I am being refined without choice, by choice.

To dig straight into it this last month or so have probably been the hardest this entire year. I haven’t had anything to write about because I’ve been busy in my mind and unable to articulate it. I’ve tried to make sense of it and I’m coming to an understanding that it’s all really boiled down to discouragement more than anything. I’ve had the most challenging and rewarding year of my life thus far. I’ve become closer to the person I’d like to be than I have ever been and for the first time I know I am not regressing. Everything is working, I am doing the right things. I am doing what I need to do and I am being what I want to be. But apathy has kicked in. Things I’ve loved have become mundane or routine-like and I’m trying to differentiate between the life I had two months ago to the life I have now.

First up I’m in the final however many weeks until I leave to serve a mission. There is nothing I want to do with my time more than this. There is nothing that brings me greater joy than to see the light shine through a person’s eyes when they understand the joys of living a Christ-centered life as I have discovered myself. This is true. Nothing makes my soul happier. I have witnessed this for myself, first hand, and I have witnessed this in the eyes of others, first hand. I remember the specific day I went to the mirror of my apartment and saw myself properly. I looked into my eyes for the first real time. I looked so different. And I liked who I saw. I have seen the change in people’s eyes when they are no longer in darkness. It is a real thing and it is the most beautiful thing you will ever see on Earth.

Being called to the land of my heritage makes me feel a deep sense of responsibility. More than anything. I just want to learn everything and know everything and be everything I can be because this means something to me. It means something to my family. It means something to God. I literally have been given every tool I need to succeed as far as being an effective missionary goes. It’s not a competition obviously, but I expect so much more of myself than others. I’ve been given more than others. So I find myself giving myself tasks and objectives and lists and must-do’s, all achievable might I add, but it becomes like a heightened sense of failure if I don’t tick every box. I find people often saying, “Well don’t be too hard on yourself,” or “Relax a little.” In all honesty, and with my appreciation and the knowledge these people have good intentions, I disagree. Only because I know how relaxed and consciously lacking in usefulness I have been for a number of years. I guess it’s almost like I’m trying to make up for the person I was.

I’m coming to terms with how much I can give myself before I leave and how much I can handle -but still stay sane, enlightened, and still let myself feel that deep sense of responsibility but also know my purpose. I want to be converted, every day. I want to come closer every day. I guess I tend to write when I’ve reached some kind of tangible conclusion or know I am in the process of coming to it. That’s really it.

As members of our faith there are two General Conference sessions held each year in which messages from the Prophet, Apostles and leaders direct us by means of revelation as to how our faith can be strengthened and how to better live a Christ-centered life. A few things really stood out to me that helped my current mindset in which I’ll lightly address. (I can’t give specific references because I’m terrible at location or names of speakers -just working off memory alone)

The first thing that really stood out to me is to ‘get an education to bless the lives of others’. I never understood the need or the appeal in tertiary education- anything sufficiently serious, that is, until now. In this last year, I have dedicated my time to the study of the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ and can honestly say I have learnt far more than I have ever been able to learn in my life. I never knew what study was until now (and even now, I probably don’t know what it is.) Prior, since I finished high school I have studied nothing but the arts from almost every angle, media/ performance based. Obviously there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t expect to go anywhere as an actor without being qualified or marketable or talented. I can’t say art or performance are not serious. The most serious times I’ve had in my life have been in front of a camera or in the audition room or studying a person’s mannerisms or purpose or relating my life to theirs or just feeling in general. That’s really what it is, honestly. Acting is the study of living. Artistic minds are, and cannot be without, intelligence. So in order to bless the lives of others I need to somehow incorporate a higher level of education after my mission. I still want to write, I want to write things that are real and not on some little dainty blog site either. I want what my mind has to offer to mean something, and to change something. The possibilities make me really excited (now that I know how to study, ha). The sky’s no limit.

