Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trying to be better

I should have known I was going to be put through the wringer when I asked to develop greater charity. I guess I expected that I could ask for it and then suddenly be overwhelmed with a greater feeling of love toward people. But developing deep character traits like that don't just happen to us. We have to make a choice to develop them. I can ask to develop greater charity and I'll find myself in situations that propel me to go one of two directions: absolutely hating a person or loving them--it's my choice which one I choose.

I write down the things I fast for each month. I started it in November last year. Well okay technically I did it on my mission but took a two year hiatus from the habit. Today I was looking at what I've been fasting for over the past year. There are the regulars: lose weight, more dates and pass classes with sanity.

I've always struggled with the concept of fasting. I've had a few friends and home teachers help me understand how it works and why we do it. And it makes sense. For like ten minutes. Then I'm at square one and I feel like I dont know why I fast or how fasting for a particular purpose accomplishes anything. But with that said, I have a testimony of fasting. I've gotten answers to prayers through it. I've developed greater strength. And seen more direction in my life from it. Why is it some prayers/fasts are obviously answered (even if not the outcome you wanted) whereas others seem to sit on the shelf forever.

One thing I've concluded about my "regulars" is that I'm expecting God to do all the work on those ones. I want to lose weight but I dont want to do the necessary diet and exercise to make it happen. I just want to wake up one day with a lessened appetite (again, character traits dont just happen to you). I want more dates but I don't go to activities where I can meet guys. Or if I do go, I act terribly shy.

But, one example of a fast I did see manifest was with an internship. On November 6 last year, I fasted to know which internship would be right for me and to be in tune with which ones to pursue. The first week of January I sent out my first rounds of applications. None of those panned out. However I had an opportunity to apply at a magazine locally but felt it didn't jive with my school schedule. I kept searching for and applying for internships.

It was the beginning of April and it was crunch time. Given most journalism internships are lined up nine months in advance and I was down to three weeks away from summer semester with no internship, I was a little under prepared. At this point in time I had applied for a job at the Daily Universe and an internship at LDS Living magazine. While I was driving to my interview at LDS Living, I got a call from the DU. But I didn't call them back until after my interview. They were offering me an editor position at the Universe. What do I do? Do I turn it down and hold out for an internship I might not get? Yep. That's exactly what I did. The Universe needed to know that afternoon if I would take the job and so I said no.

I had the weirdest assurance that something was going to come though. And at the last minute, literally it did. I found out I'd be interning at LDS Living magazine, which turned out to be the perfect internship experience for me. And the thing is...I did the work to find that internship. I didn't just fast for it and then never apply to anything or even research where I would want to intern. So its nice to see how answers to prayers are manifest.

Back to the subject of dating. I've been reading the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People at work (it is an approved way to spend my time on the clock). I'm realizing a lot of problems I have with myself. But one in particular that I'll highlight briefly is how I go to activities/parties expecting to meet guys and then I get super shy and don't talk to anyone. There are several reasons for this. But one is that I expect others to get to know me. They'll talk to me/ask me questions if they want to know me. It's a very me-centered attitude that I have. What can you do for me? You should want to get to know me. How do you make me feel?

"On the maturity continuum, dependence is the paradigm of you--you take care of me; you come through for me; you didn't come through. I blame you for the results." -- Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits

And in some respects, it is important to recognize how someone makes you feel. But its also important to want to get to know the other person. To wonder what you could do for them. To see how you can make them feel.

"Interdependence is the paradigm of we--we can do it; we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something greater together." -- Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits

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