Wednesday, July 20, 2011


One of the things I love most about connecting with people is picking up tiny little bits of wisdom from them.  This morning, I was talking to my sister-in-law and she said, "Every act of self discipline increases our self-esteem."  If you have ever met me, you know that my self-esteem has been mostly non-existent in the past.  And you probably also know that I've never been great in the self discipline/commitment area.  

I have made commitments to all kinds of things in my life...diets, jobs, responsibilities, callings, exercise, relationships.  And until last year, I rarely stuck with any of them.  I would say YES to things I didn't really want to do and then spend tons of time and energy trying to find a way out.  I would promise myself that I would never eat another donut or cookie or dessert, and a couple of days later I would find a great excuse to have one...or several.  I would agree to exercise with friends and then accidentally sleep in or conveniently forget to be where I said I would be.  It's been a difficult pattern to break. 

A few months after moving to Dallas, I remember thinking that I wanted to be different.  I wanted to be consistent and reliable.  I wanted to be trust worthy.  I wanted to be a woman of integrity.  I had never been those things before, but I thought that with a strong enough desire and LOTS of prayer, I might be able to make the necessary changes to evolve into something better than what I had always been.  Every now and then, I can see the effects of that desire.  I've become a little more consistent and reliable over the past several months.  I keep more commitments than I used to.  I say what I mean and I follow through more often.  And on days like today, I realize that I have gained so much more confidence.   

This morning I had a pretty disappointing, frustrating experience.  It was one of those things that, in the past, would have broken me.  I would have fallen apart or said something regrettable or left some kind of wreckage.  But this time, I didn't.  I seethed for about 15 minutes on the last leg of my walk.  Then I called my husband and talked to him about it.  And then I poured all of my frustration into my Aquacise class and left it there.  When I drove home it was gone.  No anger, no frustration, no meltdown.  It just went back to neutral for me.   

It's inevitable that at least a few of the things I do or say are going to offend someone.  It's impossible to expect people to always understand my intentions (or even want to.)  Sometimes no matter what you do, there is misunderstanding.  There have been times that I have lived at my greatest potential and times that I very definitely haven't.  Everyone is like that.  We are all capable of the very best and the very worst.  But this time, I didn't take responsibility for someone else's very worst.  

There is no possible way that personal change like the ones I've experienced are possible without the Atonement.  Someone said in a gospel doctrine lesson recently that the Savior is like frosting on the cake - He covers all the flaws and fills in all the gaps.  

I don't look like that beautiful cake yet.  There are still tons of gaps and flaws.  I forget my Life Rules sometimes.  I give in to stupid temptations.  But it's better than it used to be.  And when I have personal successes like the one I had today, I am immensely grateful that we have the ability to change.  I would only ever be what I've always been if not for the undeniable power of the Atonement.    

  Be Good. Be Patient. Don't Forget.

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