It’s been written in scripture that ‘faith without works is dead being alone.’ Which I wholeheartedly agree with. Anything quotable makes it easier to remember, so when the phrase was switched in one of the talks it actually made me think a lot as to why I’ve been feeling this way lately. It was said, works without faith is dead. It seems so simplistic but it really affected me. I’ve been doing all these works mundanely, routinely, ramming all this knowledge into my brain but forgetting the beauty or reason as to why having this knowledge is good or why it should make me feel good. It’s like I’ve been applying my faith without having barely any. My energy had been so focused on tasks that the beauty I’d found in having faith in good things coming to pass had almost been forgotten. Made me realize, again, as I always do- temperance. I’m going to be working on temperance for the rest of my life and throughout the eternities. Moderation, prudence, temperance.

And the final thing I remember (which I just thought was really sweet) was the idea that ‘You don’t marry perfection, you marry potential.’ As life goes and each person we meet or perhaps have only platonic friendships with- to remember we are not forming relationships with perfect people but we are forming relationships with work-in-progresses. The way to be prepared for a lasting friendship and relationship (in whatever form) is most genuinely living a life based wholly on the teachings of Jesus Christ. For myself, the most attractive quality I can see in a person is the desire to serve Him. And nothing will bring you greater happiness than doing so, I promise you this.

In conclusion to these probably less specific and direct thoughts than usual is the following I wrote in bed (probably at 4am) a few nights ago. I want to write and narrate a screenplay but mainly my brain’s all kookey when I’m half asleep. Keep yourself alive and keep on keeping on -how long can rolling waters remain impure x

“I don’t think I’ve ever just straight up seen two dimensional beauty. I feel like there’s some form of criteria that needs to be met in the split second before I decide something is beautiful. Beauty as I understand it has everything to do with intelligence, something left to the imagination, something pure. Anything denoting the existence of Deity. Everything with a soul. When you let your eyes see what you desire to feel everything manifests beauty. Everything matters. Beauty is without reservation. Existence is glory.”

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Moment of truth

With the multiple connections I tend to have on various forms of social media, I receive (a magnificent amount of) love in the form of comments and discussion throughout the posts I create and leave open to the public. I am so grateful we have the technology today to be able with connect with humans who resemble our lifestyles and thoughts and who are seeking truths as we are, and they have the ability to reach out in ways in which they could not have only some 30 odd years ago- in all parts of the world. However, on the odd occasion, a person I do not know nor would have met may write on something I post with an impolite comment or response to my actions or my faith.

The following I know: I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We are also known as ‘Mormons’. The best way to truly know what we believe is to ask an active member of our faith. I cannot condense all my thoughts and feelings and knowledge in a one post-wonder in the attempt to have you understand what I know. It would not do this knowledge justice. Truly, meet with us. Human interaction is the most viable form of human communication and it is deeming to be obsolete in these years. Don’t let it be! However, I will express the following:

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. When I began to live my life according to His principles and teachings as pertaining to the fullness of His gospel- and nothing less- I genuinely experienced improvements in every portion of my life. I cannot express the aforementioned any more plainly. It became as clear as daylight the way I needed to continue to live as soon as I started living it. The more focus I place on making my decisions based on the gospel of Jesus Christ, the outcomes have been truly miraculous.

Every day is a genuine miracle to me. I have struggled for years and sometimes decades with weaknesses and adversaries I never- I repeat, never- have been able to overcome or change until now- when I decided to actively apply gospel principles in all aspects of my life. This to me created a very clear depiction in my understanding of the foreknowledge, intelligence and love of God. If you read that He loves us- He actually does. If you read that he knows all- He actually does! A God who directs me to do something, and when I do that thing- I am happy? He knows how it works. He knows how humans work. He knows us individually and collectively. When people tell me of how unhappy they are and they then adopt the concept that God is not loving- perhaps they misread Him. Perhaps they are blaming one who they do not listen to. If they were to submit their lives to His direction- they would be happy. It is really a ‘listen to your parents’ concept to yield to. Your parents love you, and when they ask you to do something- it is not because they do not want to do it themselves. It is because they have an increasing desire for you to learn. It is because they know the immense benefit, understanding, confidence and self-sufficiency earnt through learning said thing. They know and have learnt for themselves the happiness that could be earnt through learning that could be achieved in doing what they have asked of you. With their knowledge of the possibility of your happiness- they direct you to do certain things. If somebody wants you to be happy I would only assume it’s because they love you! Divide that concept and apply it to God and realise He actually loves you.

