Have you ever been on the Spiral of Downward Thoughts?
Usually it happens on days when a little someone woke you up on four different occasions during the night, another one woke you up 45 minutes before you had to wake up and then you forgot it was your child’s dress-up-like-their-favorite-story-book-character day at school. Sometimes it kicks in when you have a baby in one arm and no matter where you go in the house, you see 10 things that need to be picked up and returned to their proper location. And sometimes it happens when you forgot to add salt to the week’s bread dough-but you didn’t notice it until you are done baking the bread.
From any one of the above situations–or a from the one you are thinking about in your life- comes a negative little thought, marching into your brain. Then all of a sudden, the ants of negative thoughts are marching in by 6, 7 and 8…then one more thing happens and you declare (out loud or in your head!) “one more thing and I’m going to blow up!”
As a child, I remember my mom saying this particular line out loud to the 7 or 8 of us in the car with her. “If I hear one more thing, I am going to BLOW UP!” And from the back of the car, my younger sister’s little, but courageous- voice,
We all burst out laughing, and it says volumes about my mother that she laughed along with us.(i love my mom!)
A few weeks ago in a similar moment, I felt frustrations mounting against my sanity. Dinner was going to be later, which pushes back Family Home Evening, which pushes back bedtime, which makes for grumpy kids…(please note the Spiral of Downward Thoughts) I was rushing to finish adding toppings and cheese to our pizza while directing the boys to wash their hands for dinner, while listening to my 3 year old’s story, while trying to entertain the baby and I started wondering why this pizza doesn’t look like it usually does.
I added everything to the top…but forgot the sauce. Grrrrrr!!!
Everyone stopped what they were doing with the sound of my frustration. “I forgot the sauce,” I moaned. “What kind of mom forgets the SAUCE on a PIZZA!!??”I
Elijah, my 7 year old, quickly jumped in and said “Only the best kind of mom!”
Aww… His kind words were just what I needed to hear. He loves me, even when I forget the sauce on the pizza. And for some reason, on that night, his words of confidence in his forgetful mother stopped my Spiral of Downward Thoughts in their tracks.
To whom can you give a vote of confidence? A husband? A child? A teenager? A bishop? A teacher?
Humans seem prone to pretend like everything is just fine when, in fact, many mothers wonder if they are raising their children the best way, many bishops wonder if they are meeting anyone’s needs, many teachers wonder if their lessons are meaningful, many children wonder if they are good enough, many friends wonder if they are needed, and many siblings wonder if they mean anything to each other. A vote of confidence from you can give enough assurance for a person to make it through the rest of the day.
A modern example is facebook ‘likes.’ We click around each other’s pages giving (or withholding) our votes of confidence. Human nature yearns for acceptance from peers. The people who can look outside themselves to ‘like’ another’s efforts spin a web of confidence, uplifting those around them.
If the Savior were among us, would He share His likes? Would He give His vote of confidence? In following the footsteps of the Master, we can also
lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; (Hebrews 12:12)
Enjoy today’s study!
S: (Prayer/Ask) Help me understand this aspect of Charity: giving confidence through kind words.
- Read these beautiful verses from Isaiah.
8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
As I have sought guidance during my service, I have found comfort in remembering that the Savior focuses on the individual and the family. His love and tender attention to the individual have taught me that He recognizes the great worth of each of Heavenly Father’s children and that it is essential for us to ensure that each individual is ministered to and strengthened by the gospel of Jesus Christ….
…To every son or daughter of God, knowing that people are interested in and watching out for his or her welfare is essential….
…I testify to you that Heavenly Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ, know us individually and personally. For that reason, They provide what we need so we will have the opportunity to reach our divine potential. Along the road, They place people who will help us. Then, as we become instruments in Their hands, we are able to serve and help those They show to us by revelation.
In this way, the Lord Jesus Christ will reach all of Heavenly Father’s children. The Good Shepherd will gather all His sheep. He will do so one by one as they make good use of their moral agency—after hearing the voice of His servants and receiving their ministrations. Then they will recognize His voice, and they will follow Him….
…We have the special opportunity to be instruments in His hands. We can be so in our marriages, in our families, with our friends, and with our fellowmen. That is our personal ministry as true disciples of Jesus Christ.
- How might the following scripture that you know well be applied to giving confidence to another?
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22:36-39)
- Read these familiar words from the hymn, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go.”
Perhaps today there are loving wordsWhich Jesus would have me speak;There may be now in the paths of sinSome wand’rer whom I should seek.O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide,Tho dark and rugged the way,My voice shall echo the message sweet:I’ll say what you want me to say.
- Think of some people in your life who have given you a vote of confidence. Why do you think they took the time to express their confidence in you?
- Satan likes to take the beautiful things that God has given us and turn it around. What are some ways that Satan tempts us to misuse the ability we have to instil confidence in others?
- Why is it hard sometimes to give confidence to another person?
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: Help me understand this aspect of Charity: giving confidence through kind words.)
- Think of a person who gave you confidence to make it through a difficult time. Write down the experience. Pay attention to the details of how it happened.
- Think about a time when you said something to someone that you did not think was a big deal but later they told you it was just what they needed to hear. Write down this experience. Look back at these two examples that you have recorded. What patterns of the Lord’s hand do you see?
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: Throughout the day, pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so you can give the words of confidence that the Savior would have you give.
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