Friday, March 29, 2013

March ReACTion

Three months into 2013, and I think most people have completely forgotten their New Year's Resolutions: the reformers who vow every year to change but lose sight of their goal at the second or third hurdle they encounter; the naysayers who confirm the fact that most resolutions don't work by observing all the failures around them; the optimists, the pessimists, the atheists, the agnostics, the God-fearing.  I don't know what the statistics say about the successful completion of these resolutions, but I'm sure the numbers aren't positive. I can only speak for myself and my own experiences with setting goals and resolutions.

I've always been a goal setter--as long as I can remember.  The fear/knowledge/possibility of not attaining those goals has never prohibited me or intimidated me away from trying to improve myself.  Having said that, I would venture to say that I don't think I have ever kept a resolution foremost in my mind for an entire year.  Attribute it to my lack of attention span, my innate ability to self-implode, my human-ness, whatever.

This year has been different.

Maybe it has something to do with the talisman hanging around my neck most days. Maybe it has to do with the planets or climate change or  . . . maybe I finally picked a goal and a word and a direction that are exactly where I need to focus.

I've been pondering a lot over the last week about writing this post and what I would write.  I have little time to articulate exactly what I'm thinking and even less time to edit my prose, but it's important for me to get this posted today, before the month is over.

"The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react."--George Bernard Shaw

Admittedly, I struggled to focus my actions during February.  I saw myself slipping and losing sight of my goals.  March began not much better I'm afraid, but as the month progressed, I gained a few important insights into my character--my strengths and weaknesses.

I believe these words from Moroni with all my heart and soul:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.(Ether 12:27)

Over the last month, Moroni's statement has come to mean even more to me than it did before.  As an inherently prideful, independent, and generally capable person, I often suffer from the misconception that I can do almost everything on my own if I just put enough thought or effort into it, but in March I came to realize that I can only get so far on my own without relying on God to help me the rest of the way.  In fact, I can NEVER get where I want to be on my own.  Not only is that thought frightening, it is also quite liberating.  As much as I've been fighting with myself to conquer my reactions to my family or my ability to act with purpose instead of passively watching, I see that I truly can't change who I am by myself.  As much as I want to change and as much as I know that permanent change starts with my desire to change, if I don't swallow my pride and ask for His help, I will never end up where I want to be.  I will never see that miraculous change in me--where my weak things become strong.

My cousin Myke has recently posted a couple of well-written and thought-provoking entries on this same idea of permanent change and the miracle that accompanies it. I especially enjoyed watching Stephen Tobolowsky describe when he broke his neck horseback riding. It takes 20 minutes, but it is worth every second of your time.

With all that said--and looking at myself as objectively as possible--I can say that I feel the change that I've been craving.

I can say that I am different than I was three months ago.

Am I where I hope to be at the end of my life?  No.  Am I where I thought I'd be in ninety days into 2013?  Also no.  But that realization and that admission right there is the biggest lesson I learned from March 2013. I was disappointed and disgusted with myself until I began to truly understand that life is a journey--a marathon and not a sprint. Setbacks are natural and normal; change comes slowly and consistently through effort and prayer.

I'm headed in the right direction.  I may not be making the enormous strides I had envisioned in January, but my baby steps are making a difference, and I know that if I keep working and focusing on my end and praying and relying on God, He will help me from His end.

That is what Christ's Atonement means to me--steering and altering and changing my desires to be in line with His.

And that is the best gift I could ask for on Easter weekend.


  1. Thank you for continuing to write about your resolution -- these posts have been a great reminder of the change I have committed to for myself.

  2. Have a happy Easter, Jenny. You are inspiring me to keep working on the goal I set in January too. So far, so good.


  3. you have SO reassured me. Beautiful and thoughtful post.