If you understand the above concept, you begin to recognize the freedom that comes from having far greater understanding in life. You comprehend the importance of having those enriching experiences that you would not have had had you not listened to your parents. You understand you have been asked to do these things in your life- not to prove to them that you are in favour of them, even though that is a worthy motive- but for them to demonstrate to you that they are in favour of you. They are in favour of your happiness. My parents made me learn piano as a child. Initially I had asked to, but then, as soon as I understood the work involved in maintaining the skills required to pass examinations, I no longer desired to continue. I couldn’t stand exams, they made me feel incredibly nervous and the outcomes of the exams rarely portrayed how I felt as a pianist of my level at the time. However, I continued to press on. I continued to work hard, and get nervous, and get terrible exam results, and get sad or frustrated with the system or my lack of ability. I did something I did not wish to do for many, many years. Now, as a result- I can play piano! I really feel like it’s a skill that is necessary to be obtained in one’s life. A staple instrument, a profound talent, a genuine necessity that I find comes in handy on a regular basis. Not just the initial skills acquired but the understanding learnt. I can read music. I haven’t any idea how I can but I just do. I sing and play both hands on the piano at the same time while reading music and listening to people next to me. I haven’t any idea how I can but that’s just the skill I have acquired as a result of what I perceived as many years of hardship. Music is a universal language- how many nations speak exactly the same language? No two. Music speaks the same in every country. What a blessing my parents gave me to learn this instrument! I would not take a second back of those seemingly hard times. In fact, I’m at this point where I ask my parents why I wasn’t forced to do more things. I’ve said things like, “Well I’m going to force my kids to learn piano, I’m going to force my kids to learn other languages, I’m going to force my kids to be fit- because I know had I done these things as a child I’d be far more advantaged now, as an adult!” Their response is always much like, “Emma, there are things we tried to have you do- but you would refuse.” You can direct people to do things to a degree, but in the end the person themselves need to actively do what they have been asked. We personally are given the ultimate choice as to whether or not we wish to listen to one with far more knowledge than we. So as my parents, in doing this thing, they were not interested in anything but their desire for me to be happy. This was not for them, it was for me. God does not give directions to you for Himself, He does it for you.

When you live your life centred on Christ, you are genuinely far happier than you would have been otherwise. I am not perfect, and I am not Him. I would like, however, to the best of my ability attempt to be as close to Him as possible or be the best representative of a follower of Him as possible. I am learning every day, and I try to do so every day. He is the first thing and the last thing on my mind. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I believe in a loving, intelligent, objective, just and understanding God. These qualities we comprehend in other human beings can in fact be found in our creator. These qualities are inherently from Him. He should make sense. If God is not these things to you, you do not understand Him. If God doesn’t make sense to you, seek understanding.

The way I live my life and the reason I follow this particular faith is really simply put: it makes me happier than I have ever known. I care about the truth and I care about what makes sense. The truth sets one free- and I am genuinely free! There is nothing I am willing to do more than to defend this knowledge for the rest of my life because I know these things are true. Have thoughts illustrating questions of your soul you wish to know? Feel free to speak with the missionaries:

https://www.mormon.org/missionaries

I promise, if you listen and ask, with a true desire to know what you must do in your life in order to be happy- you will most genuinely receive your answers. True happiness is so obtainable and I’m in no position to restrict anyone from achieving it. It is my delight and my goal for all people to know the things I know and be as truly happy as I really am. I find happiness every day, even in the midst of turmoil or amid conflict in my life’s adversaries or afflictions. I am happy, my soul is at peace, I am free, and I genuinely desire for any and all people to know they can feel this way too.

