Overcoming weakness through opposition | Overstuffed

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Overcoming weakness through opposition

Yesterday while I was teaching my lessons, one of my students came to her lesson with quite a bit of frustration. She is a music minor, and so she gets to attend the studio class with one of the tenured vocal professors every week. This week was her first time singing in front of the class. Her main issue was that the professor who worked with her told her to do many of the things that we have been working on all semester (Whew! At least that means I'm doing an okay job!). Things that she has made progress on, but they just kind of went away when she was put under the pressure of performance.

I told her that the only way we know a concept is internalized is by doing just that: performing under pressure. In situations that are easy, such as practice and lessons, we can feel successful at learning and applying new concepts. It is only once we are out of our comfort zone that we can see the real progress we've made.

Then last night Joel and I were reading in Ether 12 about how the Lord will show us our weaknesses and help us make them into strengths. We were discussing how this process happens, and I thought of the discussion I'd had earlier with my student and how it applies to all aspects of life.

If I am working on a weakness how can I truly change it to a strength if I am never put into situations which exploit that particular weakness? For purposes of this blog, let's just say that one of my weaknesses is yelling at my children. If everything in my life is all hunky dory, and my children are acting like the angels I know they are, and I do not have outside stressors affecting my mood, of course I will not yell at my children. And I will feel like I have overcome my weakness and think life is great. But I shouldn't. I can't gauge myself on the easy times. No, I have to wait for a day when the house is a mess, Joel isn't around to help, the baby is sick, the older girls are driving me nuts arguing with each other, I have low blood sugar, and I have to teach 3 lessons. Now, if I make it through that day without yelling at my kids, then I can justifiably say that I have improved.

I get a little bit angry with God sometimes...especially after one of those days. It seems like when I pray for help in overcoming one of my many weaknesses I get hit with plenty of opportunities to demonstrate strength in that particular area. And then, when I fail miserably, I blame God. I wonder why He didn't help me not yell at my kids or eat right or be more motivated or whatever it is I had asked for help with that day.

It just dawned on me yesterday that what I am really asking for is a perfect day. One in which I do not have to face temptation of any kind. And how, I ask, is that supposed to make my weakness into strength? Plain and simple, it won't. And more importantly, it can't. So when I ask for help to stay calm, cool, and collected today, He isn't going to just give me a smooth day where I could have stayed put together without His help. He's going to give me the opposition I need to practice my skills and truly turn that weakness into strength. And then He'll help me get through it if I let Him.

So, wow. I guess I should be thankful for all of my overstuffed days because I am being molded into a more perfect person. I have a very long way to go, but just having this epiphany will help me. I will hopefully recognize my trials as learning opportunities, stop and think before I react in difficult situations and be more determined to turn my myriad weaknesses into strengths.

Starting right now.

16 comments :

  1. Personally, I'm just going to start prarying for a perfect day. :)

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  2. Hilary is the best isn't she? She helps to keep things less serious.
    Loved your blog!! But as for me right now, I have been studying the atonement so in depth, that I have to say this, Yes, through that opposition we get to choose whether we depend on Christ as our partner in all things and do far better or we can do things ourselves, which never is good enough. He is truly the answer to everything. Equally yoke with Him and He will make your burdens light. And through His redeeming blood, we can start over again if we keep working at it as if we never had done it in the first place. Even on Wednesdays.

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  3. Amen Hilary! I actually thought the same thing as I was reading this!

    Great entry, Lara. Tons of food for thought, and very insightful. Just what I needed right now; I'm in a bit of a slump. ;)

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  4. Inspiration yet again! Thanks for thinking that all through out loud on your blog. I think it's a good reminder for all of us. . .

    although I think Hilary's idea is a great one too!!!

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  5. Now that is some wisdom there .... about the perfect day ...that made so much sense to me, like a light went on!

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  6. I have quickly learned that nothing or no day is perfect. I have however learned from tough situations how to deal with anything life throws at me.

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  7. oOhhhh.,......I can relate to you here. Yesterday I was put in a situation and I didn't do well at all....yelling, screaming and use of the word stupid ensued....

    I need to do better.

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  8. Dang it, you're right. No wonder my days have been so crazy lately. I've been busy praying for patience, and bringing it on myself. I like your Mom's perspective too. You pray and do your best, but when you mess up you can repent and keep on trying. For me that brings a lot of peace and hope to know that in the midst of the craziness, Heavenly Father is there to help us and give us second chances. and third and fourth...

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  9. Each of the above comments are right, sometimes perfect days are just in our heads so when we truly want one, praying for one is like asking God to solve all your problems and that impedes on free agency that He would never violate.

    I, too, fall prey on yelling at my kids and often I get so upset at myself I feel like I'm wearing my "Worst Mom" sash all over again. But one particularly stressful day, Charlie told me that I'm focusing on now, that I need to step back and reflect on the days that were quiet, reflective and productive. What was in that day that made it great? It helped me to this day- because I know that I chose how the day would be for me whether I admit to it or not. I never truly realized that before.

    Thanks for this reminder.

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  10. I learned this the hard way when Caitie was live two. I prayed for something no one (in my opinion) should ever pray for.....Patience! I awoke the next morning to one of the most difficult days of her entire life. In fact it was so momentous that I remember it as vividly as when she was born. Everything went wrong that day. EVERYTHING! Highlights iclude: toilet clogged by toy, a dozen eggs on the kitchen floor, elmers glue in her blond hair(my brother left it without telling me in a low drawer), two broken lamps, my sister called to tell me she was getting divorced, Ryans family was coming for dinner, the washing machine broke, and many more things that would take to long to list happened that day. I kneeled to pray that night and said " Do you think that was funny? What happened to the bunny slope?" Now I pray for those things which will teach me, but not in larger doses than I can manage. I still find that there are times I am skiing black diamond runs when I asked for intermediate.

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  11. Lara, thanks for commenting on my blog, because that meant I got to find YOUR blog, and I really like yours, too. This post is spot on, and something I've been thinking about quite a bit, lately. I think general conference made it clear that trials are for our benefit and that we won't go very far without them, but there are certainly times that I'm dying for that perfect day, for an oasis from the long times in the desert.

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  12. It's good to finally meet someone else who doesn't yell at their kids either. :)
    I love your perspectives! And now I totally get why I needed to be tested so much. I must be way too fay away from perfection.

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  13. Ah, the stinkin' word "perfect." I constantly suffer from attempting to be perfect-itis. Thanks for these thoughts.

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  14. Even though that "perfect day" wouldn't help us with our weaknesses, wouldn't it be nice to have just one, just to see the difference??? It would be so nice :)

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  15. Yes, isn't it a bummer when life is actually testing you? I just hope we're being graded on a curve.

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