I’m not really one who takes a lot of time to step back and look at the big picture in life. Spending time running help, because I step out of the daily grind and can let my mind wander while the rhythm of my muscles helps me relax. Even so, there are still times when life makes me slow down and look at the landscape.
I take pretty good care of myself, so it’s rare that I get much more than a cold. A week or two ago, I found myself flat on my back enjoying the company of a stomach virus. While I was running the fever (even the low-grade after the high temp had broken), I was seriuosly loopy. But, I had several hours of solitude when my mind was functioning clearly. I spent that time reflecting on the pace and activities of my summer “vacation,” the course that the new school year appears to be taking, and the extra duties that I have shouldered in my personal life. I stay busy, and that creates stress.
I think what contributed to my susceptibility to the virus was that I am torn between two schools. While I only work a regular teaching work week, my after hours duties and obligations have doubled. I, however, am still trying to keep up with all the things that I have been doing in years past. I get worn down very quickly.
I’d love to say that I immediately sat down and reorganized my priorities. I didn’t, because it didn’t feel like that was what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. Instead, I went back to my regular duties still pondering over the problem. It was during a time of scripture study that I kept recalling the phrase “if you will put God first in your life, everything else will fall into place.” I realized that I had been placing running, cleaning the house, and trying to look super-good on the job ahead of my personal worship.
It hasn’t been totally easy. I’ve hit middle age, and I’m rolling out of bed at 4 a.m. so that I can pray and read scriptures before jumping into my workout and my day. Of course, I can’t find anywhere in the scriptures where I’ve been promised that doing the right thing would be easy! What I have found, instead, is that things are quietly falling into place, I’m able to make decisions in the moment that turn out to be the correct path to pursue, and the things that I’m having to let go aren’t as important as I supposed. I think the reason I wasn’t inspired to simply reorganize my priorities is because what is most needful in my day changes and needs to be flexible.
I really don’t know if everyone has someone in their life that they would love to be able to make the decisions for, or if I really am just that arrogant! I have no idea what it truly looks like on the outside, but my heart just hurts when I see people make decisions that look so incredibly sef-destructive or self-defeating. I’m a “fixer” by nature, so my inclination is to do whatever I can to make it all better.
The problem is multi-faceted.
- I can’t see life from their perspective, and so I am totally unable to completely understand what would lead them to make the choices they are making. I have to trust that no one gets up in the morning with the intent to create a disaster, so they are doing the best they can with what they have.
- Somehow, I missed the line when God was handing out omnipotence! (Drat!) I don’t know everything, and I don’t always know best. Heavenly Father has taught me again and again that He knows better than I do, and His way is the best way every time.
- Even if I am right, I can’t do any good if I’m trying to override someone’s agency. God gave each of us the right to choose. It’s crucial to our learning and growth during our mortal existence. No matter how wonderful my intentions, Any attempt to take over against someone else’s will and choice will be a disaster — guaranteed.
Fortunately, there are things that I can do. I can extend love. I can express confidence in all that is good in the people around me. I can be kind. I can help. I can pray, and I can fast. Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but with Heavenly Father, the small things make the big differences.