Mission Call

I received the following two weeks ago:

“Dear Sister Wilson:
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Sweden Stockholm Mission. It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months.
You should report to the Provo Missionary Training Centre on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Swedish language.”

I know at this time in my life this is where I am meant to be going and this is what I am meant to be doing! There is nothing more prominent and sure to me than the existence of our Saviour and the active pursuit of bettering one’s self through His teachings every day. When I came to this realisation, I have genuinely found improvement in every area of my life, each day- and consistently find peace even in the midst of turmoil, each day. Because this brings me greater joy than anything I have ever known- there is nothing I would love to do more than immerse myself in this calling and share this message of happiness with the people of Sweden and all else who are seeking peace and understanding.

To meet with missionaries in your area feel free to visit http://www.mormon.org/missionaries

Sentiment vs. Clutter

I’m fairly certain deleting things is one of my favourite things to do. As is throwing things away.

I feel like I’ll eventually have one of those completely empty houses with an incredibly simple design with everything in perfect order and no marks anywhere. I probably will never do white because I still can’t touch things without getting it dirty.

This post really serves no purpose apart from the acknowledgement that I haven’t written in a while and am in a very deletey mood. Deleting photos, deleting numbers, deleting social media aspects, throwing away multiple bags of clothes and items I’ve never used or cared about and mainly just stuff in general. I like to delete. I like not owning things.

At this point I understand the line drawn between sentiment and clutter. Now, instead of thinking, ‘So and so gave this to me, I need to keep it,’ I can think, ‘I’ve never used this and never will, so and so wouldn’t even remember giving it to me- throw it away.’ Same goes for clothes. I would keep things because they are nice but I’ve never touched it. Or it was given to me for a job I did back in the day. Or it was expensive once. Throw it away. Somebody take it. But take it fast or I’ll get rid of it. I don’t care how it goes just see that it does. The more material possessions I own the more weight I seem to carry. The more I rid myself of stuff in general my freedom seems to heighten. I didn’t want my LCD 60 inch tv- I don’t watch tv. Take it. Why do I have random light bulbs and batteries and endless blutack? Take it. I have no clue why I’d own more than one handbag? They’re just sitting there as a collection never to be used. Leave. And SHOES, I really have never had an interest in shoes. I’m not a shoe kind of person. If it came down to needs we could definitely condense it down to 3 or 4 pairs dependent on the earth in which I’d tread. I have never worn high heels, I don’t think there’s a possibility I ever would, but I seem to have a number of pairs. Get rid of them. I could sift through the details of my apartment, the things I plan on getting rid of, the things I have thrown away, my next movements etc. but I think you get the point. I don’t want it. I’m getting rid of it. None of my physical stuff is coming with me after this life.

I usually have a point to anything I write extensively on the internet. This one doesn’t have much depth other than just the above. With the physical stuff we have and aim to have or attain in this life just remember; if it’s not knowledge or a relationship it will not be buried with you. Money is just money and things in excess really don’t fill any void.

Today, and every day

I am so utterly blessed to be in the family I am in, in the country I am in, with the mind I have been given, with everything I stand in need of to be so abundantly bestowed upon me. I actually am in awe. Each day it’s more clear than the last. If I could begin to compare what I have with any in the world dare I say I feel like the most blessed person alive! It’s ridiculous that me, a person having done everything that I have done, a person with faults and flaws and a past could be given so much. I do not deserve it. The peace in my soul is matchless & I couldn’t know all that I know and feel all that I feel without having first made the decision to heed to the things I innately know are good for me.

