Sunday, May 15, 2011

Growing Pains

I know that none of us are perfect. I also know this includes me. Over the years I have come to realize some of my weaknesses. I know I can be selfish. I can speak without thinking. I can be blunt and very matter of fact. As I've realized these weaknesses I've given a halfhearted attempt to change. I said a prayer to help me overcome these things, these natural man tenancies but not much more. Last week I had an experience that broke my heart. It was a slap in the face how very unaware of my bad nature I am. I'm afraid I'll lose one of my dearest friendships over it. Since then I’ve been trying to be very aware of how I speak. I realized that not only can I be blunt and to the point, but that the way I speak also makes it seem as though I am being belittling and condescending. What, from my perspective is me being a good friend and sharing actually seems to be rude and probably more than I would like to admit, hurtful.

I’ve tried earnestly to be more aware of this over the past week.  A few days ago I had this experience; we went out to dinner with some friends. They mentioned a problem they are having with their dog. We had the same problem with Rusty. Without thinking I blurt out “What you need to do is….” It’s not just the words I said, it’s the tone I used, so blunt, so matter of fact, so almost self righteous, like I was some authority on dog training. I tried to do some damage control and end my statement by saying “at least that’s what we did with Rusty and it was helpful”.  How much better could it have been if I had taken half a second to think before I spoke.  Then I could have said " we had the same problem with Rusty.  I found it helpful to ....."  That is so much kinder.  That seems like a friend sharing rather that me telling them what to do.

I ache that my natural instinct is communicating in such a way! I am heartbroken thinking how many people I have probably offended over the years.
I believe this is the broken heart and contrite spirit they speak of in the scriptures. Now rather than halfhearted prayers I am praying with a broken heart to experience that change in nature that is promised in the scriptures. I know that through the atonement I can overcome this natural man. 

In Ether 12:27 it says “If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" 

Maybe I have brought this experience upon myself.  I have been praying daily to see the areas in my life where I need to change and the courage to make the changes I need to be more like my Savior.  If I loose this friendship it will be a great price to pay to learn this lesson. 

At this point I have a hard time imagining that this weakness could ever be a strength but I have faith that through the atonement I can have the ability to change. This morning as I was studying this topic I came across this quote from Elder Bednar;

“The gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses much more than avoiding, overcoming, and being cleansed from sin and the bad influences in our lives; it also essentially entails doing good, being good, and becoming better. Repenting of our sins and seeking forgiveness are spiritually necessary, and we must always do so. But remission of sin is not the only or even the ultimate purpose of the gospel. To have our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit such that "we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually" (Mosiah 5:2), as did King Benjamin's people, is the covenant responsibility we have accepted. This mighty change is not simply the result of working harder or developing greater individual discipline. Rather, it is the consequence of a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord. Our spiritual purpose is to overcome both sin and the desire to sin, both the taint and the tyranny of sin.”

I found it on this site which had so many great thoughts on the atonement. 

I can only hope and pray that I can continue to remember my weakness and be diligently working to become better. As I pray for forgiveness and strength that I will become a better more Christ like person. Please if you are around me and you are offended, or hurt by something I say, or the way I say it, let me know (with a little love please ).  I promise I will not be upset (at least not with you!) and that I will be grateful that you are the kind of friend who will help me to grow. And if I have offended you please forgive me. I am trying to become a better person.


Nicole said...

I think we are similiar when it comes to speaking our minds. I felt I offended a friend this week that we have in common (I think it may be the same one you wrote about). I can think of a time you have offended me but I agree if I ever offend you or you have something you want to say be forth coming about it. You are a great woman Terina.

Nicole said...

I read this comment again and I meant I can't think of a time you have offended me!

Emily said...

I totally understand what you mean - I know of many times that I think, why did I say that and why did I say it THAT way - don't worry, we all have faults and recognizing them is the first step - that puts you light years ahead of other people!