3.27.2015

a letter to meg johnson... in which i bear my soul

Meg,

My name is Kira, and I'm a student at Utah State (go Aggies!). I was fortunate enough to hear you speak this morning! I wanted to stay and talk to you but there was a crowd around you and I had to head to my next class, but I wanted to make sure that I contacted you anyway.

          This morning was rough. I had a hard time waking up so I pressed snooze and got as much out of that snooze as I could before forcing myself to roll out of bed. Once I got out of bed I realized that I was super sore from a workout I did yesterday, and I felt sick on top of that. I rushed out the door with very little food and was late to class. When I did get there, I had a hard time focusing. I had a presentation in my second class that I had to print something out for and it took a really long time, which stressed me out. I did well on my presentation but I got some intense constructive criticism from my professor and just felt... Heavy.

          By this time it was 11:35 and I was late to Religion in Life. I had a moment of "is it even worth going if I'm going to walk in late? I'll probably miss some of what the speaker says, too," but after some deliberation I decided that I really needed to go and get the pick me up that Religion in Life always seems to give to me.

          I biked as fast as I could, and on the way I thought about how worthless and small I've been feeling lately. I returned from my mission in September, and it's been a little bit rough finding the balance between pre-mission me and mission me to figure out who post-mission me really is... Satan keeps getting into my head and telling me that I'm no one's first choice, and that I don't have anything unique or even valuable to bring to the people who I am studying to work with (I'm a music therapy student). I get down on myself about not being diligent enough in my scripture study and prayers. About not sharing the gospel freely enough. I keep comparing myself to others and seeing how great they are at all the things I'm not so great at. I see all my friends getting engaged and married and having kids and graduating and moving on with life. And it hurts. Making time for a productive scripture study is much harder now than it was on my mission. School is hard. Being single is hard. Sharing the gospel without a name tag is hard.

via
         With all these thoughts racing through my head, I walked into the institute building just in time to hear the second half of the musical number. I found a seat next to a friend and pulled my notebook out, half-heartedly trying to prepare myself to be uplifted, but just feeling... Weak. Then you came up to the microphone and through you, the Spirit told me exactly what I needed to hear - That even if no one would choose me first... I am a daughter of a LOVING Heavenly Father, and the spirit sister of a LOVING Savior, and they love me FOREVER. That's not going to change, no matter how many people in my life come and go. If I allow Them to pilot my life by keeping Their commandments, they will take me to a place where I will be happier than I ever even dreamed of, and that makes everything along the way - turbulence and all - worth it.

         That was a really long story, but to sum it all up - thank you. I can honestly say that my life was changed today. Thank you for speaking with the Spirit. Thank you for being willing and excited to share your story. THANK YOU. It means the world to this semi-lost RM - just consider this message a long distance hug of thanks!

          Very sincerely,

                          Kira




AUTHOR'S NOTE/DISCLAIMER:
A few things have been changed from my original email to Meg, as there are still things I would not like to share with everyone. Please know that this is not a cry for help. This is me being real on my blog, and sharing how I've been feeling lately. It's pretty illogical because my life is really great. :) I'm doing okay, I promise. :) I'm even happy! It's just been a little rough lately.

If you take anything from this, just take that YOU are also a child of God, and He loves you unfathomable amounts, and that's really what matters most. He'll guide you if you let Him.

For more about the incredible, life-changing Meg Johnson, check out her blog right here.

2.04.2015

be here now

I can't even count the number of times that I have started a post and stopped because I forgot or ran out of time or something in the last few weeks... I guess that a lot of that is because the things that have been on my mind lately are pretty personal.

I'm a little bit all over the place recently - School is hard, but it's awesome. Friends are fantastic. Dating is... Dating. I've been struggling to have good, effective scripture study, and that really frustrates me.

Honestly, I feel like sometimes I am failing as a returned missionary. There's so much that I learned out in the mission field that I should be so much better at applying. And while a lot of that comes from Satan (see my last post on that here), there's definitely also truth in there.

In institute on Monday we started talking about how we are accountable for our time. I am extremely guilty of wasting time. I spend hours on social media sites and my cell phone. I put off studying my scriptures, studying for my classes, spending time with the people I love... It's really dumb. Especially because I know better. Preach My Gospel (essentially the missionary handbook, you can find it online here) encourages missionaries to use their time wisely. In fact, the apostles and church leaders who wrote Preach My Gospel considered it so important that they wrote an entire chapter on it (chapter 8!). So... I spent 18 months learning more about that, and trying my best to be better at using my time.

I am decidedly against making resolutions solely for that it's a new year, but I think it's about time that I do make some goals for this year. These goals are things I've thought long and hard about, not just things I thought up because oh look, it's 2015 and I should jump on the resolution bandwagon. I find that those things don't generally end up getting done. However I think it's super important to make heartfelt, serious goals! Goals help us to progress. Elder M. Russell Ballard once said:
“I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.”
One of the many useful things I learned on my mission is that an unwritten goal is just a wish. So... I'm going to write my goals down. I won't write them all on here, but I would like to share one.

