Monday, March 19, 2012

Living In the World, Not Of the World

Brett and I were at a place, and I felt this feeling.  A feeling that said "You shouldn't be here. You should leave."  I couldn't place why I was having this feeling.  And I didn't know how to tell Brett.  He was having a good time, and so was I, you know, despite that strong feeling.

And so finally we left.  And the feeling left.  But I was still troubled.  I compared my time at this place to another time when I was with a good friend for several hours, talking about good, uplifting things.  We laughed and joked, she made me tear up with her testimony and strong faith, and it was wonderful.  I felt good there.  I felt happy.  It was a very different feeling compared to the dark, unnatural feeling I was having at the other place.

Finally, on our drive home, I told Brett about it.  I realized so many things when I shared this with my Eternal companion.  At first, he asked me why I thought I had this feeling.  I don't know.  But the more we talked about it, the song, "Nephi's Courage" kept coming to my mind.  I thought about the words, "Laman and Lemuel were both afraid to try. Nephi was courageous, and this was his reply, 'I will go I will do, the things the Lord commands...'"

I was not being courageous where I was.  I felt like my friends knew my morals, my beliefs, my standards, I didn't need to reiterate them constantly.  But those same morals and standards were being attacked, and I should have stood up for them.  I should have been courageous.  I shouldn't have been afraid to offend.  I was so ashamed that I didn't listen to the Spirits continual promptings, and then warnings, to first stand up for our morals, and then to leave.

In Young Womens, I often heard stories of "I had this feeling to leave the party, and so I left."  Well, I had had those feelings, too.  And I always listened.  Now that I'm older, perhaps I thought I knew better.  I thought, I can be in the world and not of the world.  And while this is true, it doesn't stand to reason that the Spirit would warn me to leave.

Nothing dangerous happened.  The place didn't blow up.  Brett and I got home safely.  But as I was at this place, I was becoming more apart of the world, rather than just being in it.

I share this because I thought about all the times I've read about others experiences and how comforting it was to know I wasn't alone.  And because comments from friends with similar experiences always help me know that I'm not alone.  We read President Monsons talk, "Dare to Stand Alone", given at last conference on our trip home.  I realized that I wasn't alone at this place.  Not only did I have Brett, I had the Spirit.  A friend that I feel I didn't deserve at the time, but was still there to warn me and guide me, none the less.

Come Monday morning, I am bombarded with opportunities to stand up and take upon me the name of Christ.  It's still difficult, even after this lesson I was blessed with.  I still have a hard time telling people, "This is why I feel this is right," or "This is why I feel this is wrong."  I want to shrink back into a safe, protective bubble where the failing morals of the world can't affect me.  But then I'm reminded forcibly of my sweet and still somewhat innocent children.  And how I am, and need to be, an example for them.

I always tell people, "It doesn't matter where your children go, as long as they are prepared," and I feel that holds true for us, too.

What do you do when your morals and standards are questioned?

(PS This is a good talk about this subject. "Being In The World, But Not Of The World" by Quentin L. Cook of the 12)


April said...

Funny you should bring this up. 2 weekends ago I was invited by my sister-in-law, who's less active, to have a girls night at her house and watch a rated R movie. My family is a good, active family, but watching R rated movies just isn't a huge deal to them so I've never been really strict about it with myself. But my husband's family is more letter-of-the-law than mine, and they NEVER watch R movies. Since I've gotten married I've stopped watching them mostly out of respect for my husband's feelings. So when my sis-in-law invited me, my husband said, "Well it's your decision, but I don't think you should watch it." I decided to go because I didn't want to make my sis-in-law (or my mom or other sis-in-law, who were also going) feel alienated or offended, like I thought I was too good or too righteous for their party. And I actually thought the movie was hilarious. (It was Bridesmaids.) I am still in debate with myself over what was the best thing to do... We are always hoping and praying for my brother and sister-in-law to come back to church, and we try to be good friends and examples to them, and sometimes I wonder what is the spirit of the law, you know? Like if my sis-in-law comes over for a girls night and wants to bring beer, do I tell her no out of the letter of the law because we don't want that in our home, or do I go with what I think is the spirit of the law and let her bring what she chooses without judging because it's her agency and she should be loved and accepted regardless of whether or not I agree with her choice on that... I don't know, but I guess I'm a little more lenient and go with what I think is the spirit of the law. I don't know how other people would make those decisions.

genderist said...

Beautifully written.

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