Sunday, March 16, 2014

Because He Loves Me!

I hate making comments in church classes. I avoid it like the plague. The only thing worse is probably getting called on and forced to comment or answer a question. At that point, it's a given that I was most likely daydreaming and will say something totally off the mark. In a perfect world, if I volunteer a comment, it should be well thought out, completely inspired and right on subject.

Yeah, well, I'm too perfect of a wild card to live in a perfect world so...hence my dislike for making comments.

But there are those times when my palms get sweaty, I get jittery and my adrenalin starts pumping. {Joe says I even start making little grunting noises}. I try to think through exactly what I want to say and compare it to what is currently being said to make sure I'm not off subject. And I always start my comments out with some sort of disclaimer or straight out apology if what I'm going to say doesn't make sense.

The lesson in Relief Society today was on the significance of the Sacrament, per President Joseph Fielding Smith's words. Since I'd heard this lesson a couple of weeks ago in Manti, I remembered a part that I really liked and that was significant to the way I think and feel. And I've actually been thinking about it a lot since.

It's really only one sentence in the whole four or five pages of the lesson material. The teacher was going straight through the lesson and...I'll be darned she skipped the very sentence I'd been looking forward to! I couldn't believe it. My adrenalin started making my body jittery and I dreaded the idea that I knew was lurking. She was winding down and I wasn't sure she was even going to look my direction. And then she did. So I apprehensively raised my hand.

Now to the point of this whole thing.

The Atonement. I know, like President Smith stated, the more significant and painful part of the suffering my Savior did for me took place in the Garden of Gethsemane. Yes, He died a very painful, humiliating death but, as horrific as that was, it was nothing compared to what He had already been through. And, yes, I know I added to that suffering in Gethsemane.

Whenever I fall short or screw up or just feel inadequate, I remember that my Savior suffered for all these mistakes I'm too weak to overcome. And my shoulders hunch a bit. I'm sorry.

And then there are the lessons and the talks about the Atonement. The speaker/teacher reminds us, in vivid detail, how we each contributed to the suffering of Jesus Christ. And then they proceed to throw out the names of specific areas of weakness, seeming to enjoy the reactions and sighs and intakes of breath and tears as their descriptive words tear into their listeners' hearts and souls. And my shoulders hunch a bit more.

And after so much of this, I'm pretty hunched over. The Atonement is heavy enough without constantly being reminded of how I personally made it worse. That's a dark place I can't stay in very long.

Please! Don't get me wrong! I'm not minimizing my Savior's suffering. And I'm not minimizing my part in it. I just need to remember:

Jesus Christ CHOSE to pay the price for me long before I, or anyone else, had left Heaven to come and dwell on Earth. Long before any of us could even fathom sinning or the need for a Savior to satisfy Justice. Jesus Christ CHOSE to suffer in Gethsemane and die on the cross because He LOVES me.

I cannot fathom the depth of the suffering He endured in Gethsemane.

I cannot fathom the depth of His love for me, either.

But I choose to stay in the light of His love. I choose to dwell on the fact that, yes, He suffered for me but because He LOVES me. So much lighter there. So much more positive. Maybe one of the original affirmations, even! I AM LOVED! I AM SAFE!

And my shoulders straighten up and I can stand a little taller knowing that.

That's what I wanted to say when I raised my hand in Relief Society. Considerably shorter in length, that's what I thought I said. But then hands started shooting up and comments were made about our need to let go and give the suffering back to our Savior...well, I shut down.

I was replaying in my head what I'd said to take the conversation this direction. No one mentioned sunshine or positivity or happy places or love or not having weighted down, hunched shoulders. But it motivated me to write down my feelings and testimony here and so that's a good thing, I guess. And I'll think longer before raising my hand again!

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