Sunday, October 29, 2006

It only happened once...then it happened again

I was called to the new stake RS presidency...again. This time I am the 2nd Counselor, still Education, but for whatever reason the Pres decided that #1 will be Enrichment gal and #2 the Education gal. O.k. So we had our first meeting together as a presidency.

In the first hour of this meeting we talked about many things. One of topic was about a small group of young women who became pregnant while still in their teens or early 20's. "They're just defiant, rebellious, I guess. They come from terrific homes, loving families. It's a puzzle why they would do this to their parents." was the response from one of the women at the table. Another said, "It's sad."

I piped up and said that "it was neither sad nor a rebellion against the parents but rather a lack of knowledge. A misunderstanding of who they really are. If one truly gets who they really are, they would never allow themselves to be abused, mistreated, disrespect, or seduced to a state where it endangered their standing in the eternities. Somewhere in their childhood they missed that 'child of God' lesson, or they didn't feel it enough to believe it."

I got three puzzled looks as they tried to understand what I was trying -obviously without success- to say. I think there is a lot of "psycho-babble" out there, a lot of excuses to be sure, but I also think there is something to knowing who you are. If I really believe that I am a literal Spirit son or daughter of God (any God- you don't have to believe in the same God as me, just that you are definitely Divine in nature) then chances are you will have self worth.

Now I know, there was a time back in the 80's when we all blamed every ill character trait on our lack of self esteem... but think about it. If you think you are it and a bag of chips, you won't take crap off of anyone. No one would talk down to you without your correcting them. No one could make you feel bad, hurt your feelings, lure you into something stupid to elicit sympathy or friendship. You would be confident to say "yes" and "no" when you wanted to, rather than going along with someone else with pressure for some form of reassurance or validation. You would be king! Kings answer to no one but themselves and God. Not arrogance or conceit, but true confidence in who you really are and your worth in general - enough to stand up for yourself in any situation. There would never be a "just this once", or "He said he was sorry, but I was too pretty (or made him mad), and it happened again." - "What happens between two people is their private business. Besides, it's only now and then." - "She was my best friend, don't you do things for a best friend?" and "No one will ever know except me."

The discussion at the table went from rebellion to "perhaps these girls were trying to get attention from their parents". My argument still stands. If they know who they are -the attention would be nice, but not necessary. "My father pays no attention to me, so I am going to my boyfriend to get the love I need." O.K. you're dad's a jerk; but if you think you are o.k. then you certainly don't need him to tell you what you already know. "I'm o.k. I'm lovable. I will be loved eventually by someone who deserves me." The thought of cheating on a test, engaging in chemical abuse, driving too dangerously, lying to another person -or ourself, would be beyond our comprehension. A child of GOD would never do those things because it would be beneith them to do so. The more we realize our worth, who we are, the closer we come to not wanting to risk our personal self. We want to rid our self of those habits, tempatations, or incidents that hamper our progression towards our eternal Home.

I have a friend who, somewhere along the way, lost herself to an abusive eternal companion. She did not start out in life loathing herself. She started out thinking she was smart enough, thin, educated, and pretty enough to land a guy. Trouble is the guy she got had grown up in a home where values got skewed. Not to excuse his behaviors, after all he has agency as well as the next guy, but he learned that in order for him to be "o.k." he had to be in control. Control meant power, power meant authority, and authority meant everything. Without authority he was nothing.

Little by little he demeaned his wife to the point where he robbed her of her family, isolated her from her friends, and closed her world up teaching her through words, actions and emotional outbursts that she had somehow "changed" and was losing all value in his eyes. She was becoming stupid, weak, incompetent. Day after day these drills took their toll until she no longer believed she was worth anything. She allowed herself to be abused, fearing that she had no power and that no one would believe her because she was incapable of communicating and articulating what had become the reality of her life. "After all, [she] was the cause. [She] made him, forced him to abuse her because she was worth less and somehow less than the rest of God's children." What esteem she had for her Divinity had been slowly grated away and replaced through trusting her most sacred companion... in his eyes she had become nothing. Because she trusted his judgment of her, she believed she was nothing and that she deserved what was coming to her day after day for 30 years.

