Sunday, January 18, 2009

MY 2009 Theme

I must admit, I've been a little busy this week and didn't really have time to figure out what to put on the blog today. So, I'm going to share with you what I chose to work on for this year: Compassion. That was the one word that kept coming back to me as I thought and pondered and prayed on it. But I kept pushing it back because, really, what do I do with that? Focusing on "Commitment" last year was a no-brainer for me because I really do struggle with making and keeping commitments. But I feel like I'm a kind and caring person already, maybe not perfectly, but certainly that's not THE most important thing to work on this year. Well, after fighting it for a week, I accepted that apparently it is. And I tried not to be offended by that. (c:

So, then I sat on it for another week, still unsure of how to really put that into action. I mean, okay, sometimes I'm a little impatient with my family members when I think they are being excessively whiny over something. But how can that be my big theme for the year? That's why I didn't share it with you last week. That, and the fact that I really was barely able to cut and paste the post I did manage to make.

Now, let me sidetrack for a moment. January is a hard time for me. I look forward to all of the holidays at the end of the year--A LOT. I look forward to them for pretty much the whole year. And then November hits and life is incredibly busy. It's so fun, but then it's all over way too fast. And then I'm sad. Because I have 11 more long months to wait and the next four of those will be in a cold and dreary wasteland. (HH says I'm a little overly dramatic about this, but I just don't do "cold" very well). This year there is a ray of sunlight in the form of a visit from my cousin whom I love and adore like a sister. Yay! So, I tried to focus on that, but I still felt myself heading downward into what felt like an inevitable bout of depression that I was worried would last until her visit and then come back shortly after.

I've been doing very well lately, so I desperately wanted to avoid that. But I couldn't figure out how. Sometimes I don't feel very bright. Thank goodness for a loving Heavenly Father who never tires of really spelling things out for me. Finally, I made the connection (and remembered this post) and considered the many facets of "Compassion".

Was that a long enough intro? That's what happens when I don't have this all thought out before typing it down. Anyway, as soon as I crawled outside of my little burrow of misery for a moment, I saw all kinds of opportunities for compassion. And that's why I had such a busy week. And it was fantastic! It's amazing how blessed we become when we serve others. For example, one day I was still feeling a bit weak with the slow recovery from the medication, but the needs of several people landed on my plate. There are many things that I can't do well, but one thing I can do is cook. So, when someone is going through a hard time, I show my love and support through food. I remember standing in the kitchen, literally on shaking legs, realizing the hours of cooking and baking ahead of me for what I had planned, wondering what in the world I was trying to do. I'm not trying to brag here at all. The truth is, I kept contemplating different reasons not to do what I was doing, but then the Spirit would remind me that it was important. And I felt the promise that if I did this, I would feel better by the end of the day.

And I did! I felt so much happier than I had in a while. I felt tired, but not the same kind of overwhelming yucky tired from before. This was just like a contented tired. I felt so good about what I'd been able to do. And I felt very blessed because there is no way I could've done it without help from the Lord. My children had even cooperated as I toted them along with me everywhere. It was a day full of miracles, big and small. And I was most definitely the one who received the most that day.

I'm not going to do that every day, or every week, but I am certainly going to keep trying to stay open to opportunities to strengthen my compassion for those around me. I frequently feel as though I am "too busy" to take a break from my daily routine to do something for someone else. But I learned this week, that it's okay to break that routine. And I re-learned that the Lord will make it possible for me to find time to get all of the important things done when I do what He wants me to do. The sad thing is, I can almost guarantee that I haven't learned that lesson for good. Or the lesson about how serving others is the best way to make joy in my life. This week things felt so perfect. I feel so much joy and contentment and I love it! I've been a better mom, wife, and friend. I feel really good about myself. But I've been here before, and then I forget and revert back to my silly, stubborn old ways.

Does this happen to anyone else? What do you do to combat it? Any "tricks" for remembering to do the things that make you truly happy? Any ideas on why on earth it's so difficult to do what makes my life easiest?

Thanks for enduring this rambling and long post. Have a great week!


Nikki said...

Cheryl, I know you've mentioned this before on the blog, but thankfulness helps me refocus. When I was in school I would get very anxious. One day I tried to thank God for everything I saw on my way to school. And it really calmed me down and gave me some perspective. Now, I try to do that when I find myself getting to self focused or anxious.

Jen said...

Thanks for your thoughts on compassion, Cheryl. I think that's a truly awe-some theme for 2009, especially during times of economic hardships. In fact, this is something that I will contemplate doing myself. . . finding a theme for the year, not just goals, and sticking to it. Maybe mine will be compassion as well. I could use more of it in my life.
As for your questions about losing that direction. . . just remind yourself every day of what your goal is and look for ways to do it. When I realize that my helping people is absolutely essential to my eternal salvation, it helps me remember a little more to be compassionate.

Tiffany said...

I agree with what Jen said about reminding yourself everyday. For me, last year was really about exercising. I had to recommit myself every day. In my patri. blessing, it mentions that I won't ever find true happiness until I find out how truly serve others. I think compassion is a big part of that and maybe I need to set this as my goal this year. It's so hard and overwhelming because I have thought of so many good things to try and do. How do you focus on just one thing and not feel like your slacking on so many other things?

Cheryl said...

Tiffany, I just say a little prayer and ask to know what is the best thing I could be doing at that moment. So far, I've always gotten an immediate answer.

Linda said...

WOW!!! What great wisdom you've shared in this blog, including the fact that you recognize this is a lesson that will be learned and relearned, like a lot of other very valuable lessons in life. But each time we relearn a true principle, we engrave it a little deeper and it becomes more and more a part of who we are. It's interesting that some of our most prized resources - time, talents, energy, creativity, money - seem to expand when we use them to serve Him, and rather than having less time or energy, etc., we end up with enough and maybe even more. I think it's one of the Lord's tender mercies. It's a lesson that I have had to relearn more than once, maybe because it goes against what seems logical. I have been trying to record these experiences in my journal because that helps me recognize and remember them.