The One On: I Feel Entitled To Blessings

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Photo by Matt Hardy on Pexels.com

Many of us know that the rainbow God sent to Noah was an outward token of God’s covenant.  A promise to Noah that He would never flood the Earth again with water and that the Lord will come again to dwell on the Earth.

God didn’t make the promise that Noah’s trip would be smooth sailing and super easy.  Instead, He sent a rainbow.

A rainbow has different colors, just like the blessings that the Lord sends to us will all be different.  But I think sometimes we feel entitled to certain blessings and that they should look a certain way.

We learn at church that when we keep the commandments, then we will be blessed.

Keep the commandments; keep the commandments

In this there is safety; in this there is peace.

He will send blessings; He will send blessings

I have heard from many members of the Church that they followed the commandments and life still didn’t turn out like they wanted.  Many husbands and wives who have been faithful and kept the commandments, still have a spouse or child leave the Church.

Where are the blessings?

We are entitled to certain blessings when we are keeping the commandments, but sometimes those blessings look different than we expect.  Sometimes we don’t notice the rainbow because we are so focused on all the rain.

The Lord is pouring down blessings on each of us every single day.  Sometimes it is nothing that we did to earn them or receive them, but it is because He loves us.  Sometimes the blessing is the trial and who you become on the other side.  Our greatest blessing is going to be to live close to Him again.  Heavenly Father will mold us, change our hearts, and send many different experiences to help us be more like Him.

Start looking for the blessings that are already in your life.  Be open to them looking different than you imagined.  Different colors and in hidden places… but they are there.

I promise.

Sometimes a blessing is another person sent to help you through something really hard.  I would love to be that person, click here to see how I can help.

 

 

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The One On: You Have More Control Than You Think In Your Marriage.

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It has taken me several years to transition from feeling like a victim to my situation and to the way other people behave, to taking full responsibility for myself.  I still catch myself feeling like one at times.  Feeling like a victim is a very helpless place to be in, you feel like you don’t have any control over what is happening to you.

Taking full responsibility in my life has meant the ability to respond to what is happening around me.  It means taking 100% responsibility over the way I am thinking about it, feeling about it, and what I am doing about it.  This is when you start to feel a lot more in control over your situation.

One day I wanted to go for a bike ride with my family.  I knew in my head that they probably didn’t want to.  After traveling all day, they would want to relax at home.  However, because we had been cooped up in a car all day, I was ready to get some fresh air and move our bodies.  I was upstairs in my bathroom getting ready and beginning to talk myself out of even mentioning it because I knew the idea would most likely get rejected.  But, I thought I would just suggest it and see what feedback I would get.

Well, I was right.  No one seemed to think it was a good idea.  I marched back upstairs and began the victim thoughts:  I am the only one who cares, why can’t my family be more outdoorsy, I’m stuck.  I wanted to blame them all for my frustration.  Once I allowed myself to have a little tantrum about it and felt how I was feeling about it: annoyed, frustrated, and some self-pity.  Then I decided to take some responsibility over it.  How could I think about this?  What do I need to accept about this situation?  How can I feel about no one wanting to go?

I then began to think that I really didn’t want to force anyone to go with me because they would just be resenting me the whole time.  I had to accept that my family didn’t want to go, even if they could possibly end up enjoying it.  I decided that I still wanted to go and would still enjoy the fresh air.  I still felt disappointed, but not upset.

I came back downstairs and told them that I didn’t want to force anyone to go, but if anyone would like to come, then I would love to have their company.  This wasn’t said in a way to make them feel guilty, it was genuine and I had already started to feel better about it.

In the past, I would have turned that into something bigger.  I would of gathered all the evidence in my mind why I was the victim to a family who doesn’t like to do what I like to do (which is so dramatic and not true), and I would of been upset at my family.  Causing contention in the home and everyone feeling either guilty, upset, or annoyed.

