After going through my church discipline, I’ve learned the process is more of a spiritual medical treatment when we’ve injured ourselves from making poor choices. Here are 10 things I learned in growing towards my full-fellowship:
"The next time you feel unhappy, remember where you came from and where you are going. Rather than focus on things that dampen your thoughts with sorrow, choose to focus on those things that fill your soul with hope. You will realize that these things are always connected to serving God and our fellowmen."
I use to appear painfully awkward when throwing a football. I threw like a drunken monkey with no sense of direction or strength. My stomach would churn when someone would say, “hey Josh, throw that ball over here.” It’s one thing for me to safely portray my masculinity as an Idaho farm boy. But not knowing how to throw a football seemed almost unmanly.
I did it. I said hello to over 750 strangers in 30 days! This idea came as I was studying the life of Jesus Christ and his ability to show kindness everywhere He went. I thought, if Christ were alive today, what would His interactions look like at the gym, work, Home Depot, Trax, work cafeteria, or even a parking lot?
In my Sunday School lesson yesterday, I presented the idea that we have our circle & bubble backwards. I feel, most times, we walk into a room with a large bubble space. A bubble that seems to always reach far past the physical boundaries of any walls. And when we're in that room with our large bubble, we won't let anyone get close. We think there's too much risk of rejection. And rejection hurts.
I know all of us face loneliness at certain times in our lives. I used to think loneliness was for the friendless or the emotionally unhealthy ones. That is grossly not true. Even the Savior Himself felt loneliness in the Garden of Gethsemane as He says to Peter, "What, could ye not watch with me one hour?" Matt 26:40
This happens far too often both in dating and even friendships. I'll pursue a girl, who is pursuing another guy, who is in fact also pursuing a different girl. And most likely, that girls is pursuing another guy. And the endless pursuing of the pursuing leaves all parties unhappy, rejected, and feeling like crap. Sadly, that's a nature of dating and not much can be changed until two individuals are lucky enough to be pursuing each other.
After being reinstated in the LDS church from a year of church discipline, I honestly felt like one of those individuals in Lehi’s dream who had grabbed hold of the iron rod and with tenacity pressed forward to the tree of life. Gaining my full fellowship back was one of the sweetest rewards of pressing forward and in essence, partaking of the fruit of the tree of life.
I used to think that my morning or evening prayers was all the communication I needed with God. Frankly, I've ALWAYS been too tired to give ANYONE my attention in the morning. And I'm ALWAYS too tired to give ANYONE my attention when I'm getting ready for bed. My prayers REALLY struggled with the sun coming and going and God most often got the short end of the stick.
Then it all hit me like a ton of bricks. The Spirit was warning me of another truck. Another truck I couldn't see. But I ignored the 2 promptings and instead used the logic from my eyesight. With the mammoth size of the planter and tractor, I didn't feel a thing when the corner of the planter caught the front right side of Javier's white truck.
I honestly believe the 2 hardest things to bear are sin and not feeling loved. And when one is present, we most surely will see the other there. It's a vicious cycle. The beginning to break such a cycle is to build a FIRM relationship with God. For me, it hasn't been easy and it's taken time. Months, not days or even weeks. Months!
A few months ago in stake conference, my Stake President, President Featherstone said, “I promise everyone here today, that if you go and place your hands on the walls of the temple, you will feel God’s love for you.” What a great promise to exercise my faith in I thought. A few weeks later, I drove myself to the Salt Lake Temple to place my hands on the walls of the temple.