Just when I thought I had gone through all the lessons that could be learned, and shared because of my experiences with cancer and my ‘Journey to Wholeness’....I have, and am experiencing one more learning curve.....there seems to be so many!
Now that I am beginning to feel better, and thinking that I am ready to go on with my life, I am realizing, even more, that the life I had before cancer is not the life I can go back to, I am now searching for my ‘new normal’.
While going through the unknown of cancer, the pain and fatigue, I chose to use the opportunity to expand myself spiritually. My desire being that I wanted my experience to become more than concern for my life, the pain, and the fatigue. I wanted to remember my experience with no regrets, no burdens of being a victim, and no ongoing feelings of ‘why me’. I wanted to know in my heart that I had learned and had become someone new....someone stronger....someone who knew the Lord on a more personal level.
Today, as I sat thinking, I remembered a simple analogy about a rubber band that my husband shared with me a while ago.
As you know, rubber bands are a common office object or tool that takes up space in your desk drawer. They are basically useless, unless they are needed to be stretched or extended beyond their normal size or state to hold something together. Whether large or small, a rubber band can only be stretched for so long.....then it needs to go back to it’s original position. We’ve all noticed that when it if freed to go back to it’s original state, it is not the same as it was before it became extended....because, once stretched, it can never go back to what it was before.
I feel I have been stretched.
We may not be aware of it, but at some point in our lives, we all experience a Hero’s Journey. A journey where we are required to stretch, grow, and experience new things...even very hard things.
THE WARRIOR WITHIN
When the time is right, we are called upon to go on an adventure or challenge where we become a warrior; someone that is required to defend or fight for that which is desired or prized. It could start out as a physical battle but it quickly becomes an inner battle with our self. The battle teases back and forth for a while then becomes more intense as we put all our efforts into the fight, even to death if necessary, for we are fighting for a life we are choosing or the prize we most desire in the end. Finally, after many intimidating experiences and a schooling in more effective ways to defeat the threat, we become the Victor and the Villain goes off into the night until the next opportunity to confront your desires anew.
Because of the arduous battle and the difficult things learned and experienced, the warrior returns home... CHANGED! Bringing home the prize that was fought so valiantly for....inner-peace, happiness, and fulfillment.
Upon returning home, the now Victor, finds that everything is different, it seems that he is coming home to a different world. We set out seeking something desirable, something we have wanted for a long time, but the funny thing is.....is that we aren’t ready for what comes next.
A DIFFERENT YOU
In this life, every ‘next level’ of your life will demand a different you. Adjustments need to be made to fit this new way of life, a new purpose and mission will need to be embraced.
I hadn’t realized that I was choosing a ‘next level’ when I chose to handle my Cancer challenges with a more spiritual, positive outlook. Unknowingly, we are always one decision from a totally different life. With one decision, I moved away from my regular duties in real life, to go on a Hero’s Journey. I knew the process of the journey, but didn’t actually realize what was happening until I tried to come back to the life I knew before.
Every time something changes in life, we panic. We feel like we are loosing grasp on everything we have worked so hard for. Fear and concern make it hard to feel the Spirit guiding our steps and we begin to doubt our faith.
DON’T PANIC, THERE’S NO NEED TO FEAR
The day after I was told that I had cancer I was feeling overwhelmed and scared. I opened my phone and this message was on the screen. “Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I am not letting go.” (Isaiah 41:10,13)
Imagine the overwhelming comfort that this message brought me at the precise moment I needed to hear God’s loving and caring words as well as feel His comforting strength. I appreciate that He is still here guiding me and helping me to find my way as I embrace life.....my new life!
Just know that God is calling you, equipping you and preparing you, according to his purpose. We all know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are open to all that He has in store for them.
Now, CHANGED and a little apprehensive but excited about what my new life might require of me, I take a deep breath and look out into the unknown, the wilderness of life, and seek to embrace my new path.
And suddenly you just know...It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. ~ Mester Eckhart
Life is always difficult, but decisions and change need to happen for us to move forward and to become what we have been sent here to become.
We are always one decision away from a totally different life....embrace it and know that God is in charge. He has a plan and He will direct us all along the way.
