I just had a thought come to mind. Something that's constantly part of my life, but something I so often forget, gloss over, and take for granted. I am honestly so thankful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and so thankful for the direction that membership, and the belief in God and Christ gives my life.
I've felt like my testimony has been a bit rocky recently. I don't know exactly how to explain it because it hasn't really been issue with doctrine, and it hasn't necessarily been my own level of belief. It seems like it's just been struggling to have motivation to go to church each Sunday, to go to ward council and fulfill the responsibilities that come with my callings, or even to do my home teaching. I've also been feeling distant from God. I know He is there, I know He is real, I know I've felt close to Him in the past. Things just feel distant now... And I'm struggling to find the motivation to do the little things like pray or read my scriptures. But that's not really the point of this post...
See, despite all of that... Despite my perceived distance from God, despite my lack of motivation to attend church or pray, I realized how thankful I am for the path that God offers me. I'm thankful for the guidance the gospel gives me. The way it teaches me to live my life.
I feel that for me, I look to causes and things I feel strongly about to give me direction in my life, and there are so many things I could dedicate my life to. Some could be good, some not so good. I could become engrossed in politics, and live my life based on the views of a political party. I could become obsessed with a celebrity, and try to copy their actions and live their life. I could become a slave to drugs, and live my life around finding the next high. I could dedicate myself to serving others and donating time and money to charities. I could dedicate my life to building the church and the kingdom of God, or I could choose to spend my time and energy seeking to destroy it and the faith of others.
For me, I've lived through a variety of directions in my life. When I was very young, my life was dedicated to anything to do with animals and bugs, and having fun. For a time when I was in inpatient treatment, I dedicated my time and energy to getting out by almost any means necessary. At the time I started my blog and volunteered to do a Voice(s) of Hope video, I was dedicated to proving that I was in control of my choices, and wanted to help others to know that they weren't alone and that there was hope.
More recently in my life, I've noticed that I'm lacking some of the truly powerful motivators I seemed to have in the past. Right now I don't feel passionate about school. I don't feel like I know the answer to the question of what I want to be when I "grow up". I don't have some grand vision of where I want to go spiritually, or what next step is best for me in my relationship with God. I'm struggling with being social. I don't have much motivation to speak with people. I've been incredibly shy most of my life, but for a while when I was really close to God, I was outgoing, and life seemed so much brighter... I want to feel that way again.
But I want to express gratitude for the gospel. I may be lacking deep motivation in many things, I may be struggling to go to church or fulfill my callings, I may be struggling to reach out and be friendly, yet the gospel still gives me guidance. I feel like my life has meaning and purpose even though I feel lost right now. I know that God is there and is aware of me. I know that no matter what happens in my life, or in the lives of those around me, I will get to see them again in the next life. I want to be better, because I know what it's like to be better. The greatest and happiest times in my life weren't necessarily when everything was going right, but when I was truly trying to be better. The best times of my life were when I had deep convictions for things that really mattered. The most positively motivated points in my life were when I was close to God.
Sometimes it's painful for me to be LDS. I'd love to have a guy that I could marry and share everything with. And yet, the happiest I've felt wasn't when I had a guy I was in love with who loved me back, which did bring some happiness, but it was when I was dedicated to God and willing to reach out and help others find God, too.
I want to follow the gospel because of what it gives me. It's not about what it takes away. I need direction in life, and God gives me direction and motivation to better myself, to love others, and to make the world around me a better place. I don't want to destroy the world, or destroy others or their ideas, I want to find the motivation to build the kingdom of God, to touch the lives of those around me, and to be the son of God I was meant to be. I want to find who I truly am, who I'm meant to be. I want to give him a big hug, and tell him that I'm sorry for losing my way, but that I want to do better. So I want to say thank you to my friends and family who support me and push me to be better, to the church, to God, to Christ and His gospel and for the guidance they give me. I don't currently know the way to go with my life, but maybe I can start by saying thank you for what I have been given already, holding to the past and what I've learned and know, and then looking to the future and for a way to reconnect with God.