As I got ready for my day this morning I was listening to the Saturday morning session of this past General Conference. In it, President Uchtdorf said something that has had me pondering all day. He said, “You cannot just float in the waters of life and trust that the current will take you wherever you hope to be one day. Discipleship requires our willingness to swim upstream when needed.”
I have been swimming upstream lately and I can’t say that I have consistently done it willingly. Life is hard! Between homeschooling five kids and mine and Scott’s church service, it can feel like I’m drowning. At times I just want to quit kicking and sink to the bottom. The problem is that I know I can’t do that. That’s when Satan wins.
Yesterday was a rough day in the attitude department. My life is consumed by a bunch of tasks that are all hitting at once and when I put them all together it gets pretty overwhelming. I found myself going from frustrated to mad to stressed and back to frustrated. Sadly, at no point did I truly feel grateful. Why is that often the last emotion we feel when things get tough?
We have been commanded to give thanks in all things. I remember sitting in an institute class in college having a discussion about gratitude. My thoughts were very troubling as I sat with pain in my back from my degenerative disks thinking “how am I supposed to be grateful for this?”. It took me a long time to find any aspect of chronic pain to be grateful for, but slowly it happened. Since that time, I have tried to see the positive and be grateful for the challenges I face.
My favorite verse of scripture is found in the Book of Ether. As the Jaredites are preparing to board the barges and travel to the promised land the Lord tells them, “I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?”
The Lord didn’t just tell the brother of Jared what he should do to have light on the barges. He asked the brother of Jared what He should prepare for them. He asked the brother of Jared to swim upstream for a little while and because the brother of Jared had such exceeding faith he saw the finger of the Lord.
After pondering my needed attitude adjustment and my lack of gratitude and faith my prayers this morning had a little different tune then they had yesterday. Instead of telling my Heavenly Father how much I had on my plate and asking if my life would ever calm down or if my pain would ever ease up I expressed gratitude for my children, my husband, my calling, and for His trust in me that I can handle it all. This morning I told my Heavenly Father that with His help I can continue to swim upstream just a little bit longer.