30 October 2013

Wonderful Wednesdays: Faith Dispels Fear and Doubt

There is much in this world that causes fear and anxiety. We are often faced with new and challenging situations in the course of life. We have choices to make every day. And when those choices have been made, it's easy for us to second-guess ourselves. Here is something to remember and consider when we begin to be overwhelmed with doubt and fear:
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
The Lord has promised us many times that if we had faith anything was possible . . .
"According to your faith be it unto you." Matthew 9:29
"If ye have faith and doubt not . . . if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done." Matthew 21:21
If we truly exercise our faith and do our part to further the work of God we are promised:
"The desire of the righteous shall be granted." Proverbs 10:24
Here are some of the things the bible dictionary says about faith:
"To have faith is to have confidence in something or someone . . . Faith is a principle of action and of power . . . Faith is kindled by hearing the testimony of those who have faith . . . A lack of faith leads one to despair, which comes because of iniquity . . . Faith is developed by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ . . . miracles can confirm faith."
One of my favorite general conference addresses ever, addressed this topic. I highly recommend you read the message in full, but here are some of the highlights of that address given by Elder Kevin W. Pearson:
"Faith as a principle of power comes from a consistent pattern of obedient behavior and attitudes . . . the 'eye of faith' is the ability to focus and be steadfast, continually holding fast to true principles, nothing wavering, even when the mist of darkness confronting us is exceedingly great. . . Faith and fear cannot coexist . . . it can be enticing to choose doubt and disbelief over faith . . ."
He also listed what he called the "Six Destructive D’s":

·         Doubt . . . it comes from a lack of confidence in one’s self or abilities
·         Discouragement . . . leads to lower expectations, decreased effort, weakened desire, and difficulty feeling and following the Spirit.
·         Distraction . . . lack of focus (or focusing on less-worthy goals)
·         Lack of diligence . . . reduced commitment to remain true and faithful
·         Disobedience . . . undermines the basis of faith
·         Disbelief . . . hard hearted, past feeling

Some of the poorest decisions I’ve made in my life were made while I was at college; some of the best things that have ever happened to me happened while I was at college as well. Life often happens that way. We get a mixed bag. I can tell you about a couple of times that illustrate my level of faith and where I was in the spectrum of D’s. When I went to college, my expectations of myself were lowered. It was a device I created to prevent disappointing myself. But I created a cycle. I doubted my best would be good enough, so I lowered my expectations and I can think of more than one time that I had difficulty feeling and following the Spirit. This led to poor choices and I focused on the wrong things. I repented when I did wrong, but I didn’t really raise my expectations of myself, so some things I had to learn twice.

I think I really started pulling out of the cycle after David (now my husband) returned home from his LDS mission. We started dating and I received the best dating advice I ever received: stay busy doing good things. I got it from my Dad. That’s good advice for life really; it’s a lot like what we’re told to do in the scriptures – to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause” D&C 58:27. Anyway, I was dating David and I observed that it seemed he’d never really doubted himself or his abilities. He’s been good for me in many ways, but this is probably the biggest area of my life that he’s helped me with; re-learning to believe in my abilities and to accept only my best from myself.

As Elder Uchtdorf stated in the most recent general conference, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." So go forth with faith in God and yourself, and you'll find yourself being a mighty tool in forwarding the Lord's plan. And there is no greater joy than that.

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