Welcome to the gYm Empowered official Empowerment blog. Although since the day I started with the program I have wanted to step up and be a voice of Empowerment, I have procrastinated or dismissed the idea of a blog for the following reasons:
Why I Shouldn’ts
- It’s terrifying!!! Being vulnerable, honest, open…putting myself out there. What if all you people think I’m crazy? What if I am?!? And now there’s a blog to prove it. Scary thoughts, scary thoughts.
- A Disclaimer: Let it be known here and now that the views expressed on this blog are not necessarily the views of Brigham Young University or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although the views and opinions expressed will be coming from a gospel viewpoint. Let’s be absolutely clear on the fact that I have no authority whatsoever.
- I don’t have it all figured out. Somehow, starting a blog seems inherently to be setting myself up as an expert. I don’t have all the answers, although I have learned a lot about health, wellness, body image, peace, and surrender through the real-life school of hard knocks. My intent with this blog is not to suggest that I have all the answers. My hope is to start a discussion where we can begin asking the right questions, and learning from one another.
- I’m not perfect and never will be. Surely, at some point, in my best intentions to raise the trumpet of empowering truths and set a standard for healthy perspective, my life will fall short of my words. I shudder at the inevitability of my own hypocrisy. While I may have moments of clarity, I want to admit to myself and to you, that in the daily battle of life and love, I won’t always get it right, and my actions will fall short of my ideals.
The Goal: Empowerment
So, here we go. With all of those “why-I-shouldn’ts” out of the way: The Empowerment blog. I love this idea of Empowerment: because there is so much power in us. We are unique in all the world…daughters of God who understand who we are, whose we are, and what our greatest purpose is on the Earth. Truly, we can become a mighty army of mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters who will shape and influence a rising generation.
As Sheri Dew taught when I was attending BYU,
“As mothers (women) in Israel, we are the Lord’s secret weapon. Our influence comes from a divine endowment that has been in place from the beginning. In the premortal world, when our Father described our role, I wonder if we didn’t stand in wide-eyed wonder that He would bless us with a sacred trust so central to His plan and that He would endow us with gifts so vital to the loving and leading of His children. I wonder if we shouted for joy at least in part because of the ennobling stature He gave us in His kingdom. The world won’t tell you that, but the Spirit will.”
Then and now, Sister Dew’s words gave me goosebumps as I felt the truth of my own power within.
But here’s the problem: as I navigate life, I often find my own sense of power falls far beneath this lofty ideal. Why?
The Problem: FEAR
As I have faced challenges in my life way beyond what I had imagined when I was a young BYU coed, the answer that whacks me in the face is FEAR.
Fear of what?
It would be easy to tell myself that my fears are tied to my unique circumstances, the challenges I face, the hurts I have suffered. But as I grow in faith and understanding of how Christ’s Atonement can bless me and save me not just in the end, but every moment of every day that I need Him, I begin to discover the fear that is at the base of all the rest:
Fear that I am not enough.
Fear that I am not truly special, unique, powerful.
Fear that I am not worthy of love or belonging.
Fear that I am not capable to meet the expectations that have been placed on me or that I have placed upon myself.
Fear that I do not measure up.
Fear that anyone who really knew me would run away screaming.
This is the capitalized Fear that transcends all of our circumstances, our challenges, or our hurts…and makes us all the same.
The more women I interact with, the more I believe that this is common ground. It turns out, knowing who I am, whose I am, and what my purpose is on the Earth is a lot different than really, truly believing those things.
Brene Brown is a social scientist whose work is bringing the concepts of vulnerability, shame, blame, and emotional health to the world at large. Her research has identified appearance and body-image as the most common shame trigger for women. From my own life experience, as well as the lives of the women I know and love, I would suspect that this statistic is no different amongst us Latter-Day Saint women.
The Solution: Faith in Jesus Christ
Last October, in his talk, “A Plea to My Sisters,” Elder Nelson quoted President Kimball:
“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”
But, are we so different? Are we distinct from the world? Are our hearts more set on what God thinks than what Facebook thinks? Elder Nelson taught:
“We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.”
This blog is an attempt to nurture the divinity within each one of us, and to help us, through an open discussion, begin to discern better. But how can we discern? How can we overcome the confusing messages of the world that constantly bombarding us and keep dragging us back to Fear?
In April 2015 Elder Bednar taught:
“Correct knowledge of and faith in the Lord empower us to hush our fears because Jesus Christ is the only source of enduring peace.”
My life experience has taught me the absolute reality of these words: Jesus Christ is the ONLY source of enduring peace. I believe that it is ONLY through Him that we can overcome capitalized Fear. The more we come to know Him, the more we come to know ourselves as we really are, and the more our eyes will be open to the false belief systems we have been buying into without even realizing it. I really and truly believe that the more we can discern and reject the damaging and shallow trends of the world, the less we will struggle with our underlying Fear, whether this Fear takes the form of body-image issues, anxiety, depression, resentment, self-pity, addiction, sin, anger, pride, perfectionism, moral superiority, or any other difficulty we may struggle with.
Our ability to be the mighty army we were born to be depends upon our commitment to figure out who we are, whose we are, and what our greatest purpose is on the Earth…and really believe it . This is more than just a script…and living it is way, way harder than reciting it.
What are the “Right” Questions?
Some of the “right questions” that I would like to explore include the following:
“What does a “powerful” woman look/act like?”
“What does a healthy relationship with food look like?”
“How can I improve my feelings about my appearance and body image?”
“How can knowing that I am a daughter of God change everything about the way I live and feel each moment of my day?”
“How can the Savior really help me today?”
“What is the difference between self-discipline and controlling out of fear?”
“What does true discipleship look/feel like?”
“What really gives me value?”
“What are some practical steps I can take to center my life more on Jesus Christ?”
What are YOUR questions?
Please, pretty please with a cherry on top, let us know what your questions are. What are you grappling with? What do you want to understand more about? What are the issues that speak to YOU today? Let’s talk about them here, and together, practice becoming the EMPOWERED women we were born to be.