Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pride (Part II): Enmity

I apologize for the outline yesterday.  Hard to read and follow.  I was out of time, so I left it at that.  This morning, however, #6 woke me up at 2:30am.  Not sure what wakes him in the middle of the night, but he used to want to sleep in our bed, and we used to let him, but not any more.  He now knows to bring his blankies and pillow with him and asks to sleep on our floor.  Sometimes he just comes in without waking anyone; on those days, I have to be careful not to step on him cuz I don't even know he's there, but this morning, he asked me to help cover him up.  Got up to do so, and I couldn't go back to sleep.  My brain went into overdrive, so here I am.  Plenty of time for everything this morning whether I like it or not.

Unknowingly, I ended at a perfect stopping place yesterday.  Today started with the topic of enmity.

Enmity means hatred or hostility or in opposition to someone--in this case God's will or enmity toward others.  It is satan's tool (yes, I don't capitalize his name on purpose).  I would say this is a pretty common feeling in our world.  C'mon, you can't tell me you haven't felt it before.  I'm actually feeling it this morning.  Hmm.  Maybe that's why I couldn't go back to sleep.

So, if we give in and allow ourselves to feel hatred or even unkind feelings toward others or toward our Heavenly Father, satan’s won.  Bottom line.

Automatically, when we know it's something satan uses, it is up to us to consciously choose to feel the opposite—love, charity—friendly toward.  That seems to be the tricky thing--consciously choosing.  It's so easy to go with the flow--to follow the negative, but to be truly happy, we have to consciously choose those things that will make us happy.  It requires work, but there is a reward for that work.

Pride is competitive in nature.  Not like in sports or games (I'm pretty sure that's not what he's saying here), but it's when we pit our will against God’s-- “my will and not thine be done.”  This is when we "allow our own desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled."  It's when we go with the flow and follow everyone else.  If you're doing what everyone else is doing, most likely, you're not doing what's right.  This is where we exercise our right to choose for ourselves.

Alma 38:12: Use aboldness, but not overbearance; and also see that ye bbridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love; see that ye refrain from idleness.

3 Ne. 12:30: For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein ye will take up your across, than that ye should be cast into hell.

The natural man comes out when we don’t learn to control ourselves (scroll down to the yellow markings in the link). Even being unhappy with someone fits into this category.  We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of having bad feelings toward someone else.  Our job is to just love and love and keep on loving and serving even when and if we would normally tend be angry.  I've often heard things along these lines--If you want to love someone, serve him.  This is where we have to trust that God's got our back.  When we give in to the bad things, we open the door for satan and move away from God.

Here we are back to, "I'm a nice person...I'm a nice person...."  (see previous post).  Man!  I'm SO going to start using this as I start serving them, of course.  I'm figuring once I start serving, the good feelings'll take over; at least, that's how it usually works for me.

President Benson makes all of this sound so easy.  This is really HARD!  I don't control my emotions near enough.  It's a great goal, but this kind of stuff takes a lifetime (and longer) to master.  Where does one begin?

"The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives."

Hel. 12:6: Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath acreated them, should brule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at cnaught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide.

"They pit their perceptions of truth against God’s great knowledge, their abilities versus God’s priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works."

So, it sounds like we have to lean on Him in everything.  We need to seek Him out in the things we do.  Do what you feel is right in your heart even if it's hard to do because much of the time, the right way IS the hard thing to do. I think also attached to this is an element of seek to find His power in your life--the times when there is something, maybe even a small thing, that is out of the usual.  The times when tiny little miracles occur just for you--tender mercies.

Remember His mercy and goodness toward you.  Continually count your blessings and remember where they come from.  This one isn't so hard.  Just keep a gratitude journal if you have to.  I've seen fun blog things like a happiness list.   What a cute idea!  It's funny, when my kids are down, I know they either need to list the things they're grateful for or do something for someone else.  Actually, usually both.   The same holds true for me.

I love the lists in this talk.  Enmity toward God is also known as "rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended, and sign seekers. The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s."

Once I said I was "rebelling" against something kind of dumb.  Someone commented on how silly I was with saying I was a rebel in that thing, but the truth of the matter, I was serious.  I knew what I was supposed to do and needed to do, and I was consciously choosing not to do it.  We human beings are funny.  I have, over and over, done the right thing.  I know from those experiences what makes me happy, yet I choose not to do those things.  Why is that?

That's Good! That's Bad! (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Owlet Book) So, we need to seek to have a soft heart and a loose neck, and choose not to be offended (yes, it IS a choice). We also need to be grateful for everything we receive whether it's perceived it to be good or bad.  It all turns out good in the end if you’re trying to do good. Be flexible and trust.  It totally reminds me of this book.

The other portion of pride is enmity toward our fellowmen.  It's elevating ourselves above others and diminishing them.  I have to admit, I'm so guilty of this one.  Heck!  I'm guilty of all of these, but this is a particularly hard one to figure out.  I'm thinking it must be a frame of mind thing.  I just need to make myself think differently.

D&C 58:41:  "And also he hath need to repent, for I, the Lord, am not well pleased with him, for he seeketh to excel, and he is not sufficiently meek before me."

Finally, one I don't have a problem with.  Some people have natural abilities to excel.  Umm.  Nope.  Nothing worth writing home about here, but just in case I ever run across something that I excel at, here's what I've decided.  If you start to feel this way, it’s time to find some kind of service outlet. Better yet, do it all the time. Don’t even let this feeling start. Choose to be humble (same deal with the link). Don’t seek to excel for the purpose of making yourself “all that.”  Make sure your motive is to improve what God has given you and to do His work—to further His purposes.

I'm learning about this from reading David Archuleta's biography, believe it or not.  His dad got him to go on stage for the very first time by doing two things:  1) Reminding him that his gift is from God and it was given to him to give away to make others happy, and 2) Praying for strength to do it.

So, there you go.  Hope this is better than an outline.  Even if this isn't helping anyone else, it sure is helping me.  What I've gathered so far, is to "forget yourself, and go to work (for someone else's benefit)."  That's it in a nutshell.  What a great opportunity a mother has for this everyday.


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