Make All Your Dreams Come True

Make All Your Dreams Come True

A few months ago I went to my first ever Stake Youth Conference.  It was amazing.  One of the workshops was so profound that it literally changed my life, and I’d like to share it with you.  It was taught by a returned sister missionary (whose name I forget, unfortunately) and it was called Make All Your Dreams Come True.  At first I thought the name sounded a bit floofy if you will, but it turned out to be one of the most practical tips I’ve yet heard.

She started by sharing a quote by C.S. Lewis:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

-C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

First of all, this quote so beautifully describes the human experience.  Secondly, what a lovely concept that God Himself lives in us.  Thirdly, isn’t it so accurate that we underestimate our potential and forget that it is indeed divine, yet God sees a much more promising future for us?

The sister teaching the lesson’s first suggestion was to pray that Heavenly Father will show you your potential.

Then she drew a large Venn diagram (those two slightly overlapping circles) on the board.  Above the left circle she wrote “What we want” and above the right circle she wrote “What God wants”.  In the middle therefore is what both we and God want.

She had the class offer ideas of what might go in the left circle.  Things that we pray daily for:

  • protection
  • health
  • sleep
  • good grades
  • to feel loved
  • goals
  • college
  • mission

These can be things that we want but aren’t sure if God also wants them for us, or if they are right for us.

Then in the middle area, the class thought both we and God would want for us:

  • keep commandments
  • be Christ-like
  • faith
  • patience

Then she went over to the right circle.  No one could think of things that God would want for us that we wouldn’t also want.  Then she wrote one word on the board: Trials.  For me, that blew my mind.  I guess I hadn’t really thought before that all the “bad” things that happen to me, God actually wants to happen.  All the difficulties, all the tough life lessons, all the sad things, some of which I have overcome and some not.  They have all been wanted for me by my Heavenly Father.

Now just to clarify, God wants trials for us because we learn and grow from them.  He doesn’t want them because He wants to harm us; quite the opposite.

She finished out the list as follows:

  • trials
  • tithing
  • sabbath day holy
  • difficult commandments to follow

Next, as if our minds weren’t blown enough already, she said that the purpose of prayer is alignment.  She motioned pushing the circles together to overlap completely and create a single circle.  The goal of prayer is to align the two circles so they are one.  The only person who has done this, she said, is Christ.

Now if THAT wasn’t enough to change my perspective on existence forever, she continued.

When we ask for things in alignment, she explained, then we are asking things God can actually answer.

For example, if we ask God for something like to never have another trial ever, or to get married right this instant, or to help us achieve a goal that isn’t meant for us, He wont give it to us.  And then how do we feel?  Sometimes confused, sometimes frustrated or angry.

But, if we aren’t sure yet if what we are asking for is something God also wants, then how can we avoid this?

And here’s where she gave us one of the most practical tips I have ever heard:

First, ask God for something.  Then say “but if not” and then ask for an alternative.

So often we ask for things and don’t give a second choice, so to speak.  And if God wont give us what we ask for, it feels like our prayer just went unanswered and we got nothing.  But if we ask for an alternative, God is then able to give us something.

prayer formula of sorts:  1 + “but if not” + 2

examples:

  • “help me to get married, but if not, help me to have faith in Thy plan for me”
  • “help me to get a good night’s sleep tonight, but if not, help me to have patience with my kids tomorrow”
  • “help me to pass my test tomorrow, but if not, help me to understand how I can study better for the next one”

Pray not to have your circumstances changed but that you in your circumstances might be changed.

After this workshop, I immediately put this tip into practice.  I found that it not only comforted me — as I saw that even if I didn’t get what I deemed in the moment to be a necessity, it would be okay because there could be another great outcome besides my original choice — but it also helped broaden my perspective.  It reminded me to trust Heavenly Father’s love for me by remembering that He only chooses things He knows are best.  It helped me realize that my situation wasn’t nearly as dire as I thought, and that everything would work out just fine one way or another.

I am so grateful for that sister missionary and her amazing grasp of the gospel.  I am also so grateful I chose to go to that lecture over another.  I hope you gained as much as I did from this lesson, and that if you did, you choose to pass it along to someone else, too.

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Youth Conference 2015 was incredible

Youth Conference 2015 was incredible

This weekend was Youth Conference, which is an annual weekend event for boys and girls ages 14-18 put on by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This was my first year attending, and I attended as a Young Women leader for the youth from my ward (ie congregation).