Many times we don’t want to take responsibility for the way we are responding to things happening outside of us because we feel so much guilt.  We feel guilty for the way we are thinking about someone or something.  We feel guilty for the way we handled the situation.  We feel guilty for the way we feel.

Taking responsibility for ourselves only feels terrible when there is judgement attached to it.  This is what causes the guilt.  We can take ownership for ourselves and how we respond, without it having to mean anything terrible about ourselves.  We can own it and decide if we want to change at any point.

Judgement on ourselves or others only layers the pain in our situation.  It puts us in a place of blame.  We then avoid taking responsibility because of how we will cause ourselves to feel.  And when we avoid taking responsibility, we then end up as the victim again and completely helpless in our situation.

I could of decided to stay frustrated about my family not wanting to go.  The difference is that I owned it was my own thoughts about what was happening that was causing my frustration, not my family.  This lets me know that I am in control over how I feel, not other people.  Heavenly Father would never give responsibility of our feelings over to other people, that would be unfair and not the best idea.

Nothing has set me more free than learning that I am in charge.

I am in charge of my own feelings.  They are mine to feel and own.

I am in charge of how I want to think about what is happening.

I am in charge of how I want to respond to things.  If I am reacting, it is because I feel like a victim.  But when I take responsibility for the things I do have control of- then I can respond in a way that is true to me.

In the times when I revert back to feeling helpless in my situation, I remind myself how much control I really do have over what is happening.  I get to be in charge of me and I thank Heavenly Father everyday for this gift.

Feeling stuck?  Feeling helpless and don’t know how to get out of it?  Feel like you really don’t have any control over what is happening?  Then let me help, click here to learn more.

The One On: When Sundays Feel Hard in a Mixed-Faith Marriage.

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Sundays growing up in my home didn’t look like other members homes.  I use to picture my Church friends in their homes with the Mom making homemade rolls and the smell of pot roast circulating around the kitchen.  I pictured families gathering with cousins and grandparents while having a big feast.  Families coming home from Church together and talking about what they learned in their classes.

I have no idea if that was ever really going on in others homes or where those ideas came from.  I’m sure this was the experience for some members, but I’m also sure it wasn’t always smiles and laughing.

Sunday was my Dad’s only day off from work, so we would spend the day with him after my Mom and I would get home from Church.  My Italian father would usually spend his mornings in the garden while we were gone, then hours in the kitchen making us pasta.  We would sit down to a big feast and he would have my sister and I spell words to earn money.  Sometimes we went out to dinner to my Dad’s favorite Mexican restaurant or we would go to the movies.

I didn’t really have a strong sense of what the Sabbath should look like growing up, I just knew we were together as a family for only one day during the entire week.

Many of my clients tell me that Sundays are the most stressful day of the week for them.  Sometimes it is a battle with their children going to Church or trying to contain them alone during Sacrament Meeting.  They tell me about the loneliness and pain they sometimes feel seeing couples and families sitting together.

I know that sadness, pain, and frustration is real for many on Sunday.

I remember getting to a point where I finally accepted that my father was not interested in ever learning about the Church.  Religion was a topic we did not discuss at home.  There were too many strong feelings about it.

Once I finally accepted that I was never going to have the homemade rolls and pot roast Sabbath days, the father who sat with me during Sacrament, and family prayer… then I was able to start practicing gratitude for what I did have.

I started to be grateful for a Dad who cooked for his family.  A Dad who made me laugh and knew everything.  I was grateful for a Mom who still took me to Church every Sunday.  Grateful that I could still take the sacrament and have a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I didn’t need a Priesthood holder in my home to have that relationship.  I was extremely grateful for the Spirit I was able to still feel when at Church…. the list started getting longer and longer.

But when I was hurting for things to look different, then I couldn’t see the good that I did have.  I only felt resentment and pain.

If Sundays feel hard for you because you wish that maybe it would look different than it does, then it might be time to come up with a new vision for your family.  One that you can still feel good about, and one that also feels good for your whole family.

