I’m sitting in a spotless clean RV, on a stripped bed, waiting for the laundry to dry, so I can change it before we leave for the dump station at 5:30.
That was a mouthful! 😆 But now that I find myself with a few minutes to use up, do I enjoy listening to a voice message from a dear friend of mine, while cross-stitching? Or do I do what I shared in yesterday’s post and first take care of my friend Wendi?
Hum. 🤔 I do crave being a good friend and I feel an urge to listen to this long awaited message. What if she needs me? And getting a bit more work done on my cross-stitch would feel so good too, because it brings me instant gratification because it is an immediate sign of productivity. But neither of these choices will bring me lasting joy and happiness. So I will set them both aside for now and focus on being my own best friend FIRST.
Does this sound selfish to you?
I used to think it sounded selfish and I would judged others for saying it, and then be even more harsh in judgement when I saw them do it because I felt there was more important things to be done around them. But I’m learning the painful truth that you can’t take care of others long term if you don’t take care of you in the short term.
This is so vitally important! But most don’t know what it means to “put on their air mask first?”
Can I offer a list of what this looks like to me? You can take the list, or leave it. It’s up to you, but I share it because it really has helped me to set up a system of warning alarms and boredom busters that have helped me to fight the ups and downs of each day.
First of all, this talk by President Ezra Taft Benson is the source for my information. He is very upfront when he starts his talk by saying. . .
As the showdown between good and evil approaches with its accompanying trials and tribulations, Satan is increasingly striving to overcome the Saints with despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression.https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/1974/10/do-not-despair
When I first read this quote, I was battling heavily with fierce depression. When I would talk things over with my doctor, he would also point out that I was also experiencing feelings of despair, discouragement, and despondency. 🤔 He was right!
My doctor is a good, good man. He didn’t hurry me out of his office, but instead he took the time to talk with me and help me acknowledge some great blessings I had in my life. . . An adorable husband, 5 incredible kids, a beautiful home to share with loving neighbors and faithful friends, a belief system that assured me that after all the good that I could do, it would be enough . . . Yet I couldn’t believe it would be. I felt so lost, so scared, so unsure. So what was missing in my life????
I was lacking faith and trust in this plan. I was doubting! And my doubting lead to a massive lack in faith. I needed emergency help!!! But not the kind that medicine could cure. I needed truth to stand on, and fast!
That was when President Benson’s talk was discovered and the quote above hit me!!! I decided to ask myself an important question . . .
“What IF these feelings aren’t me after all? What if these negative feelings of despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression are like food? What if I don’t have to eat them, even though they are all that seem to be available to me? What if I can choose to seek out and find other options to consume?”Wendi
Thankfully, this talk includes a great list of “other options” to choose from, much like going to a grocery store to buy your own food. The “abusive foods” are still going to be at the store, but I can learn to not buy them. Then, once I get the hang of liking these better foods, I can find a way to make them myself, so they can be even better quality, as well as more economical? Are you following me?
So I wrote down this list, in order, and I started working on them a little each day. President Benson’s talk gives awesome examples behind the meaning of each of these things. I also recorded how I chose to act on each item, and then I kept track of my choices, to see if I saw a noticeable difference.
You know what, this started over 5 years ago and I REALLY have seen so much worth in focusing first on these options. Now, I must say that despair, discouragement, despondency, and depression have never fully left me. They are like shadows on the wall. They come when the light grows dim or the room isn’t filled with light from others. That’s why I make it my goal to keep my room (my mind, heart, and soul) constantly receiving guests of light and truth. . . The guest list is worth the company!
And now, after 5 years of welcoming these options to be first on my list, I have learned to not be afraid when I notice the presence of the 4 D’s. For they are like choices at the store. You resist buying things you know you shouldn’t when you shop. So use your God given gift of agency and willingly choose to FILL your basket with as many great foods as you can afford, so that you will always have those choices to choose from, especially when you are especially hungry.
I hope this message helped. It is shared in love. And now I may not have the time to do what I had hoped to do, but the feeling that the best work was done first is with me and it feels great!! And a feeling of patience is with me and will stay until I can do those two other things. For another opportunity will present itself. It always does!