IT’S JUST A PIECE OF PAPER
This last week I spent an inspiring afternoon with my sister Anita. She shares a love for painting and has the ability to create on canvas/paper as I do. While together, we went through her portfolio of bright and cheerful art renderings. I found myself getting jealous, because she has a way of creating art that makes it an enjoyable experience for her and her audience.
We talked about the bi-weekly classes that she teaches. She told me that it’s important for her to try to relieve her students stress about messing up, by letting them know that, “...it’s just a piece of paper, if you make a mistake you can throw it away or turn it over and start all over again.”
I realized that I have never been that carefree and easy about any piece of art work that I’ve ever produced. The importance on “perfection” in my mind, has made my efforts to create, hard and even daunting at times. It’s always seemed like an ominous task for me to take on.
Where I feel I have the Lord’s hand guiding mine, and joy does come in the end, I feel pressure and anxiety in the process, and that there is no room for making mistakes.
I have been inspired by my sister’s work and feel there is a lesson here for me, and maybe some of you, to grab on to.
PERFECTION VS. GRACE
I feel that we are all holding ourselves to a standard of perfection that is not necessary to feel fulfillment, or to feel joy and happiness. A standard that we have set for ourselves....for, it was not set in Heaven or anywhere else.
Perfection - Perfection is a state, variously, of completeness, flawlessness, or supreme excellence. (Wikipedia)
Grace - The enabling power or divine help from God that allows us to obtain blessings in this life. (See Guide to the Scriptures)
When we simplify the demands we place on ourselves and allow God to be more fully integrated into our efforts, what we do will become easier, less stressful, more enjoyable, and a perfect work of art in the end.
This message now is inscribed on my mirror, “May Grace, the enabling power of God, abide in me forever.”
IT IS OK TO GO OUT OF THE LINES
In my most recent Blogs, I have been talking about LIFE.....that we were sent here to this earth to learn, grow and experience joy.....but, somewhere along the way some of us have acquired the idea that while we are learning and growing, we can’t make mistakes! We don’t appreciate that a big part of Gods’ Plan of Salvation, or Happiness, is that mistakes and opposition are necessary for our learning and growth. We don’t realize that it is OK to go out of the lines, to dribble paint or lay down an ugly color, even drop the brush so that paint splashes everywhere! It’s all OK and is necessary for our earthly experience.
We are to become ‘perfect’ but not through ‘perfectionism’!
My need for perfectionism in my paintings takes the joy out of painting. Just as we think we can’t make mistakes or go out of the lines, takes the joy out of life by creating anxiety, stress and many other complications.
Seems like we ask the Lord to help us, to be with us, to guide or inspire us, but then we don’t allow that to happen because we don’t give Him time or space to do what He needs to do.
“BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.”
I had an experience, a couple weeks ago that opened my eyes to perfection and how we don’t allow Heavenly Father to help us the way He knows to help us best. I was asked by a neighbor to help her with a situation that was creating a lot of stress and anxiety for her. I was happy to help and went over to her home to see what I could do.
She explained the situation and told me what she needed. Feeling confident in what I was asked to do, I stepped forward with tool in hand to help her. She straightaway took the tool out of my hand, saying it needed to be done a certain way. I proceeded to do it that way when she again, took the tool and tried to do it herself but couldn’t get the right angle. Frustrated, I tried again when she promptly took over and left me standing there wondering why she had called me in the first place if she was just going to do it herself.
It was a couple days later when I was thinking back on the situation, wondering how I could have been more helpful, when I realized the irony of the circumstance. When I paint or I’m trying to do something I feel is important, I ask my Father in Heaven to help me, then immediately I take control.....exerting my own effort, to make it perfect. Fears and doubts then take over and leave me feeling very stressed and anxious.
Like my neighbor, I cause more stress and anxiety, because I’m not allowing the One that can help to even come close to give the help or the blessings that I was seeking in the first place!
If we believe that our Heavenly Father is truly there to bless our lives, then we need to stand back and.... “Be still and know that I am God....”. Psalms 46:10
It’s sad but we make life much harder than it needs to be! We create fear and anxieties when we don’t allow Him in our lives to help us....with everything!
“Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” D&C 6:36
Faith is when we love the Lord with all our hearts and trust in Him to help us all along the way...even if the path is different than we thought it would be or should be. Faith in the Lord brings the miracles we desire in our lives. Believe that He can give us an enabling power or divine help so we can obtain the blessings we need.
