The workout plan I’m following getting kept getting harder and harder …I wasn’t loving it.
With sweat dripping down my back as I finished (what felt like) the thousandth burpee, I had an epiphany…
I recognized this was exactly what needed to happen in order to put pressure on my physical body so that it would change, develop, and get stronger.
I stopped to catch my breath as my epiphany continued… I realized the same is true for our spiritual bodies. It became clear to me that God allows trials and stresses to be added to us so that our spirits will get stronger and grow closer to Him.
Paul V. Johnson, of the Seventy, said,
“Sometimes we want to have growth without challenges and to develop strength without any struggle. But growth cannot come by taking the easy way. We clearly understand that an athlete who resists rigorous training will never become a world-class athlete.”
Lessons Learned At Camp
In college, I spent a summer working as a camp counselor in the mountains of Pennsylvania. It was awful. It was nothing like what I thought I was signing up for. I was in charge of 12 thirteen-year-old girls who were spoiled rotten and terribly mean to me all summer long.
I was incredibly homesick.
I remember talking to my parents on the phone one evening and hearing one of the kitchen chairs being pulled out from the table. I knew the sound well. It was a familiar sound from home and it immediately made me burst into tears. I wanted to be at home, in our kitchen, sitting at the table with my family. I wanted it more than anything in the world. The longing to be there was a tangible pain right in the middle of my chest.
I cried so hard that I could hardly say goodbye.
I wanted to throw in the towel. I wanted to pack up and go home. But I didn’t. I stayed.
I decided to wake up early each morning so I could go to a quiet spot and talk to God. Before I started my prayer I would sing one of my favorite primary songs quietly to myself. In those sacred moments each morning I felt the spirit with me and I felt God’s love for me.
Those 3 long months never got better but as I finished it out I felt closer to God. My spiritual muscles grew that summer.
Not only did my spiritual muscles grow but I was instilled with the truth that I CAN do hard things. It gave me the knowledge that because I got through this, I can get through bigger things.
And of course, bigger things did come.
The Struggle is Real
Bigger things like PPD and anxiety.
Going through all of that stuff after Lily (our youngest) was born was a true low point in my life. It was something I never thought I would have to deal with. I hated it. I wanted it to go away. I begged Heavenly Father to just make it disappear and make me whole again. There were days/moments that I wanted to throw in the towel and just stay in bed all day.
But I didn’t.
I stuck it out and my spirit gradually become stronger and stronger. I didn’t feel it right away. In fact, I felt like I was actually getting weaker. But no. As the pressure of life pressed down on my spiritual body, I was strengthened.
I grew closer to God, closer to my husband, and I found out what I was made of. I discovered that I knew how to not just endure and survive to the end, but how to come out on the other side better because of it.
A New Outlook
Wendy Watson Nelson talked about how the phrase, “God will never give you anything you can’t handle” isn’t entirely true. She said that God WILL give you things you can’t handle but the way to handle it is to turn to Him. You need God’s help to get through this life, to be happy, and to return back to Him.
Joel Osteen said it perfectly,
“We like to be comfortable. But you won’t become who you were created to be without opposition, without disappointment, and without struggles that cause you to stretch your faith, to grow, and to develop your spiritual muscles.”
I’m going to be honest, I DO NOT like trials. I DO NOT like opposition. If I see it or feel it coming I want to turn and run in the other direction. I like smooth sailing. I like everything to be hunky dory. But I know from past experiences that when trials do come my way, I will be able to navigate them AND be better because of them.
Elder Orson F. Whitney said:
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. … All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”
So even though I don’t love doing burpees and mountain climbers, I do it. And even though I don’t like going through trials and opposition, I do it.
And quite miraculously, I’m even learning to like it.
Welcome to Being Katie Brave! I’m so happy to have you here. If you’re looking to take better pictures (stress-free!), get the inside scoop on all things Disney World, or be inspired to live YOUR best life (even if especially if it scares you to death) …you’re in the right place. I ’ve written 3 photography books, our family lived at Disney World for 2 years, and wear my heart on my sleeve…all of which would never have come to pass if I didn’t push past my fears and step in the darkness. Join me as I share my adventure of life, one post at a time.