What could your Sabbath day look like when you have love for yourself ?

What could your Sabbath Day look like if you are feeling love for your Savior?

What could your Sabbath Day look like if you felt love for your husband?  For your family?

Maybe it won’t look like homemade rolls and pot roast, but it could be some amazing spaghetti.  I know those were some hard choices my Mom had to make, but I am so grateful for her for choosing my Dad and our family on Sunday.  Those are some of the best memories that I have of our family.

If you are ready to feel more joy on the Sabbath, then begin seeing your situation for where it is right now and create something that works for your personal family.  It may not look like everyone else and you may worry about what is “right or wrong” to do.  I do know that Heavenly Father loves families and wants us to feel love on that day, not anger or frustration.

I would begin by having each spouse make a list of things they would like to do on Sunday and why.  Start with trying one thing from each list and begin some new traditions.  Begin to get past the resistance and pain, and slowly start to allow gratitude to replace it.  There is no joy without gratitude.  There is always something to feel grateful for, even if it is small.

I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness- it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.  -Brene Brown

One thing that we like to do with our kids is sit around the dinner table and say one thing we are grateful for about the day.  Sometimes it surprises me the little things that my children are happy about.  Sometimes their answers are gospel related and sometimes they aren’t.

Practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives.  –Brene Brown

Choose love on your Sabbath Day, whatever that may look like.

I know opening up these conversations about what the other person is feeling and would like to do can feel scary.  If you need help knowing where to start, but want to start feeling more peace on Sundays, then sign-up for a free call to learn more. 

 

The One On: How To Be A Better Parent.

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My oldest daughter when she was only 4.

I have this recurring dream that I am really upset with my oldest child.  In the dream she is never listening to me.  I start to freak out and scream in my dream, sometimes I am even abusive towards her.  I always wake up in a sweat and need a few seconds to realize that it was only a dream.

I have concluded that this recurring dream of my daughter not listening to me and me loosing my mind, is just my fear of losing control as a parent.  The worst part about that dream is watching how I act and things I say to her.  I don’t even recognize myself.

We aren’t always ourselves when we are afraid.  We attempt to control others or things outside of us to help diminish the fear, but control is really just an illusion.

Heavenly Father doesn’t use control.  He knows each of us are on our own path, and this includes our children.  As a parent, we are a guide for our children.  A guide is a person who advises or shows the way to others.  A guide does not pull, drag, or manipulate others.  Those are all forms of control.

So how do we guide our children instead of trying to control them?

It begins by working through our own fears.  If we are afraid of the decisions our children are making or will make- then we will be acting from fear- which will cause us to go into control mode.  This doesn’t mean that we just let our kids do whatever they want, because a guide is still leading others along and showing them the way.  It does mean that you have to work through some of these fears and remind yourself who is really in charge, our Heavenly Father.

When I started to understand that my children are really on their own path and that it might look different than what I would do or what I expect it to look, then I could release some of my fears.  They are going to have things placed on their path that they need to overcome themselves, but I can help show them the way.  Not take the obstacles away, but lead by example and share any knowledge I may have for them.  I can explain long-term consequences that they might not see in this moment.  I can have them look at it from different angles.  I can explain to them why I am choosing to set my own consequence if they choose not to follow my guidance.  Not as an ultimatum or a way to control them, but to set up boundaries to keep them safe.  They still have the agency to go against them and suffer the consequences.

I decided one day that no matter what happened to my children, I was going to be okay.  I am going to do my best as their Mother and do my part, but the rest I have to trust in the Lord and His bigger plan for our lives.  It is hard as parents to watch our kids suffer or go through hard things, but it is sometimes a part of their path.  There will always be something they can learn from it, if they choose to.  The more we try to force our own will onto our children, the less they will most likely learn from it or follow it.  We are all designed to learn from our own experiences- that is what brings lasting change.

We as parents need to begin to fear less and trust more.