I have been taught a very important concept that can bless me in how I can live my life so it can be stress free...I can go out of the lines, be more open and carefree in my efforts and then painting can be a more enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
Praying that all of us can simplify the demands we place on ourselves and allow God to be more fully integrated into our efforts. Have faith, in our Father who loves us, that what we do through Him, will become a perfect work of art in the end.
Hoping we will hold this message in our hearts so we can be comforted, blessed and perfected through Him......“May Grace, the enabling power of God, abide in me forever.”
Is there anyone out there that can relate to being a perfectionist vs. using the Grace that we are given to bless our lives?
Any thoughts or encouragements as to how one gives up their control of the universe?
Titled - Just BE U TIFUL
This piece of artwork was painted after we made a trip to the canyon after a good rainstorm. Water was running across the road and hundreds of butterflies were hanging out as if on the beach enjoying the waterfront. It was beautiful! I hadn’t seen so many butterflies in one spot before.....I thought it looked like a ‘perfect’ painting.
Notice the small butterfly that is different or seems out of place. He may seem small and not as vibrant as those around him but that small and simple butterfly holds it’s own beauty......he is beautiful and magnificent just being who he is!
By Divine Design, we have been given a higher purpose, to live a life with purpose and destiny! This moment and each moment after that is given for us to experience the life we planned in the Heavens as we counseled with our Heavenly Father.
Enjoy This Moment...This Moment Is Your Life!!!
As you may know, I am on a new adventure and it is bringing up new thoughts and concepts. It is taking me places that I haven’t allowed myself to venture before....it is a whole new journey and a more engaging way to see this life. I have found a higher purpose, for my life, that opens a way to a more meaningful relationship with my Creator.....my Father in Heaven.
From the first time I heard the concept that I was a Child of my Father and Mother in Heaven, and that with that lineage came a promise of an inheritance of Eternal Life, I have felt loved and wanted to do all they wanted me to do to be worthy of that inheritance.
I also held on to the idea that He has prepared ‘many mansions’ for us.....I took it literally.
D&C 98:18, “Let not your hearts be troubled; for in my Father’s house are many mansions, and I have prepared a place for you; and where my Father and I am, there ye shall be also.”
I have looked forward to that day and have tried to live worthy of it. I know in my heart, that because of their love for us, their desires are for us to come and live with them....to be with them again after we have proven ourselves in this life.
Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
This command to be ‘perfect’ even as He is, has never been a burden or seemed like it was too much to do or expect of me. I either have an unyielding faith in my Father, or I really do live in a fantasy world....as I have been accused of several times. :)
I know that this seems like a hard or an insurmountable task for many and I do not want to minimize how overwhelming it can seem. But, I also know that we tend to make life harder than we need to because of our tendency to magnify things in our minds.
But, really........wouldn’t you like give up your fears and over commitments to find and follow a more meaningful, higher purpose for your life? Don’t you want to be someone who has been given.... a reason to live, to learn, to discover and to be free.....and yes, to find the peace and joy we are seeking?
We can live the life we were intended to have from the very beginning, by living each moment with intention. You do not just find a happy life....you create it by embracing each moment and making it a moment worthy of your higher purpose, your divine design!
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
I heard a Christian song a couple weeks ago, titled “Live With Abandon” by the Newsboys.
The words “I wanna live with abandon...” have continued to stay with me. I knew in my heart that, that is what I wanted for my life from this point forward because it’s a life with a higher calling, a life that really counts, because we are turning our fears and desires over to Christ....we are giving Him our hearts.
The song helped me understand that there is so much more to life than what I have lived in the past.
A Higher Purpose
As a Child of God, we have been given a life with a divine design.....a divine purpose.....to become as He is.
Psalm 82:6 “Ye are God’s and all of you are children of the most High.” All men are children of God and thus all can become like Him....as He is.
There is a parable that Elder Dallin H. Oaks shared with us in the October 2000 General Conference. I think it helps us to better see the desires our Father has for us.
It goes like this: “A wealthy father knew that if he were to bestow his wealth upon a child who had not yet developed the needed wisdom and stature, the inheritance would probably be wasted. The father said to his child: “All that I have I desire to give you - not only my wealth, but also my position and standing among men. That which I have I can easily give you, but that which I am you must obtain for yourself. You will qualify for your inheritance by learning what I have learned and by living as I have lived. I will give you the laws and principles by which I have acquired my wisdom and stature. Follow my example mastering as I have mastered, and you will become as I am, and all that I have will be yours.”
