Happy New Year!! Haha I suppose it is exciting to "begin" things anew, but I don't know...something about time stipulating when I set new goals and decide to make improvements in my life is not something I am a huge fan of. Why not decide in the moment I see need for an improvement to do something about it? I love what
Elder Richard G. Scott said a few years ago at conference, "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day."
So, basically, I just think it's silliness to make goals for the new year by virtue of it being a new year.
Also, "time only is measured unto man," (Alma 40:8) anyways, so why follow the stipulation of men? Yech. That all being said, I do have new goals for myself :) Haha but not because of the new year time stipulation itself, just because I've been doing a lot of reflecting on where I am now versus where I was a year ago/where I was when I was the one being training and not doing the training. Upon reflection I saw LOTS of room for improvement which at first was really rather discouraging, because I really am trying, hard!
I was especially feeling overwhelmed yesterday at church after Relief Society. Our Relief Society president handed everyone a piece of paper to write down what they accomplished last year. Her intentions were that we reflect on what we've done and redouble our efforts to keep going and live life without regrets based off of Elder Utchdorf's recent conference talk, "Of Regrets and Resolutions." However, in that moment I could only think of all the things that I hadn't accomplished and wanted to change, but there were so many! I tried really hard to be positive, but it was weighing me down.
As we biked home from church I put on a happy face and pretended like nothing was bothering me, I smiled and greeted people on my path, but I still felt immensely discouraged. The people I spoke with, however, never caught on to how miserable I was feeling. In response to my seemingly happy face and exuberant greetings, they smiled and waved back. How interesting! They couldn't even tell I was sad! Then I got to thinking about if any of them were feeling discouraged or sad but pretending everything with them was ok too. I decided that just in case that was in fact true, I better do more than smile and say hello, I better get off my bike and talk with them, bring some cheer to their lives. Plus, I have learned that the best counter to discouragement is diligence, so it would bring me up too. Well, in principle anyways. Turns out the guy I jumped off my bike to talk with was very much not interested in what I had to say, so much so that he began shouting and rudely gesturing towards me. Well, that was the tipping point. After he stormed away, I remounted my bike, and with tears in my eyes continued on home. Luckily, I have an amazing companion who was able to talk things out with me and help me summon the courage to keep going.
SInce then I have done some scripture and conference talk study and patriarchal blessing reading to figure out what it is I can do to feel good about what I have done and not focus on what I haven't, but still learn from it all so I can do better. I think I may be overcomplicating things, but it is a very difficult and precarious balance to find. Good thing I have a whole lifetime to figure it out, but I don't want to procrastinate it, I want to make the changes necessary now, when I recognize them. The problem is there are so many changes to make! Bah! What frustrating!
Luckily I am surrounded by good examples.
This last week we had sister exchanges and I got to go to Gouda for a day and serve with Sister Gallegos. She is awesome! From her I learned how to more effectively contact people on the street by sharing a sincere and humble testimony. Each time she talked with people, whether they were interested or not, they listened to her because they could see and feel how important it was to her. What an amazing opportunity for the Spirit to enter their hearts!
My companion, Zuster Raun, is also really awesome. From her this week I have learned the importance of listening to the promptings of the Spirit, applying charity, and allowing yourself to shine through. She told me that being a missionary was like being in a large orchestra or band. If you aren't a trumpet, don't try to play the part of the trumpet, be the tube, flute, violin, piano, or whatever it is you are. I really liked that. A lot. Also, it's exactly what I needed to hear to shake off some of my discouragement.
Mom, I think what you told me about your decision to live a healthier lifestyle/take care of yourself and what you've done to make it happen is so cool! You're right, we do do a lot of things in our lives out of habit so that it becomes rote, even if it is a good thing. Without conscientiousness, there is no way for us to improve ourselves, to progess.
I am super grateful for the help our Savior provides us in our efforts to improve. As seen in my experience from yesterday, it is discouraging to try to do it on our own. But, by applying the saving grace of Christ's Atonement in our lives, we can, "become the person we were designed to become," and through continual reliance on Him I know that "Heavenly Father will reveal to us things we never knew about ourselves. He will illuminate the path ahead and open our eyes to our unknown and perhaps unimagined talents," (President Utchdorf, "Of Regrets and Resolutions" October 2012 General Conference).
So, with that said, I am going to go out and tell some more of His kids about their divine worth and potential. And no worries, I have been reminded of my own:)
I love you all and truly wish you an amazingly happy new year. Mary, email me. I NEED to know what you want. Also, clean your room. Nicky too. KJ, don't get too crazy with the dating, but please, keep me informed :) I am really relieved/happy to hear you all indeed received the Christmas package I sent :) Haha but I must say I'm disappointed in your reactions to the "licorice" that stuff is delish! It's good to hear that the rest of your holiday was nice though. I am glad to hear that Daddy got to visit Grandad for a bit. If Grandad does end up moving to Ogden that'll be nice for when I get back to BYU, I think it's just a few hours drive. Please let Grandma know that I got her package! Haha I read the whole book in one sitting and it was the most enchanting/engaging/charming history ever! I I could picture it all as she described it and wanted to be there with her. Now, I'm hungry for the rest of her life's story, so tell her I'm staying tuned in for part two! Also, I think it was hililarious how in her fifteen year old autobiography she mentioned the name of her prom date and not the name of her boyfriend (who I am assuming was Grandpa). Haha little did she know at the time the nameless car man would be her hubby :) Cute. I am still waiting for the rest of my Christmas mail, but I have been told it is here in the Netherlands, I just haven't been given any of it yet. Hopefully this Wednesday I'll receive it all...fingers crossed anyways.
OK, I really am going now. Love you!!
Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff