Monday, December 2, 2013

directions to happiness

Several times this past month I attempted to post on here, but just haven't found the words to say. But this past month, my heart has been so full. Before I got my mission call, I had heard and witnessed many times how Satan really works at the Lord's servants and I didn't realize how real he is until I experienced it for myself. Never before have I really experienced and recognized the power of Satan so personally-- until I pursued the path of being a missionary. 

Obviously, trials are apart of this life. We are going to face them and we can either let them tear us down or build us up-- that part is up to us. Satan works in such a way that, through our trials, he convinces us to lose hope, to neglect our faith, and to ultimately, step away from the path that leads to happiness. Christ works in such a way that He shows us how our trials can strengthen us, better us, and teach us. An important part of this divine growth is hope. Without hope, we would never be actively driven to continue pressing forward with faith. Without hope, we would be giving into Satan and letting our trials tear us down. Hope is the first step, followed by faith. Like Elder Holland said "if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting happier days ahead." Not only are we encouraged to be strong and endure our trials well, but we are encouraged to have hope that there will be happiness along the path of difficulty. 

Satan persistently works at those who strive to be a vessel for Christ, but that knowledge doesn't make things easier. Things won't always become easier for us as we, children of God, strive to serve and be the best we can be. But, it is through such challenges that we discover our own divine strength and potential. Things don't usually get easier, we just become stronger-- at that is what makes this journey of life and righteousness so worthwhile, because we can actually do it. We just have to constantly remind ourselves that the Lord loves us and Satan does not and that when the going gets rough-- we are being given the opportunity to exercise our agency in faith and we are being refined in the process. Satan is miserable and, as my grandmother (and I'm sure some other ancient philosophers as well) always said, "misery likes company". We were made to find true happiness, not to be miserable.

Something I learned from a returned missionary in my ward is when she related to me moments on her mission of when she faced such difficult times and such trials and how she was so grateful for them because it was through those moments of hardship that she truly was able to learn what it really meant to pray and what it really meant to grow to know and rely on her Savior. I haven't been out in the field yet, but I know that our trials teach us things we may not be able to learn any other way. Trials are the best and worst things to happen to us; they're special because they seem like miserable experiences in the moment, but they can direct us down the road to happiness.

Never before has life been so crazy and hard, but never before have I recognized how so very blessed we really are and how blessed I really am.

Go out and make this week the best one you've had yet.
love, Courtney

Also, to read Elder Holland's awesome talk, click here