The last few months have made me wonder about my life, what really happens, and where I'm going. Part of the time I find myself inspired and lifted by hope - convinced that everything will work out in the near future and optimistic through the rough points of my experience. Other days, I find that optimism wanting, and, when people ask how I'm doing or I take a break from the stress of everyday, I honestly look at my life and realize that it is not ideal. Nowhere near ideal. I have so many unsolved problems that I wonder if I will ever make enough headway to be a profitable servant in the Lord's kingdom, and at least a hundred reasons for why I haven't found the right girl become self-apparent.

I think this juxtaposition - the optimism and forward-acting nature of hope and faith, versus the fatalism and frustration of my interpretation of reality - is a big source of my difficulties in life. If I were blissfully unaware of the happiness that family life and better relationships entail, perhaps I wouldn't think about my own state as much. But at the same time, perhaps that same bliss would deaden the sense of urgency to move closer to Christ and become a better person with each passing day. Hence the positive and negative... and the power of having both.

Looking at my own life, much of the good I have accomplished has been due to the balancing of these two forces, and ultimately learning to submit to faith. My commitment to help others came out of it, as did many of the habits I learned as a missionary and serving in the Church. So did my love of people, writing this blog, and a hundred other things in my life - all held in place because of two very real truths - through living the gospel I can find peace and hope, and my life is sometimes not peaceful or hopeful. Which means that with each passing day, I strive to find ways to better live by the principles that I believe.

This trial - life - seems so incredibly perfect sometimes. Hard enough to make you cry and want to give up, yet just bearable enough to allow you the strength to turn to God, find faith, and thrive. If I had designed my life, I don't think I would have chosen the facets I've seen in a thousand years... and yet the task at hand matches me so perfectly. Am I willin to put everything - everything on the altar of sacrifice? Am I willing to live my life according to the tenets that God has revealed, even when they seem disordinately different from my own experience? And can I develop the faith I need to live, thrive, and find happiness in a dichotomous environment? I guess time, and the decisions I make, will tell whether my hopes influence and guide my reality, or the other way around.
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