Sooo I've finally realized why writing in journals is so important.. haha even though I myself don't write in my journal very often.. I was talking to one of the other mission president's daughters and we were talking about "How do we know we've changed or made progress?" And I was thinking about it for a while and all the obvious things came into my head like, "Well, when things that were once hard for you become easier.." and " We become happier and more comfortable." But then I started thinking about my blog and about my journal.. that I don't usually write in.. haha.. but I remember that when I look back on these things, when I read through my old journal entries and my old blog posts I can see how far I've come, I can see what has changed and how I am different. So I have made a resolve to write in my journal, even though it is so hard for me to concentrate and get the motivation to sit down and write down all the millions of thoughts in my mind, I am going to do it because now I realize how important it can be for me. Please, pray for me hahaha I know it will benefit me a ton when I look back but it is just so hard for me to sit still for that long of a time and muster the energy and motivation to write all the things I have probably been dwelling on the entire day. So, if you are out there wondering if you are progressing in life and wondering if you are changing at all, I invite you to start keeping a journal or start writing in your journal daily.
Just as an example of this, I was looking through all of my papers in my night stands and dresser and organizing things and throwing things away, and I came across my old journal that I brought with me from before coming to Ecuador. This just so happens to be the journal I wrote in when I had really bad depression. I decided to quickly browse through it just to see what was in it and BOY WAS I STARTLED AND SO GRATEFUL. All the things I read were so dark and sad and negative. I was constantly writing all of these horrible things about myself and my life and others, IT WAS TERRIBLE to read. But, at the same time, I felt soooo grateful because comparing my journal now with my journal then, I have grown so much.
In just the past week or so I have been growing so much and learning so many things even though things have been so hard. I think I wrote this in my last post but I have been feeling so alone and I kept asking heavenly father why he was taking all of the people I was closest to away from me. Many of the people I used to talk to and who used to help me and support me have just been fading out of my life. A big group of our sister missionaries left who were like sisters to me who I could always talk to. A lot of people I used to talk to have become so busy and other people who have just seemed to be fading out one by one. I keep feeling like heavenly father just wants me to be alone (even though that's not true) and I started to think all these really negative things again and I started to feel really depressed and angry. I kept asking God what I was doing wrong and why he wanted me to be alone. I had started writing all of this in my journal bit by bit and I have been looking over it and realizing more and more things. Last year I had become really close to heavenly father and relied heavily on him. I was talking to lot's of my friends, I didn't feel alone and in fact every area of my life was doing great. Right now, I have not been so close to him, things have not been as great as I would have wanted them to be (I feel really alone) and I have been having a harder and harder time seeing the bigger picture and seeing the bright side of things. I have been jumping to conclusions in many circumstances and second guessing myself because I have not stuck as firm to my faith as I have before. I guess life is like this but I sure haven't gotten used to it yet. Anyways, I was looking back in my journal reading all the good things and bad things and what I was doing or not doing during both times and I realized: I am not necessarily doing anything wrong, sure I make mistakes and sin everyday because I'm human but I don't think this feeling alone has been a punishment. Next, I think heavenly father is once more trying to get me to rely on him. It has been such a struggle for me not to just rely on everybody else for my happiness and just to wait for friends to talk to me. But I realize now that, In my journal, I am always going to see this pattern unless I change, and maybe if I see it in my journal enough it might scare me enough into trying harder. (See, I always have the desire to try harder it's just when it comes down to it the motivation is sometimes hard to come by..). I guess that's why the prophets emphasize writing in your journal and record keeping so much. I am so grateful that I wrote in my journal at least a few times so that I could see that pattern and see that difference that being close to my heavenly father made. I am going to try to be close to him and rely on him again.
Next, just as a little thought going with the "How can I tell if I'm progressing or growing?" I just wanted to touch on the power of faithful friends, family members and peers. I was talking to my sister the other day and I was upset because I felt so down and I felt like I wasn't progressing. My sister on the other hand is not me (obviously) and so it is easier for her to see me progressing than it is for me to see myself. I had also been worrying about a couple friends, I had felt so frustrated because i was trying so hard to help or to fix things for them. I was trying do hard to DO all I could instead of just trying to BE all I could, namely just a good listener, just be there, just be something that is constant. My sister helped me to realize that people don't always need you to do something, sometimes they just need you to listen and let them talk, sometimes you just need to absorb information instead of putting it out. So I have been working on that lately, I have been working on not being so quick to give advice, not so quick to give my opinion or deal out ways I could help them change things. I have been doing this for several days now in just my everyday life and everything I do and I HAVE NOTICED SUCH A DIFFERENCE! I never would have if I hadn't asked someone else for their point of view, for their advice and experimented on it. I may not have realized just how much I had grown, had I not asked someone else. So there is another resource for telling if you have progressed and a way to learn how to learn more from your daily trials - finding someone you trust and respect and asking them for their advice, opinion and view of your circumstance:)
I hope this helped any of you who might have had the same questions.. I just thought I would write up a quick blog about it because it helped me so much:) Thanks for all your examples and everything you do. Thank-you to all of you who have helped me in this crazy awesome time here and given me your perspectives. Have a fantastic week!!
^ We need to write things down because we may not always remember what good and what patterns came and went through our lives. I guess that's another reason why the scriptures are so powerful.. actually we are told that.. that with them we can learn and study patterns and see the cause and effect of situations.. and of course for future generations.. it's all quite amazing to think about..