September 8, 2014

Noise: Being Still

I remember my last transfer on my mission quite clearly. It left a distinct impression on me that still remains. I felt quite clearly the words in my mind and heart to "be Still." As the transfer unfolded I found I was being taught what that phrase meant...specifically in letting go of things I didn't need to control.

Sometimes in life we worry too much about unnecessary things. Our minds become cluttered and we can get overwhelmed. This is not the way of peace. 

I love the scripture in 2 Timothy 1:7...
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Is our mind sound?
Is our heart full of love?
Do we feel that power, or confidence?

If not, I suggest having greater faith in God's promise of that love. But how do we do that? Let go.

When we don't feel peace there is a reason. And no, it doesn't mean we are bad or have dome something wrong, persay. However....there is something in our life that we can choose to let go of. And what that is we may not always consciously know. But other times we do know and may just be holding on to because of fear or comfort in Our situation or various other reasons. Whatever the case, prayer will help.

I love the scripture Ether 12:27. I read it this morning and decided to visually represent it so it had more meaning to me. I will post it later if I get to digitally recreating it. But here is the verse:

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

If we choose....and that is IF...
He will give us grace and peace to let go of things that don't matter and that take away from our peace. Because the Savior is the bringer of peace, not of confusion.  

So with that, I'd like to clarify what some of the voices are that we hear in our life, so as to make distinguishing God's voice and direction in our life a little more clear.

There are three types of voices that add to the noise in our head. (As if sometimes music and buzzing electronics wasn't enough! :) 

Satans Thoughts
These are negative thoughts and typically begin with "you." Ex: "You can't do this." These are loud and persistent and tend to depress and take away from our hope, peace and love for ourselves and others.

Your Thoughts
These typically are "I" statements and sometimes may feel hard to distinguish between your and satans, because as you give heed to negative voices you begin to adopt them and they then can become your thoughts. Which is why we have to recognize them and write them down so we can correct those false thoughts and beliefs.

The Spirit
These are generally quiet and peaceful and don't hang around too long if you ignore them. They frequently take more the form of a gentle or powerful calm command. Ex: "Be still." And the more you can eliminate the other louder voices, the easier this voice is to distinguish. I enjoyed the book Hearing the Voice of The Lord, by Gerald Lund to better understand different ways we receive and can notice the voice of the spirit. 

I would encourage those who want to better develop this clarity of voices to do a few things:
1. Work on negative thoughts. I'd start with maybe a little black book to write negative thoughts down in, so you can be aware of your thought patterns. When you hear negative thoughts in your head, write them down (I'd also mention if you are being negative, critical or mean...those also stem from negative thoughts, so I'd pause to see where the problem may be there too). Over time you can see where your mental energies are focused and then can sort through the rubbish and false beliefs and turn them around into true statements, one statement at a time (don't overwhelm yourself and try to work at all simultaneously). I like to find scriptural truths and promises that counteract the negative beliefs, that I can place greater faith in that the negative thoughts, and work on the most negative one first.

2. Study the scriptures. I love 2 Nephi 31:20 which says to press forward with a steadfastness in 
Christ....feasting on his word. The scriptures are truths and we can't dig ourselves out of negative beliefs merely by relying on positive affirmations about ourselves. The true source of empowerment isn't an isolated "I" statement, but rather a "I AM" statement, grounded in scriptural truth and the love of our Savior. Turn to his promises and pray for help finding a statement specifically for you and your need.

3. Turn off irrelevant noise. Turn off incessant noises that do add to the peace and clarity. Constantly having loud music on can clutter the mind. Instead, perhaps turn on some soothing music or uplifting music to encourage positive thoughts and stillness. The environments create and surround ourselves in can have a great impact on the "clutter" of our brain, for better or for worse. 

4. Write in your journal. Record your thoughts and feelings regularly so you can be aware of yourselves and emotions and gods hand in your life. As you do this you can better gauge where you are and better live in the present. Even if it is just writing three things you are grateful for each evening before bed. Little steps. 

5. Pray for help. I enjoyed reading a little book last week called As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen. In it, he talks about the power of our thoughts as the creating force of our life. If you aren't pleased with your life, start working on your thoughts and turning me over to Heavenly Father through prayer and conscious choice to replace negative thoughts. Our thoughts become our beliefs, which become our actions. If you are acting in a way you don't want, it starts with your thoughts. Take responsibility for your thoughts and actions (don't blame others).

Last thought: I woke up this morning thinking about the story of Elijah as I listened to the howling wind that actually sounded like words of the wind. So I wrote a little poem:

Words: blowing by...
(But He wasn't in the wind)

Feelings: shaking and quaking...
(But He wasn't in the earthquake)

Thoughts: as burning flames...
(But He wasn't in the fire)

And after the fire, stillness.
A voice: His still small voice.

Listen. Listen.
"Be Still."


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