I've been thinking lately what my next post should be about, and for some reason, this is what kept coming back to me. This is pretty personal stuff, so bear with me, but I thought it might be of some help to those that are struggling. I got to thinking about the times I struggled with meeting my fitness goals, and in connection, just struggling to find the strength to make things happen and really, to be happy. My sister is such an example to me. It was when she started praying for the strength and discipline to lose weight, that it happened. She prayed for the strength to withstand the temptation to slack off with her diet, and she was able to get past that roadblock. When I started to get stronger spiritually, is when things started changing for me (once again, not to say it's perfect).Praying for needed strength and guidance not only gave me the physical strength, but it gave me the courage to do things I never thought that I could do. It has really got me thinking, how many times do we "run" away from the things that are hard because we think we lack the strength and discipline to do them? In turn, we make excuses and say,"it's just too hard" and so we never try. Or we decide to live a life of ease and comfort rather than do the things we are afraid of? How many of us deep down inside long for that strength and wonder how much better life would be if we had it? If we made an honest effort to do hard things, how much more would we progress and grow? We can do hard things! We all can! We all have the ability to surprise ourselves. I surprised myself. When I was younger, my grandmother used to say,"Rachel, do one hard thing everyday." I would joke and say,"I did, It was getting out of bed."
What connected these things together for me was an experience from when we lived in Boston. (Included above are some pictures of the beautiful Boston Temple). I have never actually wrote about this so I thought this would be a good time. I was faithfully going to the fitness center in our complex every day. There was an older,stalky man that worked there. I wasn't sure where he was from, he didn't speak much English. He cleaned the exercise equipment and mopped the floors in the fitness center as well as vacuuming the floor in the apartment buildings. In fact, he was so dedicated it was hard for some of us not be a little annoyed when he tried to clean the equipment while we were using it! I think that most people would not think twice about him, just being a lonely little janitor that went quietly about his business. I took my baby girl with me to the fitness center and set her on a blanket with toys. He loved saying hello to her and seeing her gaze up and smile at him. He would laugh and say,"Hello baby" and "beautiful." So, while I was there, we started to exchange very brief conversations, mostly because he didn't speak English and I didn't speak his language. I asked him one day where he was from. He was from Brazil. One day, he excitedly told me in broken English that his daughter who was still in Brazil got to come out there to see him. I found out he worked another job as well as this one. He soon told me he was quitting this job because the commute and time between jobs was just too much. I could tell he was just such a good, kind person. Randomly, a few nights later, we had the missionaries over for dinner. Coincidentally, one of the missionaries was from Brazil. When they asked us if we knew anyone they could get in contact with, I was like, "well, actually I do." I told them the story. The Elder from Brazil just happened to have a Portuguese Book of Mormon on him and wrote a note to give to him with the book. I was so nervous I told them I didn't know if I was brave enough to do it. I didn't want to impose too much on him. Being from UT, I never really had many missionary opportunities. Well, a day or two later I saw my friend from Brazil in the parking lot after my workout in the gym. My heart started beating really fast and I thought,"OK, OK it's now or never." So, I ran up to my apartment, wrapped the book and taped the missionaries note on top. I saw him and said."This is for you." "Oh thank you" he said. That was it. I was worried he wouldn't talk to me after that or what he would think. I came back upstairs and called my mom, my heart still racing (I had told her briefly about him earlier). I was so excited to tell her what happened. She answered and I said,"I did it!" It may have seemed like a simple thing, but it filled me with exhilaration, another kind of "high" I had never felt before. I was so happy. I couldn't believe I actually did it. I saw him on his last day and thanked me again. He said he hadn't called the missionaries yet, but he was going to. I decided not to ask, he just told me. I don't know if he has called the missionaries yet or if he will, but at least I won't always wonder about it or feel regret if I hadn't done it. I really do believe proving to myself I could meet my goals in other areas of my life, finding my own physical strength, gave me the courage to do other hard things. It helped me find the courage to do things I never thought I could do. I have learned how important it is not to sell yourself short or underestimate all the things you are capable of. I try to remind myself of this when I am struggling. When we are doing everything we can, all we have to do is ask, and we will get the help we need.