When problems or uneasy feelings arise, where do we go for help?
Unfortunately, we have been conditioned as a society to look outside of ourselves to solve our problems, regulate our emotions and even determine our level of happiness. Becoming aware of how we are regulating our emotions is the first step in the right direction, but then what? What do we do next? In the Doctrine and Covenants, section 63 the Lord reminds us that with his help, we can look inside our hearts to find the answers that are best for us. We will explore this concept further and look in Philippians for help with the process.
Sitting with the state of not knowing what to do is uncomfortable, so we naturally resist it. Oftentime we distract ourselves from dealing with the issue by scrolling through social media, watching a TV show, or even eating or cleaning!
This is especially difficult when we are in a state of suffering. It is hard to allow the feelings our thoughts are producing, but we need to reframe the meaning of these emotions as friends trying to teach us something, not threats to our existence. It can be intimidating because we might need to consider changing or having the courage to make a difficult decision.
To avoid pain we sometimes pretend that it doesn’t exist. We try to avoid it or blame outside circumstances for our problems. As psychologist Dr. Peck stated:
“We attempt to get out of them (difficult situations) rather than suffer through them. This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness. The substitute itself ultimately becomes more painful than the legitimate suffering it was designed to avoid.”
This is where faith and patience comes in. You need to feel your way through the options that come up and thoughtfully choose what feels best to you not only in your heart, but also in your mind. Let God guide you through this process with so much faith, that you give thanks beforehand:
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
If the answer speaks truth, compels you towards honesty, is just or right for everyone involved, is of pure intention, is good and virtuous, or lovely (exalts the mind and spirit) then think on these things- let them be your motivation for what you do. You can have faith that every good thing is from God.
Ultimately you will feel like you are proceeding out of complete authenticity to yourself and in alignment with God. When we agree to do what others expect and it doesn’t feel right, it is an added inner conflict, so you sometimes get more confused. Learning to trust your intuition is a process, but the better we get at turning our thoughts inward and upward, the more peace and clarity we will have in moving forward with the decisions we have made and the person we are becoming.
A well is a deeply dug hole that holds water in a pool, obtained from a continual water source to be used when needed. When would we need water? To clean ourselves and to sustain life.
Our Savior is that source of continual water! Are we tapping into ourselves to obtain that life sustaining resource? Are we using the cleansing power of Christ’s Atonement?
If we are not following the plan God has provided for us, and keeping the commandments, and covenants we have made, by default we won’t have those resources to pull from. If we don’t pray, we won’t know the master that we serve. If we don’t study the scriptures we won’t have parables and verses that teach and speak truth to our souls. If we don’t love and serve others, we run the risk of loving and serving those things that don’t provide true lasting happiness. It isn’t a punishment to keep the commandments, it is a privilege. It is a blessing.