The other night I picked up my cup of water from earlier. As I was drinking deeply, I glanced over at my husband who was staring at the cup.
“Would you rather not know about the bug in your cup?”
In case you can’t really tell in the picture, this is what was swimming in my cup:
Meet the Box Elder Bug.
Since we moved here, I think I might have come across 2.5 billion of these. They are everywhere. Seriously—everywhere. After hearing stories of children in the area who are scared of these harmless bugs, I was pleasantly surprised one evening when I walked into my boys room and they were throwing these bugs at each other as a game. #boys
In my moment of disgust (bug-tainted water!!) I could choose to let this ruin my evening or I could laugh about it. The image of my children making a game out of the ridiculous number of these bugs flashed across my mind. I also thought about this quote from Elder Wirthlin:
…have you had an encounter with an overhanging cupboard door left open at the wrong place and the wrong time which has been cursed, condemned, and avenged by a sore-headed victim?
There is an antidote for times such as these: learn to laugh.
In this kind of moment it is not easy to laugh. Our wounded self naturally turns to blame, anger, self-pity, and revenge (am I only only one who has broken an inanimate object after it dared to inflict pain on me!?) Sometimes when a string of little things go wrong, I shake my fist towards the sky and join Tevye in wondering, “Why must my horse go lame? What do you have against him?”
Except, in my case, “Why did my elbow have to hit the end of the stirring spoon in the pot on the stove causing it to go sailing across the room and cover my kitchen- cabinets, newly mopped floor AND the ceiling- in boiling RED tomato sauce!?” #happenedtoday
I think God gives us little moments of frustration to practice for the big moments of frustration.
Bigger things happen that hurt our souls. Maybe we found out unkind things that someone said about us. Maybe we watch a loved one do the opposite of what they’ve been taught their whole life. Sometimes situations come up that feel so terribly unfair it takes your breath away. Learning to laugh in the little moments will help us be able continue on strong– rather than being shaken off our path– when the hard things come.
Why is this?
How we learn to adjust to the changes which come along depends on the foundation on which we build.
Building on Christ’s foundation is a beautiful way of saying “keep God’s perspective and act accordingly.” In the view of eternity, is drinking water with a bug swimming in it that big of a deal? and, in the view of eternity, what will the things we shed our tears over look like…? To believe this takes real hope that God’s promises are true.
I don’t mean to diminish the hard things in life….but I do believe that learning to laugh and smile and live on even in the midst of the hardest kinds of things is a God-like quality.
Here is a s’more for study =)
S: (Prayer/Ask) How can keeping an eternal perspective keep us grounded?
- In this last General Relief Society meeting, Elder Uchtdorf said:
I think God knows something we don’t—things that are beyond our capacity to comprehend! Our Father in Heaven is an eternal being whose experience, wisdom, and intelligence are infinitely greater than ours.4 Not only that, but He is also eternally loving, compassionate, and focused on one blessed goal: to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life.5
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
- Read the account of the widow of Zarephath, Think about how an Eternal Perspective was necessary for her to follow Elijah’s request. Think also how an Eternal Perspective might have been even more important for Elijah to have to even make God’s request of the widow.
Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
12 And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
I am certain we left our Father with an overwhelming desire to return to Him, that we might gain the exaltation He planned for us and which we ourselves so much wanted. Although we are left to find and follow that path which will lead us back to our Father in Heaven, He did not send us here without direction and guidance. Rather, He has given us the tools we need, and He will assist us as we seek His help and strive to do all in our power to endure to the end and gain eternal life.
To help guide us we have the words of God and of His Son found in our holy scriptures. We have the counsel and teachings of God’s prophets. Of paramount importance, we have been provided with a perfect example to follow—even the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—and we have been instructed to follow that example. Said the Savior Himself: “Come, follow me.” “The works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do.” He posed the question, “What manner of men ought ye to be?” And then He answered, “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” “He marked the path and led the way.”
As we look to Jesus as our Exemplar and as we follow in His footsteps, we can return safely to our Heavenly Father to live with Him forever.
- Of course keeping God’s perspective on things sounds like a great idea. What makes it hard to actually keep a heaven perspective the whole long day?
- Think of someone you know that seems to keep a heaven perspective on things. What is it about them that gives you this feeling?
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: How can keeping an eternal perspective keep us grounded?) Also consider writing down the following:
- Many prophets have given their counsel in the hopes that their people would look past the sophistries of the day. Think of one of these prophets, look up one of his sermons and write down a few points he makes to elevate the perspectives of his people.
- Make a list of three things you wish you could always have at the forefront of your mind to keep perspective when a hard moment comes. For example, your list could include your favorite scripture, a special experience when you felt the assurance of the spirit, or the name of a person who always inspires you to be better.
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: re-write your list of three things (see above, second point in the write section) to a place where you can see it- perhaps on your fridge, a post-it on your computer screen, or a note on your smart phone. For a whole day, read through your list every hour. Did you notice a difference in your day? Write about it!
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