People can be taught to love themselves or to hate themselves. When the latter occurs, they begin to doubt their own judgments and allow others to make decisions for them and the abuse begins. Whether beatings, verbal, or allowing someone to seduce you into thinking they love you only to satisfy a moment in time or even to "just this once" with a promise of future (not present)'s all because we forget that "I am God's child and you better back off before you mess with me." "Mess with me and you mess with my Dad...who just happens to rule the universe, SO BACK OFF!" "I know I love you and that you love me, but I refuse to lower my standard for either of us, because I am better than this small moment of temptation."

I am not sure that I ever made my point at the meeting, or even here. However the main thing is this: We are in this together. When we sit together we need to edify each other. To build each other as much as possible. Don't allow someone near us to feel they aren't worth everything. The members of the church, moreso than any other group, should understand their worth. Yet, we can see the depression on the faces of those around us. We hear the stories of lives that have been shattered, postponed, hearts broken and Spirits struggling to find a way back into a world where they know -for sure- they belong.

I wish that I had the ability to convince people who they really are. None of us are perfect, however when we understand that this whole planet was designed for our benefit, we do try harder to keep our Divinity closer, to grow more, to be happier, to earn those things our Father has; we fight for our Spirit, we guard our selves and protect our souls from harm. We treat others with respect and Christ like love because we know who they are too.

The worth of souls is great in the sight of God...and it should be in our sight as well.

add to sk*rt


chronicler said...

I couldn't agree with you more. In fact, I wish everyone would read this post and say, hey you know she's right.

I hear people say all the time that the first law of heaven is obedience. Wrong. The first law of heaven is agency. We have the right to choose. That's a big one. However, if you're never taught how to choose, and why you choose (because who you are) it get flubbed up.

We had such a lousy childhood, yet a great childhood. What does that mean? We learned what was essential. We learned what you have espoused. For all the terror, we learned crazily, who we were, and who our real parents are. Thanks S'mee. I'm glad you're my sis.

grettir said...

Brilliant, s'mee. Absolutely brilliant.

This post was a swift kick in the pants for me, and couldn't have come at a better time. Thanks...

Yolanda said...

Is there ANY question as to why you were called to this position?!! What a beautiful message...We all need to see through these glasses...Not only for ourselves, but as we view each other.

Love it!!

s'mee said...

Thanks to all of you, you make me feel smart today! Who knew? haha!

When I taught 'cemetary' I had the kids write their names in the scriptures whenever possible. I think it works very well to say:

"I S'mee, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my Father..."

and have it mean to me personally that I *WAS* Spiritually born of Goodly Parents, I *AM* a child of God, and being somewhat taught in all the learning of my *Father* I *CAN* accomplish much while I am here.

I am still being taught all the "learning of my Father" and man is that a thick book!

Chronicler, the knowing does out way the terrors! : >

Grettir, I am always shocked (don't know why, but I am! :> ) when you read my 'stuff' and comment. I hope whatever is going on in your life becomes settled soon. You're one of the neatest people I know and those little girls are very lucky to call you dad.

Yolanda, same. You flatter me. If you knew me in real life you would be doing the same head shakin' the entire stake is! haha! I am so goofy -there is some sceptisism in the ranks and many prayers that include "let her learn quickly before she takes us all down with her!" lol

Throwing water out of the boat with a teaspoon, love to you all!

Lisa M. said...

I love you!

ames said...

Great post, s'mee. I'm a newly called YW president and your post (along with Thomas B. Griffith's excellent article in this month's BYU Magazine) has helped me focus my emohasis for 2007. I think it's vital that young (and old!) women really understand who Christ is and what He did so that they can understand who they are and what they need to do. Sounds pretty elementary and obvious, but your post helped the obvious become even more obvious to me. Thanks!

ames said...

Oops. That would be "emphasis."

s'mee said...

Welcome Ames! (terrific name byw) I am glad that this makes sense! I hope to see you more!