Peace shouldn’t be a one time decade driven movement. It shouldn’t be solidly based on politics alone or collectively- peace is not a two finger sign, peace is not a trendy photograph. Peace shouldn’t be substance induced or acclaimed only under the influence of such. It needn’t be cultural or based on an aesthetic. It needn’t relate to a sense of fashion, combination of colours, trimming or placement of facial jewels. It need not be a war on those with differing moral obligations and it need not be attention sought after or endorsed by thespian talent. Peace should start in your soul then extend to your home- with your brother, with your parents, with your neighbour. The only peaceable solution to the earth lacking in peace is to renounce our disregard for loving what immediately stands before us.

Sure we can be opinionated and passionate and aesthetically conscious. But we needn’t confuse said objectives with a desire for peace.

We need to create peace within ourselves. Peace is individual and pertains to the soul. Not to the aesthetic or to the culture or to the viewer- but to the unseen within. These may only be words but if you felt what I feel (and I hope one day you will, too) you’d be sharing these things in the best way you’d know too. I only have words. They hardly do the feeling justice. Peace belongs to the individual soul.

A daily pursuit

I keep finding myself residing in a good place spiritually or educationally lately and then almost from nowhere I’ve been crept up on with unproductivity. I’m all good then one browse leads to an hour of browsing then extensively thinking about things that aren’t fruitful to my mind like aesthetics and how unimportant in the grand scheme of life they truly are. It’s interesting to watch myself within the bounds I have provided for myself in order to be as productive and subsequently happy as possible. Somehow my temporal state innately overrides my genuine desires to use my time effectively even when given so little choice in which to be ineffective. A daily feat I embark on! Yet, I am forever blessed. Imperfect and yet have an eternity of worthwhile abilities to discover & entertain. Enjoying the fruits of progression and self-evaluation x

Understanding Infinite Knowledge

In my efforts to understand things as they really are and in the obtaining of such knowledge (& as mentioned in a previous post): The thing I know of myself now more than ever is that my knowledge is so incredibly limited. For those who do not know me, I am currently preparing to be a full time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Amidst my preparations for said mission (and for life in general) I have been reading things to broaden my knowledge of not only gospel principles but to understand to the best of my ability the needs of others I will come into contact with and their level of prior knowledge. Additionally I attend meetings with current full time missionaries and the people they are currently teaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Proselyting also includes coming into contact with those rejecting knowledge of a Saviour and His teachings- which too, is normal on the mission and in life- and is obviously allowed. We personally approve of allowing all people to have the same privilege of worshipping their own understanding of God according to the dictates of their own consciences. We believe all people are allowed to select how they exercise their innate ability to choose.

For myself -as a citizen -and not as a person of my faith, one thing I have distinctly recognised amongst those who do not hold a belief in any form of Deity -is the appearing inability to understand their own lack of understanding (and yes, I’ve been there, we all choose arrogance- often ignorance, and we all fall short of understanding). A common denominator I’ve recognized in said people is a genuine belief that they hold a greater understanding than that of a Supreme Being having lived aeons of years prior to their existence. Things I commonly hear are phrases like “I’m such a deep thinker, there can’t be a God,” “If God is all powerful, why is there so much death of innocent lives?” “How could one create all the things around us? Sounds like magic. What about science?”

Two things need to be understood: We have been given the freedom to choose and God has infinite knowledge.

I’m not going to write in depth about our ability to choose. We have been placed on this earth as a trial of our faith and to use the ability of choice according to our desires- to progress. Bloodshed in the world is indeed not the choice of God, but of humans. He is all powerful and knowledgeable and as a result he knows the things that are going to come to pass. His knowledge is not the reason things come to pass.

Amongst my reading list is a book titled ‘Jesus the Christ’ by James E. Talmage. I read the following last night and it perfectly illustrated these thoughts I consistently have regarding the above.

