July 11, 2012

Learning From My Former Self and Living in the Middle

OK, I should be in bed, not blogging, but since blogging sometimes replaces journaling for me, I'm going to justify the staying up a little longer, so that I can weave a few things together (also because this is my 100th post!). Specifically, three things:

  1. One of the things I did while I was home was try to organize and clean the little corner of the basement where all my shtuff is stored. (Stored being a very loose term... which is why I was trying to organize it.) I spent some time re-reading old journal entries. From when I was 12, 13....all the way up through right before my mission and even ON my mission. It was interesting to see the things that were important to me at different points of my life and to see what was important enough to make it into a journal entry. It's also interesting to reflect on how much I've changed since I wrote some of those words, and also to see the ways in which I haven't changed. My perspective is different now, and I'm sure it'll be different 20 years from now, too.

  2. Today, while riding the metro home from school, I listened to this talk and this talk from the July Ensign (The Ensign is the LDS church's monthly magazine for adults. I LOVE it, because it comes chock full of inspiring messages that somehow always fit my life and my situation each month.)

    From the first talk, I learned that as we go through beginnings and endings (like... different phases maybe) in our lives, in reality, we are always in the MIDDLE. Our mortal lives are a tiny blink in the eternal scheme of things, and so... we will always be in the middle.

    Then there was this:

    Whether we are at the beginning or the end, whether we are young or old, the Lord can use us for His purposes if we simply set aside whatever thoughts limit our ability to serve and allow His will to shape our lives.

    From the second talk, I re-learned that God's plan for our lives is greater and better and wiser than whatever plan WE may lay out for ourselves. (I say RE-learned, because I've already learned this stuff and apparently keep forgetting it, because I have to learn it again.) Most of the time in my life, things don't go as planned. Sometimes I wonder why I still do it. But here's the thing. Even though MY Plan A may not always work out and I sometimes feel like I'm living my Plan B (or sometimes Plan C or D), it's always the Lord's Plan A. In those times that we haven't yet achieved some of our goals, we get the opportunity to work on our characters and to prepare ourselves further for the blessings we seek. And here's the other thing.. Just because one thing doesn't work out doesn't mean all hope is lost. The Lord ALWAYS has something in store for us. We just have to learn to TRUST Him and to do our best to be in tune with the Spirit, so that we can know what His will is for our lives. I recently shared with my brother that the most important thing I learned as a full-time missionary was how to listen to the Spirit, and it is for this very reason (this = the bolded part in the previous sentence above).

  3. Probs my very favorite blogger is Nat the Fat Rat. Today, she posted this, wherein she talks about re-reading some of her old blog posts (from when she was struggling to conceive) and then reading a post she wrote last week about her baby, and what 2012 Natalie would have told 2009 Natalie.

    And then I thought about those old journal entries I wrote... I would have told 12-year old me that having to run in front of the boys in P.E. was really NBD, sooo I shouldn't worry so much about it. I would have told 13-year old me to NOT get those bangs!! (Worst... hair decision... of my life!)  I would have told 14-year old me that the boy who was sooo annoying to me in junior high would grow up to be one of the greatest men I know, so be nice to him already and stop rolling your eyes!

    18-year old me would have gotten a note about how I should have just majored in Political Science from the get-go and not worried so much about what career I'd pursue with it, because.... I still don't know! (Maybe one of these days, I'll get a letter from future me to tell me what it'll be?) I would have told 19-year old me to stop freaking out about the LSAT, because I changed my mind about law school anyway. I would have sent a message to 21-year old me saying that that boy wasn't right for me, and no matter how much I thought I would want to marry him, I needed to just let him go. And that my heart WOULD eventually heal and all would be well. I would have told 22-year old me that that boy was STILL not right for me, and I should just go on my mission already!

    And I would have told all-of-the-years me not to worry so much about what people think, not to overanalyze, and that things really DO work out!

These three things combined have helped me today to gain a fresh perspective on my life. There are certain goals I have and certain blessings I hope for that I don't have just yet. But I feel that this time, this MIDDLE, right here and now, is a time for me to better myself and to improve my character. To learn to love with my whole heart, to serve sincerely, and to practice patience. Maybe I'm not ready yet for the things I want. Maybe I need to be refined a little more. Maybe the Lord has something else in store for me entirely. Whatever it is, I have faith that it is what's best for me, and I know I can be happy along my journey as I learn to put my faith in my God.


  1. Thanks for this post! I love Nat the Fat Rat too, and that post struck me as well. I really love your insights.

    1. Shannon!! Thank you for your comment. It's funny how things come to you (people, thoughts, Ensign articles, Nat the Fat Rat posts... Ha ha) when you need your thoughts/course steered in a specific direction, no? I like that about blogging and the internet now-a-days. :) It's really great to hear from you! I hope all's well on the Left Coast! :D


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