Trust that your children are here to learn and experience things for themselves.  Trust them more and they will come back to their guide.  They will trust what you are advising and how you are living your own life.

Trust in Heavenly Father’s agency.  He is very respectful of our agency and we need to do the same for others.

Trust yourself.  Trust that you will be guided by the Holy Ghost as you guide your children.  Trust in the Lord to help you and comfort you- especially when your child isn’t being or doing what you think they should be doing.

Build trust in your relationship with your child, not fear.  People always come back to those they trust.

Our children need a guide who will guide them back to their Heavenly Parents.  A guide who loves them unconditionally, no matter how bumpy their path may look at the moment.  A guide who is so secure in their own path, they don’t force their children’s behaviors to be a reflection of them as a parent.

As you start to work through your fears, you will realize that what your child has always been saying to you is: Lead me, guide me, walk beside me.

If you need help learning how to be a guide for your children, I would love to help.  This can be especially helpful when there are two different beliefs in the home and your child is watching their parents on two different paths.  Click here to set up a free call with me to learn more.

The One On: Rising After The Pain.

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I think about our Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane.

In an open garden where He could of ran away, He could of hid, or He could of taken out His emotions on His sleeping apostles.

But He didn’t.

He knew pain was coming.  He prayed.  He knew this was God’s will for Him.

Jesus knew the only way was to endure the pain.  He couldn’t escape it, numb it, or try to go around it.  He had to feel it.

But after the immense, indescribable pain He suffered, He rose again.

He rose after the pain.

We all have pain here on Earth.  It reminds us that we are alive.  It reminds us that someone endured this same pain.

The only way to rise, is to endure and go through the pain.

No matter how broken you may feel or when the pain feels too much to endure… I promise you have the ability inside you to rise again.  It doesn’t matter how long it takes, because it will come.

The Savior made that possible for us.

Pain was always a part of the plan.  His plan and our plan.

Walk towards it and pray for help to endure it.

Then when it is over, you will rise stronger.

I promise.

You don’t have to face pain alone.  There are many things that can help us endure it better.  Click Here for a free call to learn more.

The One On: Do You Ever Feel Like You Don’t “Belong” at Church?

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13 year old Me.
I learned from David Ostler that there are three main reasons why people leave the Church:

1- Mistrust about the Church and its Leaders.

2- Feeling that one doesn’t belong in their Ward or at Church.

3- Feeling that the Church doesn’t address the issues that are most important to them.

I can relate to the second one.  I work with the youth right now and I always tell them about when I was their age.  I had giant, frizzy hair.  I was very dark from being in the sun so much with my father’s Italian skin tone.  And it was only me and my Mom who went to Church on Sundays.  I never felt like I fit the mold or that I really “belonged” at Church.

I remember living in Utah for a semester of College and had those exact same feelings re-surfaced.  I didn’t look like everyone else and never felt like I belonged.  I can’t pinpoint any specific examples of why I felt that way, but I just did.  I always had a strong relationship with my Heavenly Father and that is what kept me going to Church.

Maybe there are times when you don’t feel like you “belong” at Church.  No matter how hard you try, you just can’t quite live up to all the expectations of others.  Maybe you have tried to put yourself out there and have only felt judged and unaccepted.  Maybe since your spouse has stopped coming, church doesn’t feel the same or people have treated you differently.  David Ostler helps us understand why this happens:

Wards are full of people just like us, imperfect and with different backgrounds and experiences.  It’s hard for some ward members to understand our differences and they may have limited experiences and understanding of difficult issues.  Some may try to say the right thing, but just don’t know how.  They may judge and make hurtful comments.  Some are so certain in Church beliefs, they can’t understand how one could not believe.  They may even look for the secret sin which explains away our differences.  In these kinds of settings, it’s difficult for us to express our true feelings because they don’t seem welcome.  We learn that when we express what we really believe, we can be met with judgement and rejection. 