“God’s Foreknowledge Not a Determining Cause.—“Respecting the foreknowledge of God, let it not be said that divine omniscience is of itself a determining cause whereby events are inevitably brought to pass. A mortal father, who knows the weaknesses and frailties of his son, may by reason of that knowledge sorrowfully predict the calamities and sufferings awaiting his wayward boy. He may foresee in that son’s future a forfeiture of blessings that could have been won, loss of position, self-respect, reputation and honor; even the dark shadows of a felon’s cell and the night of a drunkard’s grave may appear in the saddening visions of that fond father’s soul; yet, convinced by experience of the impossibility of bringing about that son’s reform, he foresees the dread developments of the future, and he finds but sorrow and anguish in his knowledge. Can it be said that the father’s foreknowledge is a cause of the son’s sinful life? The son, perchance, has reached his maturity; he is the master of his own destiny; a free agent unto himself. The father is powerless to control by force or to direct by arbitrary command; and, while he would gladly make any effort or sacrifice to save his son from the fate impending, he fears for what seems to be an awful certainty. But surely that thoughtful, prayerful, loving parent does not, because of his knowledge, contribute to the son’s waywardness. To reason otherwise would be to say that a neglectful father, who takes not the trouble to study the nature and character of his son, who shuts his eyes to sinful tendencies, and rests in careless indifference as to the probable future, will by his very heartlessness be benefiting his child, because his lack of forethought cannot operate as a contributory cause to dereliction.

“Our Heavenly Father has a full knowledge of the nature and disposition of each of His children, a knowledge gained by long observation and experience in the past eternity of our primeval childhood; a knowledge compared with which that gained by earthly parents through mortal experience with their children is infinitesimally small. By reason of that surpassing knowledge, God reads the future of child and children, of men individually and of men collectively as communities and nations; He knows what each will do under given conditions, and sees the end from the beginning. His foreknowledge is based on intelligence and reason. He foresees the future as a state which naturally and surely will be; not as one which must be because He has arbitrarily willed that it shall be.”—From the author’s Great Apostasy, pp. 19, 20.”

The above passage actually made me flip out as I was reading it on the train. I smiled and nodded profusely and may have even whispered a little ‘Yes!’ out loud. I am so incredibly at peace when another understands things and even has the ability to write the same agreed understandings of my heart on their paper.

Prior to my reading I was thinking about scientists. I was thinking about my inability to create or experiment with elements of the earth and how incredibly far we have come so far as science can tell. My knowledge of science is a seed, the knowledge of a scientist is a tree. Then I thought, scientists? They should be considered mini-scientists comparative to a Supreme Being. If a person detests the knowledge of Deity in His infinite understanding and ability to create -as a literal result of believing in science -how can one possibly believe in scientists? Surely a measured earth of 4.5 billion years old comprising of humans living to roughly 73 years has come thus far scientifically as a result of those two common factors alone: Time. Understanding time has been one of my weaknesses up until January this year (however, I still struggle). In the last six months I have actively learnt more than in my entire life as a result of exercising my time efficiently. I understand now more truth than I have ever understood. With this in mind, I consider the life of a scientist (or my limited understanding of a person dedicating themselves to the practice of a science) -copious study, time, energy & practice to understand elements of the earth & the humans in which it consists- often claiming to facilitate and better the lives on the earth in which we reside (and dependent on the denomination of science the planets in which we don’t reside). If God has lived for aeons of years prior to a scientist- surely he has done the same? Surely his knowledge of matter is far greater than that of a scientist? Miracles should not be considered as deviations from the ordinary course of nature so much as manifestations of divine or spiritual power. How limited is our perceived knowledge, how limited is our perceived spirituality- how limited is our power.

I’m going to leave the following thoughts: In your study, in your genuine seeking for divine guidance and knowledge- you will only receive a witness after exercising your faith. I abundantly have been blessed with repeated witnesses of these truths. I know without any doubt whatsoever that we do in very fact, have a loving Heavenly Father. He lives. He is existent. These things I know. This knowledge and active pursuit in attaining confirmation of this knowledge will change your entire life. This I promise you. I’m going to ask those reading this with these genuine desires to make one simple commitment. This week- kneel and pray, asking God the Father your desires to know of His existence and anything you wish to share with Him and close your prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. For any further direction pertaining to prayer and anything listed in the above, feel free to be in contact x