19 April 2010

Survival Does Not Equal Enduring Well...

...but sometimes surviving is all you can do. I know because I've spent the last few months surviving--and even surviving didn't seem possible! Trying to survive or endure a trial (or series of trials) can be done using basic human instinct: we are programmed with a "fight or flight" survival mechanism and the ability to accomplish either task (fighting through a trial or fighting someone or something to survive; or fleeing a dangerous situation that our basic human brain has determined is life-threatening).

Anyone can survive if he or she wants to. The problem is that surviving means empowering the natural man or woman within us and embracing the Darwinistic approach to life--one that is, by nature, a selfish one. Survival of the fittest leaves no room for serving or helping; other people are viewed as either potential threats (e.g. "He could hurt me if I let him get too close") or liabilities ("I can't take time to listen to her problems; I've got to do this or that to survive").

And nowhere in the self-preserving, self-absorbed "survival mode" can one fit in the Savior because reaching out for His help requires faith, trust in Him and not in one's own abilities (Darwin would *definitely* not approve!), and believing in outcomes without empirical evidence to guarantee one will be "safe" from difficult times.

In fact, seeking and relying upon the Savior is the antithesis of being in "survival mode" and superficially appears to be impossible to do when one is drowning in the turbulent tide of trials. Yet, opening our hearts to the Savior, reaching out to Him, depending upon and trusting Him, allowing Him to help us...all of these things are precisely what we need to do. We can endure on our own (or what we erroneously believe is our own), but all we will have to show from the experience are battle scars and bitterness. However, if we yield ourselves to the Lord and allow His Atonement to be efficacious in us, then we can not only endure but we can endure well: we will not be saved from harrowing experiences, but we will be saved from the bitterness of hell (fear); we will not be exempt from heartache and loss, but we will expect blessings and growth even if it is "after the fact"; and we will not expedite the trial's resolution, but we will be resolute in waiting for the Lord to fulfill His promise in His time and in His way.

I know from too many experiences, particularly of late, that securing an emotional tourniquet around my heart does not heal the wound, it only cause my heart to go numb. And when I cannot feel anything in my heart, I am not only numbing the pain but I am preventing the healing and comfort of the Holy Spirit from entering my heart also--and without the Spirit to speak peace to my heart, I am left alone, numb, and without any hope or ability to fix what's wrong. Unfortunately for me, this numbing, survival mode is my default; I can switch into autopilot survival without even noticing that I've done it.

I am grateful that Heavenly Father is mindful of me and my capacity. Though I can and am very disparaging on myself for not enduring well, I know that He understands me and my limitations in life. He teaches me what His expectation is (enduring well), but He accepts whatever I have to offer and then mercifully heals my heart as much as I will allow Him to; then He brings me to a place where I can feel safe again. He is pleased with whatever I can offer, no matter how meager that offering is. He accepts it and He accepts me as I am right this moment in my weakness. Though I am weak, He enables me to be strong. He is easily pleased with any progress I make, but He is never satisfied--and He won't be satisfied until He enables me to qualify for and receive all of the blessings He has to offer.

That is love. That is a perfect Parent. That is who our Heavenly Father is.

No comments:

Post a Comment