With this goal comes a story. About a month after coming home from my mission, I started attending my local Young Single Adult (YSA) ward (church unit) in Bountiful. The first week I was there a young man spoke (we don't have clergy that give sermons in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - members of the congregation take turns giving "talks") who was leaving on his mission that coming Wednesday. He encouraged us all to remember to live in the moment, and shared a story of his choir teacher at Westminster who always told his students to leave their other commitments and worries outside of his room, and to "be here now."




Those words penetrated my mind then, and continue to regularly do so again and again. They pop up in my head often - generally when I'm not focused on where I am or what I'm doing - and I am brought back to the present. Not past experiences or future plans, but here and now. I think that it's so important to reflect on experience, and it's definitely also important to make plans, but it's just as important to live and enjoy what's happening right NOW. I'm making a goal to do just that. To be thankful for the present. So if nothing else... I will strive to do that this year!

1.13.2015

self-deprecation

So.... I had a hard day. I'm going to write about it.

I jokingly told a few of my friends recently that I'm an realist in the morning and a romantic at night. It's true. While I generally wake up confident and ready to take on life, I'm usually also relatively cynical after that alarm goes off. It's interesting, because I think it takes its toll on my mood. I get dramatic and sentimental at night. And... Emotional, honestly. Can't say I fully understand the whole ordeal, but there's someone who uses it against me, and that is Satan.

Today, after getting dressed, I looked in the mirror. And the tiny little Satan-voice in the back of my head said,
"Hm. Those jeans don't fit as well as they could."
"That shirt seems more snug than it used to."  
"My hair looks awful." 
"Ooh, look at that nice new zit!"

As the day went on, I started doing something destructive. I started comparing.
"Wow, I wish I had her complexion."
"Ugh, her outfit is so much better than mine."
"If I just had her figure..."
And I started to think that others were judging and comparing me. I read into everything I was saying and doing.
"He probably thinks I'm annoying."
"Wow, good going Kira, I'm sure she wants to be friends now..."
"Why did I even do that?"

And then, after about 6:00 pm, the Satan-voice pointed out every happy couple and said,
"Look at them. Don't you want that? You'll probably never get it."
And eventually he didn't even need to point out couples.
"You'll probably just be alone forever."




In retrospect, these things are all ridiculous. Right? It's said that hindsight is 20-20. And you know, if I'd truly thought about those little biting thoughts a little harder, I would have undoubtedly seen how ludicrous they were. But I let them get to me. And it hurt. And I wish I could say that this was just today but it happens often, at least to an extent.

Now, because I have an incredible best friend who gives fabulous advice and Youtube recommendations, I was directed to this video:


I watched it, I cried a little, I called the above-mentioned friend and thanked him. Then I said a prayer, and thanked my Heavenly Father for all the the things He has given to me. For the opportunities that I have. For my talents. For my family and friends and school and most especially for His Son, Jesus Christ. My Friend.

I know I'm not the only one with self-deprecating and belittling problems. In fact I'm positive the most people suffer from the same sort of issue. And I just want to tell you people... Remember your worth. You have a loving Heavenly Father. He weeps with you. He laughs with you. He sent His Only Begotten Son to suffer for your sins and punishments and hardship and pain and illness so that you would always have someone to turn to.
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. 
 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
13 Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me. (Alma 7:11-13) 
He is there. He knows our infirmities, and how to help us through them. And He will, if we turn to Him. I am so grateful for that... I don't know what I'd do without that knowledge.


11.24.2014

problem solving

Well, my dilemma of what to do with my blogs is now resolved. My mission blog, enlisted, is going to become a "Returned Missionary recovery" blog. Laugh all you want, there's a lot to recover from when you get home! Actually it's more like... There's a lot to adapt to. You have to figure out how to use your mission-acquired knowledge in regular, day-to-day life. And use time wisely! Such things. It's a real struggle sometimes.

Anyhow, I have all these ideas whizzing around in my head and I'm really excited to get my dear friend Chelsea Elting involved in all of it. It's going to be great!


11.21.2014

hi, old friend

Well, with all the commotion of being home and figuring out how to live the RM (returned missionary) life... It took me a while to make it back here.

I've posted a couple of things over here, but the honest-to-goodness truth is that I don't really know what to post on what blog. I should probably just combine the two but it's hard. 

I guess it's hard for the same reason that being home is hard - life before the mission and life during the mission are two completely different things... But I love them both. And I don't know how to combine them without... Hurting their feelings. Haha. Obviously there are no real feelings to be hurt. But I guess it's almost like I'm afraid of offending my pre-mission self and my mission self. I want to be true to both of them. BUT I'M DIFFERENT! I can't be either of those people anymore.

So... There's the dilemma, then. Do I combine the two? Or do I keep two blogs and talk about all the different aspects of my life in different places?




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