Even though this is happening to wards all over the world, if you were to strip everything away and get to the foundation of this Gospel, it is only about our Savior Jesus Christ.  That’s it.  And you belong to Him.

Many of you have strong testimonies of your Savior and of the Gospel, so don’t let the culture chase you from where you belong.  I had a sign made for all my Young Women that said: You Belong Here, Welcome Home.  I hung it up to remind them that no matter their background or what they believed in this moment, they belonged here at Church.  I want to offer those same words to you and some others I tell my girls to help them take ownership of feeling like they belong:

Stay true to you.

Stay true to Him.

Be what you wish others would be.

Always remember that you are not alone.  Many feel the way you do.

You matter.

Your voice matters at Church, even if Heavenly Father is the only one who hears you.

Be Brave.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God; it never was between you and them anyway.  -Mother Teresa.

Always remember… You Belong Here, Welcome Home.

 

Need help working through this?  You are not alone.  Click Here to chat with me, I can help.

The One On: How Labor Pains Have Helped Me In My Relationships.

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Baby Me.

I remember sitting nervously in my first birthing class.  The instructor repeatedly said to breathe through contractions.  She firmly said not to get tense and try to fight against them, it will only make them worse.

I was amazed at how true this was when I got ready to deliver my first baby.  The more I just allowed the contractions and breathed through them, the less painful they were.  As soon as I tensed up and tried to fight against them, they became more intense.

This same concept is also true when it comes to our feelings.  The more we just allow them initially, the less pain we will feel.  But if we try to resist them, they will become more intense.

We have thoughts in our mind about things happening in our life, which then sends a feeling down into our heart.  Good feelings like: love, acceptance, charity, kindness etc- feel really good inside of us.  Some of us even experience a warmth in our hearts and chest.  However, bad feelings like: anxiety, stress, depression, anger etc- feel terrible.  They are extremely uncomfortable and our natural reaction is to try to resist them.

When we just allow whatever we are feeling at first, then we can handle our situation better.  Allowing is defined as: give necessary time or opportunity for.

Are you giving the necessary time and opportunity for your feelings?  Or are you burying them deep inside you and fighting against how you really feel?  That is resistance.

Resistance is defined as: the refusal to accept or comply with something.

Allowing yourself and telling yourself the truth about how you really feel- is like breathing through the contractions.  There is some pain and discomfort, but you will be able to handle it.  However long it needs to take.

Resisting the feeling and telling yourself not to feel that way or try to ignore it- is like tensing up to the contractions and making your feelings more intense.  This is especially true for anxiety.  It only gets fueled by resisting it- instead of allowing it and working through it.

I had a client who found out that her husband had been lying to her for years about pornography and other habits.  You can imagine the feelings that flooded her heart when she found out the truth.  Some of those feelings were betrayal, anger, hurt, and many more.  Her body didn’t want to feel these things.  It wanted these painful feelings to just go away.  So she tried burying them and fought hard against really feeling them.  All this did was increase her anxiety.  She became more and more anxious and began worrying about everything.

When we started working together, it was time to let some of these feelings out.  I taught her how to allow them so that we could look at them, and eventually change them when she was ready.  It was uncomfortable and hard for her to finally feel them, but then they stopped having so much power over her.  She was able to finally get a grip on her anxiety and get to a more peaceful place in her relationship.

We are meant to feel all kinds of feelings while here on Earth.  There will always be opposition in all things, so we aren’t supposed to feel good all the time.  Therefore, we don’t need to resist any of our feelings.  If we learn to allow them, then we can understand them and change them when we are ready.

Name your feelings out loud to yourself on what you are feeling in your heart.  Be honest with yourself.  Then, let the Lord help you deal with these feelings so that your hearts remain soft and open.  If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.  1 Nephi 15:11

If you need help with handling your feelings, especially anxiety, let’s get on a call together and talk about it.  I can help you.  Click Here to schedule your free call with me.