Hi! I'm a Latter-Day-Saint (Mormon)...but I'm definitely not typical...

Monday, March 24

Choose to be happy - Choose to have agency

I am getting married - finally - haha...and for those of you who know me, you know that I am not someone who chooses to be unhappy in whatever circumstance I am in. I have never been one to mope that I am not married, and "if only I was I would be happier"...what?! NO. That has just always seemed so nonsensical to me (thank you Pride and Prejudice for that awesome word you taught me :-) Life is meant to be lived, and I always try to make the best of it. Do I have down moments, and have I had some hard times?...heck yes! Have I had nights where I cried in prayer to my Heavenly Father, not understanding why I wasn't married yet, given the fact that I had such a strong desire to be?...you bet I have! But in no way have I ever wanted to let anything like that dictate my day-to-day happiness. Why would anyone else do this?! It has never made sense to me.

We are all created differently. We have different inner motivations and desires. I truly believe that some people are "wired" in a way that makes them crave the intimacy and attachment of another human being more than others. I have never been one of those people. If I was not LDS, I will admit that I probably would have been more of a one-night-stand kind of girl...sad...but true! LUCKILY...I have had the blessing of having the gospel in my life, so I have remained true in that department, although I have still kissed my fair share of guys.

 Anyway, with that in mind, there are some things that I need to say, though, regarding happiness...and marriage...so...whether you agree with, or like what I have to say, here goes...::::::::>>

I am hoping that this reaches those single, and like-minded individuals, within the LDS culture and even the world, who may have lost sight as to how to find happiness in this life, without being married.

I was at lunch with my mom the other day when she asked me if I feel as though everything leading up to this point in my life, getting married to the specific man that I am, has prepared me for this. My answer was simple - no. Yes, there have definitely been times of preparation, like the few guys that I dated right before my soon-to-be husband, but my whole life has not been a culmination of things that happened because I was meant to marry him. I don't believe that I am meant to marry anyone - I choose whom I marry. Now, timing is a different thing - I do believe that the Lord plays a role in that, but I must still choose for myself.

I choose for myself whether to be happy. I have realized that the only reason that I feel like getting married has taken so long, or that I am older and that this is finally happening for me, is because of my own ideas! The LDS church is known for having young people getting married, but that is cultural. I was never taught to "get married at 19 and start popping out those babies!", that is something that I have SEEN with my own eyes, and come to a conclusion is a cultural thing, not a doctrinal thing. Therefore, the only reason I even feel as though I am old for a person getting married is because it is in my own mind.

When I was a kid, I decided that I wanted to accomplish some things before getting married. I wanted to serve a mission - I have done that. I wanted to go to school - I have done that. I decided that 25 was the PERFECT age to get married. 25 came and went...um...hello?...I wasn't married! Whattheheck...my plan was shot. What was I supposed to do now? Well...I hadn't graduated from school, so I kept doing that. I hadn't gotten married yet, so I kept dating. I knew what kind of man I wanted to marry...so I kept going to church, and praying...and praying...and messing up sometimes...and praying a lot.

One of my very least favorite things I would hear, and still hear, my single friends say, especially in the LDS religion, is that they are doing OK, they just wish they were married. Obviously this can be stated in many different ways, but you get the idea. The - "I would be happier if I wasn't single" or "I would be happier if I was married" or even, "I have done everything right, why do I have to wait to find the right person?" And, even some friends who have been married, and divorced, or even widowed, getting upset because they "did everything right" up to that point, and then things didn't go like they were "supposed to" and then choosing to be negative and leave the church because of it. This is all, FRUSTRATION, in a nutshell! Yes, I completely understand having goals and working for them, and having them not come to pass when we would like, or even having all of our lives work for one thing, only to have it taken away. We do need to allow ourselves grieving time, and time to heal, but are we told that if we obey the commandments that everything will work out perfectly and be tied up in this cute little bow?...NO. But we can CHOOSE to be happy...there are many ways that we can choose.

We are told by church leaders to seek out education and become the best that we can in this life. We have even been told that the time will come for all of us to be married, whether in this life or the next, and we must remain true to the commandments and our covenants and that "the church needs everyone" to help in every capacity. I have been in family wards since I was 29, leaving the YSA ward scene at my choosing. I felt it was time for me to serve in other capacities, with youth and primary aged children. I did not want to leave when I was forced to, or begrudgingly...I felt the time myself, and jumped right in. We are told to serve with all of our heart, might, mind and strength...and yes, this is not always easy, but the Lord asks for a "willing heart and mind", and if my heart and mind were not willing or ready, I would not be a good servant. The time was right for me, and although I was scared to be in a family ward, the timing was right. I have served as Primary Music Leader and a Primary teacher, in three different wards now, and it has been such a blessing to me! These opportunities are not available in YSA wards, and I was ready to move on, having been in YSA wards since I was 19: 10 years was long enough for me. :-) Choose the right timing, don't be scared, and realize that there is a place for you! I NEVER felt, and still do not feel un-needed or out of place as a single adult in a family ward setting, and I get so frustrated when I hear friends say that they do! Our weaknesses, insecurities and negative thoughts dictate so often how we believe that others feel about us - we cannot allow our own thoughts to control how we believe the world sees us, and we definitely cannot blame others for our own issues and weaknesses.

My thoughts are so scattered, that I don't even know how to put everything down like I want to, so I hope you can all follow what I am trying to accomplish here. But, please, let me tell you, that I do not feel as though I have missed out on anything getting married at an older age. There is absolutely no way that I believe I was ready for marriage until now. Goodness, I had a lot of learning to do, and there is always more learning to be done. I am just so extremely grateful for the opportunity to get married, that I couldn't be happier to just have this experience in my life! Blessings come from God, and He gives us agency, agency to choose.

I am grateful for the opportunity to choose to be happy, everyday. I am grateful to know that the happiness that I choose is not dependent upon whether or not I am married with children, or even successful in a career. King Benjamin taught where true happiness lies in Mosiah 2:41 - "I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness."

No amount of money or fame in this life will ever amount to true happiness, and no amount of self-pity or depression will ever help us reach our goals. If you are unhappy - seek help. If you are unable to get out of a negative mind-set - ask friends and family for direction! Never be afraid to admit a weakness, and never be afraid to allow yourself to move on, and move forward.

 Heavenly Father has put us on this earth to choose happiness, to choose to make our lives full and rich with love and service. The most unwise thing a person can do in this life, is to allow their outside circumstances to affect their inner happiness. Giving others that type of control in your life is one of the most self-destructive things a person can do. Do not allow something that you do not have now to affect your happiness in the moment - that makes no sense! BE the person you desire to marry one day - follow the commandments, never give up, be active, make friends, accomplish new goals, improve your talents and develop new ones. A life that is filled with happiness and a person who chooses to make the best of their circumstance is a person that everyone wants to be around. No one wants to be around a grumpy person who is always complaining about how they allow others to dictate whether their life is happy or not. Do not give others the power that they don't have - the power lies in you. Make a choice to improve yourself, be patient and live the gospel and "consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God...remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."