So Why a Living Room?

Friday, June 4, 2010

The charityistics (as antidotes for misery)

Have we talked about the charityistics?  That's what I call the list of descriptors from Moroni 7:45--"Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things."

Well, that scripture is a bit overwhelming to me because I'm not sure if I will ever be able to be all of those things.  That's why I like to break it down into bite-size chunks and focus on one attribute, or "charityistic" at a time.  I can try to be kind today, and try not to envy tomorrow, and just take things one day at a time. 

As I have pondered about what it really means to suffer long and to not be easily provoked and all the rest, God has taught me some amazing things. Sometimes when I am frustrated or struggling and I can't figure out why, He teaches me that a simple application of one of these charitystics is the antidote to my unhappiness.  Here's an example:

Several weeks after my oldest son was born, I still felt so weak and tired and like I would never be able to physically handle anything again.  We went for a short walk down to a nearby park and when I couldn't even it make it back up the hill I was so angry inside!  I grumbled to myself: "I want my body back!!  This is taking too long!"  When I got home I was musing over my bad attitude in the shower and was honestly trying to figure out why I was having such a hard time.
And then I heard this in my mind:  "Charity suffereth long, Em." 

"What? Suffereth long? 
Oh.  Like even longer than I already have.
Okay... I guess I can do that."

"This is a child of God you have brought into the world.  And yeah, it's been rough for a lot of months and now several weeks. But you can suffer longer.  There is eternal significance and value to this."

"Alright. Charity suffereth long.  Longer.  Charity suffereth long."

I found more joy in motherhood during the days following that discovery.  As I really focused on it, and prayed for help, I felt happier, and strengthened in my quest to suffer longer for an eternal, worthwhile, cause.

So, right now life is a bit wild and we are transitioning from Indiana to Colorado and visting and living with lots of family.  We are mostly loving it, and trying to be flexible and embrace the chaos and just enjoy our time.  But occasionaly, when things get too crowded or too complicated or too crazy, and I feel like my kindness is getting wrung out, the Spirit will whisper to my mind:

"Charity seeketh not her own. Charity seeketh not her own.  Don't get all focused on your self and your own needs.  Zoom out for a minute and see the whole picture."

And then I pray that I will be able to stop seeking my own and seek the needs of someone else in the equation instead.  And soon my perspective is renewed and my cup overflows with joy again. It's kind of amazing, actually.

So, whatever emotional soup you are cooking these days, if it feels like it's about to boil over, try adding a little dash of a charitiyistic. Pick any one you like.  And then pray that He will help you live it, even for just 5 minutes.  Maybe it will help you look up and find the joy today.   :)


Rachel said...

I could use some charityistics right now! I will have to choose one for today...

Jax said...

What a nice reminder. I have been needing some help in this area and it is good to remember that you don't have to do it all at once, just work on one thing at a time, one day at a time! Thanks Em. This was a wonderful and uplifting post. :)

Candace said...

Ahhhh!!! I miss you! I love you!!

Lindy said...

Brings back some thoughts I had the night of your fireside. Thanks for the reminder :)

Ashley said...

The "charityistic" I've tried to work on this past month is "not easily provoked". I find myself too often snapping or losing my temper in reaction to my husband or kids, and in those times I try to remember "Charity is not easily provoked." Thanks for the reminder! We miss you guys here!

Lucky Larson's said...

Thanks for posting this-

-Emotional soup---have you read tear soup?

I am going to remember this scripture this summer!

Amy (whitaker) Larson

Em said...

Oh man, I love you guys. :) I'm blessed to have such awesome friends. Ashley that "not easily provoked" is such a good one. I've found charity "is kind" to be a bit easier, because I can usually be nice to people who are being nice to me, but "the not easily provoked" is harder for me because putting up a shield seems warranted when someone else is coming at you with a sword. But I will not get mad at Ethan even after I have asked him 4 times to not hit Jake and he still does it anyway...
And yes, Amy I have read tear soup and I think it is one of the greatest books ever. Every time I read it.