The handful of life-altering events that shape our lives

Our lives are full of spiritual and meaningful experiences.  If we are listening, we will constantly be given small nudges and bits of guidance to help us in our lives.  Are we aware of them? Do we notice them? Even more, do we purposefully ignore them (we know it is occurring and choose to not act according to the prompting that we are receiving).  I know these small, gentle opportunities are constantly in my life. They have been as small as the thought to return and check to see if I had forgotten something. They can be a bit larger, such as the idea or prompting to call, text, or visit someone.  I know I am a better person when I decide to listen to this still, small voice known to me as the Holy Ghost.

There are also more rare life-altering or life-changing spiritual experiences.  These are typically a large event or the culmination of small events that lead us to a large change or decision in our lives.  These are much less frequent. Most people say you can count them on one hand. Here are a few of mine that have brought me to where I am in life today.

Deciding to serve a mission for my Church – Many young men in my Church serve a two year mission when they turn 18 (it was 19 when I served my mission).  This is a time when young men and women dedicate their whole selves to learning, sharing, and teaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This life-altering event is one of two or two events that I melt together.  The decision to serve and the subsequent service both have helped shape me to become the person that I have today. A leader in the Church, Elder Richard G. Hinkley, once gave a talk discuss what membership in the Church meant to him.  From his talk I began to draw a line of decision making where I can say that everything good I have in my life is from my membership in the Church. Everything! The two years I served as a missionary are a big part of that chain of decisions, and I know it blessed my in my journey from adolescence to fatherhood, professional, and friend.

What does my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mean to me? It means everything. It influences, enlivens, permeates, and gives purpose and meaning to everything in life that is important to me: my relationship with God, my Eternal Father, and with His Holy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Marrying my wife – Coming on the heels of my mission I returned home and began preparing to return to the “real world” that was University.  I had put in a large chunk of my studies before serving a mission, and I was just getting back in the swing of things. My first semester back I was working for a company (that I only knew about because of serving a mission) and was constantly juggling between work and school.  On one of my first free evenings, I was put on a blind date with my future wife. I knew within a very short amount of time that I loved this woman, and set out on another mission to get her to reciprocate. This decision to pursue and marry my wife was very spiritual in nature, as we attended the Temple together to pray and ask if we were to be together forever.  Every day with her is a blessing, and our life together has shaped our future.

Self-acceptance/Self-understanding what defines us as a unique individual – In the last five years I have learned the power of self-acceptance.  There are a few things about myself that I had never shared with anyone. I internally struggled and swung from lack of understanding to shame and back again for decades.  It is only through my wife that I have put myself on the path of self-acceptance. This path has led me to sharing with her my little side. This is a life-altering experience that I am still on today.  This post is a manifestation of my desire to link myself and the belief system that I live. I am finding the Gospel in the life I live and the decisions that I make. I will continue to be on this road, and appreciate everyone that has joined me on my journey.  My wife, anyone reading this blog, and those in the ABDL community that I have been interacting with these past few weeks. You know who you are, and I thank you for your friendship.

The decision and choice to balance – Our lives are more and more often filled with a #firstworldproblems (First World Problems – things that tend to consume our lives that are generally superfluous in nature).  Distractions are abundant, and we have to choose to keep ourselves centered and balanced for a healthy life. If we are married and/or have children this is even more important. It does not take much to upset the apple cart, and swing our personal, professional, and spiritual selves out of balance.

While diapers help bring balance and comfort to many of us, please do not let it take over.  Make them a tool in your tool box, a part of your arsenal in a well-balanced life that you enjoy living each and every day.  If you do not feel you are living a life worth living, something you love, then take a moment and look inside. Have a tough conversation with yourself, and look for where that imbalance is.  It might be your little side, and that is okay.

Remember, always take time for the things that matter most.

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

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