Like this parable, we have been promised ALL that our Heavenly Father....God has. “All that I have I desire to give you.” When I think about these words, I am truly humbled, and reminded again, of the love that He has for me and of His desire for me to become like Him so I can inherit, or have, all that He has. I love that I am His child and that He has given me everything I need so I can do what is required so that I can have and become ALL that He has and is.
His Plan Of Happiness For Us
Can you imagine coming to this life without a plan? It sounds like chaos and living lives without the blessings we need and desire. Lives lived without purpose or direction. Nothing to live for or strive for. No peace nor joy....just chaos and frustration!
In 2 Nephi 2:25 we read, “...and men are, that they might have joy.”
His design is for us is to experience His quality of joy and thus fulfill the measure of our existence. Fathers’ plan....the Plan of Salvation is truly a plan of joy and happiness. His plan for us to become as He is, gives us purpose and direction so that through our experiences we will qualify for our inheritance because we will learn what He has learned and we will live as He lived! I find that exciting!!
The Plan of Salvation or God’s Plan of Happiness makes it possible for ALL people to be exalted and live forever with our Heavenly Parents. God knew we would struggle to stay on course and make good choices all the time....that too is part of the plan!
Because He wants us to experience joy and inherit all that He has, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to this earth to show us how to live to receive all those blessings. And....He gave us the most precious gift of all, the Atonement....the only way for us to be redeemed from the effects of our sins and become reconciled to God.
C.S. Lewis made this remark, “For God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo. Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity would have been, more glorious than any unfallen race now is....and this super-added glory will, with true vicariousness, exalt all creatures.”
Blessed with the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can gain access to unlimited possibilities and powers and potential. It makes it possible for us to follow His example and master as He has mastered... and we will become as He is, and have all that He has.
Carefree In The Care Of God
There is another Christian song by Jason Gray titled ‘Sparrows’. I heard it several years ago and was touched by the message. It’s message tells us that life is difficult and we spend a lot of wasted time worrying about life and what is going to happen to us. We can’t change a thing! We just need to know that when we feel alone....we are not on our own, God is taking care of us.
It’s a beautiful song with a beautiful message that God loves us and wants us to live fully and find happiness in the choices we make and the mistakes we overcome. His intent is to always take care of us, just as the flowers and birds are carefree in the care of God, we too can trust Him for our care.
“Look at the sparrow....for even the sparrow knows that God holds tomorrow.” Jason Gray
The purpose of this glorious life is not simply to endure it, but to soar, stumble and flourish as you learn to fall in love with existence....knowing we are always in His care. We were born to live not to merely exist.
Because our Heavenly Father....our Creator loved us without exception, He created a way for us to gain our inheritance by giving us everything we need.
Your Divine Destiny
Although we don’t know all that was decided in the Heavens, we do know that we are here to chose righteously and to stand strong each moment for the things that we know in our hearts to be true. Because of His love for us, He not only provided the perfect plan, but He is watching over us and caring for us so we can fulfilled our higher purpose and return to be with Him and claim our mansions and enjoy Eternal Life.
Title: Look At The Sparrow
The purpose of this glorious life is to become free of all that keeps us tethered. We need to “Look At The Sparrow” and live as he does, free from care and concern. We are always in His care...we were born to live a higher purpose...to fly, not to merely exist.
We can live the life we were intended to have from the very beginning, by living each moment with intention. Embrace each moment and make it a moment worthy of your higher purpose, your divine design!
I feel that we all learn and grow from hearing and sharing thoughts and feelings from one another. I am not the specialist on this topic or any other topic I have shared, but I hope that I have given you something to think about. You too, can help us all gain better insights and move closer to our higher purpose by adding your inspirations or experience that you have gone through.
Maybe these questions will help with getting several comments or even a discussion going.
Wouldn’t you like to find and follow a more meaningful, higher purpose for your life? Why?
What have you experienced that has allowed you to ‘live with abandon’ and give up fears and desires for a more meaningful way of life?
Lots of Love and Gratitude,
Hi I'm Jeannie Puzey,