How to treat a hard heart


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I’ve recently been going through a personal trial. I just go ahead and say it. I doubt before I have faith.

When I listen to talks, for example, during general conference or during sacrament, I don’t let the spirit abide in me. Often times I feel angry for some reason. 

I was just hoping to get some ideas to help change my perspective. (Talks, Verses, Hymns) I want to have a better outlook on life and be less cynical.

 

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First, I think we as Saints are way too hard on ourselves.   We all put our best foot forward and seem to live perfect lives, but when you peek behind the curtain you'll see we're all as messed up as the next family.   After one of my Church meetings the other day, a few members pulled me aside and thanked me for sharing both sides.   I'm still not sure what they meant, but I suppose it's because I acknowledge the difficulty as well as the blessings.   That doesn't mean I don't knuckle down and follow in faith, but it's not always easy.

Second, I think there isn't a secret answer to changing perspective.   A talk, verse, or Hymn can start the journey, but it's a journey.   I loved President Nelson's talk yesterday about Spiritual Momentum.   If you didn't catch it, please do.   In my most humble opinion, attitudes and perspectives are changed through environment and habit.   Build a home that is faithful and without sinful distractions.   If television, movies, books, or even sometimes people darken your perspective or create doubts, then swap them out for things that bolster your faith.   Set a routine of study and prayer.  Prayer is incredible, but didn't come easy to me.  Study doesn't always have to be sitting and ready scriptures or Come Follow Me, though that is important.  It could be listening to talks or reading other faith-building material.   Form a routine so that it becomes habit.  

Third, sometimes we carry guilt and don't even realize it.  Things we need to repent for and/or resolve.  They don't have to be sins, but could just be things that weigh heavy on our hearts.   

Maybe none of these apply to you, but from time to time they do apply to me so I thought it important enough to share.

Edited by Grunt
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17 hours ago, Woof Meow said:

Often times I feel angry for some reason. 

So, what's the reason?  Knowing why you get angry would probably be of great help.

 

(Welcome, by the way!)

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You're not alone.  My default position in life is doubt. I can describe myself as skeptically religious and religiously skeptical. 

I can also say that I'm about 20 years into my personal faith crisis.  Years 5-10 were probably the hardest. It's gotten easier, but there are still days when I feel like it would be easier to throw in the towel and walk away. 

It's okay to feel that way.  I would recommend you resist the urge to act quickly. Doubts can take months and years to fully understand and resolve. 

And now, 20 years in, the number of things that get said at church that I doubt far outnumber the things that I believe. But the things that I do believe are worth sticking around for.

Anyway, probably not the advice you were looking for. But doubting isn't a sign that you need to be fixed. Quite the contrary--if you care enough to doubt, you care enough to learn. Turn that around and use it to explore and grow.

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On 4/4/2022 at 5:48 AM, Grunt said:

First, I think we as Saints are way too hard on ourselves. 

I think this true as stated. I guess I think of being "too hard on ourselves" is better than the opposite, as long as we aren't overdoing the too-hard thing.

 

On 4/4/2022 at 5:48 AM, Grunt said:

Second, I think there isn't a secret answer to changing perspective.   A talk, verse, or Hymn can start the journey, but it's a journey.

I agree. But I have found that music has a profound effect on me, and certain hymns seem to humble me, calm my heart, and prepare me to hear the Voice of God. For me, certain Primary hymns do that. My Heavenly Father Loves Me is one of those.

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Hymn 129 - Where can I turn for peace?

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/music/library/hymns/where-can-i-turn-for-peace?lang=eng

Lyrics

  1. 1. Where can I turn for peace?

    Where is my solace

    When other sources cease to make me whole?

    When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,

    I draw myself apart,

    Searching my soul?

  2. 2. Where, when my aching grows,

    Where, when I languish,

    Where, in my need to know, where can I run?

    Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?

    Who, who can understand?

    He, only One.

  3. 3. He answers privately,

    Reaches my reaching

    In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.

    Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.

    Constant he is and kind,

    Love without end

 

See also Mormon 9:27

27 O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. aDoubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and bcome unto the Lord with all your cheart, and dwork out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.

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On 4/3/2022 at 8:46 PM, Woof Meow said:

I’ve recently been going through a personal trial. I just go ahead and say it. I doubt before I have faith.

When I listen to talks, for example, during general conference or during sacrament, I don’t let the spirit abide in me. Often times I feel angry for some reason. 

I was just hoping to get some ideas to help change my perspective. (Talks, Verses, Hymns) I want to have a better outlook on life and be less cynical.

 

I am not the best at advice for others.  I know what works for me but I have discovered that what works for me does not always work so well for others.  Growing up I had two older brothers that were strait "A" students from kindergarten through college.  I got strait 'A's" in some classes and "C's" and "D's" in the rest.  My parents taught me that accomplishments come from discipline.  Math and science did not require much discipline and later in life I discovered that I am dyslectic.  They are right that the more I became disciplined in math and science the greater my accomplishments became.  In some things I am considered by many to be smart but my dear wife thinks I am not so smart about many common things (like how to match my clothing). 

Here is my thought for you - it comes from Moroni chapter 10 in the Book of Mormon.  You have been given spiritual gifts.  That is something unique about you.  Use your spiritual gifts to help and assist others (not just yourself).  Whenever you do so you will perceive the spirit and will learn to magnify your spiritual gifts - and you will find joy and love for those with whom you share your spiritual gifts.  If you are uncertain about your spiritual gifts begin a quest.

I apologize if you find no comfort in my suggestion but regardless I wish you well in your personal trials.  I had a discussion recently with my dear wife about trials and I suggested that trials come much better to deal with if we find joy in getting through our trials.  My wife responded that if we can find joy in something then it is not a trial.  Like I said, very few of the things that work for me seem to not work so well for others.  Regardless I wish you well.

 

The Traveler

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