodies that have been preserved to help people learn more about the human body.  While I was there, I was able to see what smoking does to the lungs.  It was a stark contrast when it came to a healthy lung versus a smoking lung.  One was red and full of life while the other was black, hardened and shriveled.

Do we allow our hearts to become like the smoker’s lungs?  Are we letting them shrivel and blacken with selfishness, stubbornness, and sin?  Has your heart become hardened?  Do you like it that way?

A Healthy Heart

Then what exactly is a healthy heart?  Perhaps it is a heart that is pure.  In Psalms 24: 3-4 it reads:

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?  Or who shall stand in His holy place?  He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”

What makes up a pure heart?  I would venture to say that a pure heart comes as we are full of virtue and integrity.  Coming to this point is possible.  It just takes time and patience.

 

Healing Your Heart

A heart that needs healing is one that has become even just a little tainted.  While both a heart that is just a little tainted and one that has become completely hardened and black can both become healthy and pure again, it is a lot easier when we catch ourselves with even a fleck of impurity in our hearts.

In order to heal our hearts, we must allow them to be broken.  As we have a broken heart and a contrite spirit and turn to the Lord, He has mercy and compassion on us.  He is the one who heals us.

I propose that if our hearts have even the smallest black on them, we have need to repent and turn unto our Savior.  For a heart that has completely hardened this may take great sacrifice and faith.  You can start by doing little things to begin to open up your heart and soften it.  These little things can include things like seeing how you can trust other people, noticing the small ways the Lord is in your life every day, serving others, praying for softening, and reading the word of God to show you the right way.

As you read His word, you become aware of your hardened and blackened heart.  There are people who do not recognize the need for a change.

Moving Forward

It may be easier to allow yourself to continue on in bad habits.  It may be extremely hard to work towards a pure heart or to give up things that are hardening your heart just as it is extremely difficult at times to quit smoking or to put aside an addiction and not come back to it.

Following my depression, I had an extremely hard time opening up my heart to others.  Actually I always had my heart guarded in some way or another.  But I recognized my hardening heart while recovering from depression.

I did not treat others the same way I used to.  I was so afraid of giving too much of myself.  I did not want my depression and self-destructive habits to come back into my life.  I did not know, and actually still do not really know, how much I am able to give without losing track of my health spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

In a way I was becoming selfish, causing my heart to harden.  As I prayed to my Father in Heaven and as I read His word, I was able to recognize my need for a softening of my heart through His Spirit.  Quiet whisperings of the spirit come to help lead us back to our Father in Heaven.

Once I was brought to see this need, I began praying for help.  I am still in that process.  I believe that all of us are really in this process, because someone who has a completely pure heart is perfect.  None of us are completely perfect.  The Savior is our example of perfection.

He is there to help us purify our hearts.  As we allow our hearts to be broken, by recognizing our faults, we allow the atoning power of the Savior to heal us.

What is the status of your heart at this time?  What can you do to purify it more?  What can you do now to help the Savior be able to purify it?  Please do not sit and wait for something to happen.  Move forward.  Take a step towards a healthier heart by turning to the Savior of the World.