The conference was amazing.  It was 2.5 days of workshops, activities, meals, and dances.

I got teary one night at one of the dances just watching the kids, seeing how happy they were.  They were all having such a good time.  And it was wholesome fun.  I don’t know if I was comparing it to the school dances I remember and the things teenagers used to do back then or what, but just watching them have so much fun that night was so beautiful to me.  And then looking back on the day and remembering all the things they were taught in the workshops – ideas and perspectives that I wasn’t taught until I joined the Church at age 26 – it was just so beautiful to see.

And the group was so inclusive.  They had a talent show and also performed skits in their teams, and one thing that stood out to me was that while someone was performing, the room was silent.  And then when they finished, everyone got an equal amount of roaring applause.  I remember talent shows back when I was in school and people would be talking during the acts.  The popular kids would get roaring applause and everyone else would get a mediocre clapping just to show necessary politeness.  It was amazing at this Youth Conference to see everyone get such a huge applause.  This group of kids was so loving.  Like nothing I’ve ever seen before in my life.

And they were all such good kids.  You could see it in their eyes.  And in their smiles.  Never have I been around a group like this.  It was truly an incredible thing to experience.

I attended a few of the workshops and I learned things and gained new perspectives myself.  We all benefitted from them greatly.  And the Spirit was so strong there.  Especially on the last morning, at the testimony meeting.  One by one the youth got up to share their experiences from the weekend.  This was completely by their choice, and I’d guess probably at least half of them got up to say something.  It was a powerful meeting to say the least.  One girl in particular, gave the most captivating testimony.  It was truly the Spirit speaking through her.  It was one of the more powerful addresses I’ve ever heard – and here she was, a 15 year old.

I am so glad I went, and so grateful I was able to witness it.  It was remarkable and I will always remember it.  I am so grateful that Youth Conference is something available to kids.  Things like this where kids can connect with like-minded people who share their values and where they can be uplifted together are so valuable and important, especially at this stage in their lives.  I really have a lot of respect for Youth Conference and I value it greatly after experiencing it and seeing what it provides for our youth.  I am just so, so grateful.

Thrift Store Haul and Fabulous Finds!

Today my mom and I went crazy.

We went to literally every second-hand shop in town (minus Goodwill, because we went there yesterday, lol.)

We bought a few things at a few places but I’ll just mention the highlights.

There is one second hand store that I often have mixed feelings about.  This place is not in the best shape.  It has the ambiance of a neglected garage.  But my mom sometimes finds things there that she can use to make jewelry, so we decided to go.

And today, we found some of the best stuff ever!  On a table outside, was this snowman cookie jar.  Now, my mom has a snowman collection and every Christmas our house is just filled with them.  And I am normally not one to encourage her to buy anymore.  BUT!  I literally think that this snowman is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

LOOK HOW HAPPY HE IS.

But we were torn as to whether or not we should get him.  So I was like, “Let’s go inside and see how much it is, and then we’ll decide.”  So guess how much it cost?

$1.

Can you believe it?!  Total steal.  Then we went inside and picked up a few more things, including:

A 1.5 inch curling iron.  I wanted 2″ so as to make those really big, sexy, loose curls.  But I figure 1.5 will do just fine!  (I had been looking for awhile on eBay and they cost upwards of $10.)

Next is this (new with tags!  retails for $36!) button down shirt that I got for my friend Heath.  It didn’t come across in the photo but the color is really pretty and I think it will look great on him.

Also for Heath was this bluetooth keyboard with iPad stand.  This cost me a whopping $1 as well!  We later looked it up on eBay and including shipping it would cost $67!  Best deal ever!

(The blue thing behind it is the foldable case which turns into the stand to prop up the iPad!  (And yes, it works!)

Then for me I bought this floral print table cloth, but it’s huge and so my mom came up with the idea that I could cut it down the center and make two window curtain panels!  Yes!  (It matches my green/tree themed decor!)

And lastly I bought these bright emerald green skinny jeans (brighter and greener than they look in the picture.)  I haven’t tried them on yet but if they don’t fit I’ll just sell them on eBay because they look pretty new!

While I was in this store and finding all this great stuff, I had the thought “I am so lucky today!” which is funny because the name of the store is My Lucky Day.  Hahaha.

This was by far the most successful shopping day I have ever had.  So pleased.  So, so pleased.

Grand total for the things mentioned above: $8.

So is that snowman the cutest thing you have ever seen or what? 😉