I was just reading my scriptures and these verses stood out to me because of the thoughts that are currently going through my mind (*side note… I love it when I have scripture study moments like these…where what I am reading is exactly what I needed to read at that moment)…
1 Nephi 9:
2 And now, as I have spoken concerning these plates, behold they are not the plates upon which I make a full account of the history of my people; for the plates upon which I make a full account of my people I have given the name of Nephi; wherefore, they are called the plates of Nephi, after mine own name; and these plates also are called the plates of Nephi.
3 Nevertheless, I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people.
4 Upon the other plates should be engraven an account of the reign of the kings, and the wars and contentions of my people; wherefore these plates are for the more part of the ministry; and the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of my people.
5 Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.
6 But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is. Amen.
Part of me worries that on this blog I will come across in a way that “makes” people feel bad about themselves, because I will look like I have it all together and all figured out. My siblings used to tease me and call me a “goodie two-shoes” (side note… I never really knew where that phrase came from but wikipedia says “The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes is a children’s story published by John Newbery in London in 1765. The story popularized the phrase “goody two-shoes”, often used to describe an excessively virtuous person, a do-gooder.”) I never liked it when my siblings would call me that. I don’t like being viewed that way.
I do like doing good and working on becoming better. I don’t like being viewed as someone who thinks they are better than other people. Because I don’t. I’m just trying to live my life and do the best that I know how. And I am trying to share the light and knowledge that I have because maybe someone else would benefit. I have made a lot of positive changes in my life because of other people’s stories that they shared and tools that they’ve taught. So in a way, I feel like I am just paying it forward.
I also worry that people will think this because they will mostly read about my positive thoughts and life experiences. That doesn’t mean that my life is all butterflies and unicorns. Believe me, some days (more like some moments of every day) it’s far from that. I get angry. I say irrational and ridiculous things to my kids (and to other people). J and I fight sometimes. I am moody (a lot). The list could go on and on.
But, like Nephi says in these verses, this set of “plates” (this blog) isn’t the space where I am focusing on those things. Nephi says “Upon the other plates should be engraven an account of the reign of the kings, and the wars and contentions of my people; wherefore these plates are for the more part of the ministry; and the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of my people.”
Oh, there are plenty of “wars and contentions of my people” at my house (and in my head), but this (my blog) isn’t really the space where I record about those, at least not excessively. I do record some of those things, but If I wrote down all of them (so that I could paint a complete, total, and realistic picture of my life), the important messages that I really wanted to get across would just get lost in all of the drama and chaos. And would that really serve anyone?
Yes, maybe it would “make” people feel like “oh look! Shelly’s life is a wreck just like mine! Looks like we’re all in the pits.” Great. We feel equal now. But now what? We just all sit in the dark room together and hold hands because everyone is afraid to turn their flashlight on in the fear that everyone else will be jealous or think negatively about us because we aren’t sharing the darkness anymore? “Who do you think you are? Turning on your light. Now you’re “making” me feel bad because I don’t have a flashlight (or I’m just too afraid to turn mine on because then I won’t be just like everyone else anymore.)”
Nephi does record some of the wars and contentions of his people, but he doesn’t write about those things excessively. On these particular plates, he focuses on the goodness of God. On the tender mercies. And on the light and joy and peace.
This blog is a place where I write about light. The dawn. The morning. Moments of peace and clarity and joy. Moments where I felt freed from the darkness. Moments of growth.
So please forgive me if I don’t write about all of the darkness in my life – if I’m not “real” (i.e. pessimistic) enough on this blog. The truth is, these are not the plates where I write of those things. These plates are titled “Good Morning Shelly”. Those plates are titled “The Book of Shelly – a complete history, including all the raw, dirty, drama, darkness, poop-stained moments of life” (or something like that. :))
This reminds me of one of my current favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Amen! Preach it, Marianne!
Let’s not shrink just so other people won’t feel insecure around us. Let’s go shine our lights so that all can benefit.
So if you need permission to turn on your flashlight, I’m here to give it to you. You are brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous. You are a child of God. Play big! Serve the world. You are meant to shine. You were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within you. It’s not just in a select few (or even everyone else but you,) it is in YOU. And as you let your light shine, you will unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Let’s all turn on our flashlights. This world could always use more light.