I painted this ceiling tile at the end of my senior year in high school, to be put in the AP Art room.
The idea was to illustrate myself rejoicing in the bright future and potential in store for my life.
Now, 4 years later, I revisited the classroom where my precious ceiling tile is displayed. Here I am, with a bachelors degree, now pursuing a PhD. I'm living the dream!
I'm starting to see that bright, beautiful future unfold before me, behind me, and all around me. I know that I am in the path God would have me follow. Oh, what joy, courage, and peace that brings to my heart! I am so grateful to God for making possible all my deepest desires and hopes. He loves each and every one of us, His children, more than we can possibly understand... yet. ;-)
How have you seen God guiding you in your life?
What hopes, dreams, and desires has He enabled you to pursue?
I promise you that He is well aware. If you don't see His hand in your hopes and dreams... Well, maybe it's time to reassess what those hopes and dreams are.
I am a daughter of God, my Heavenly Father, who loves me, and has great plans for my growth and happiness.
This speech is pretty long (almost an hour), but it is worth listening to, especially if you have concerns about how Mormon's regard and treat women. Please, listen with an open heart to the beliefs of Sharon Eubank, director of Humanitarian Services and LDS Charities. I enthusiastically agree with her. There is more to life than this temporary world!
This analogy gets a lot of use, and a lot of criticism. But there's really something to it: we do get a lot more out of life, and are a lot happier, when we focus more on the positive than on the negative.
That's why I believe "constructive criticism" is rarely constructive (to use the words my Dad has said). People can often feel attacked and belittled when receiving "constructive" criticism, no matter how true the criticism might be. In one book of scripture (D&C 121:42-43), God commands us to be gentle, patient, long-suffering and show kindness to others as the general rule -- only giving correction when "moved upon by the Holy Ghost" (aka when God tells us to) and then being sure to express an increase of love towards that person, so that they know we are on their side.
So instead of focusing on what's wrong in others and ourselves, why not seek to catch them doing something right?
Why not focus more on how kind it was of so-and-so to open the door for what's-her-name, instead of criticizing so-and-so's outfit?
Why not focus more on how much we enjoy doing [insert physical activity here], instead of hating ourselves for being overweight?
Why not focus more on how we can make someone's day a little better, instead of wishing what's-her-face would make our day better?
There is a time and a place for the negative. But in my book, it should be far, far outweighed by the positive. As we keep our eyes single to hope, gratitude, love, forgiveness, etc., we will be able to see clearly, and recognize that though bad stuff exists, it does not have nearly as much power over us as we once thought. Even though there are things you want to change in yourself and others, keep working on your goals, and being grateful for the good in yourself, others, and the world around you. As you do this, the bad stuff will eventually fade away like shadows overpowered by a bright and glorious light.