Monday, April 29, 2013

Our Thoughts Define Our Journey

I have to admit, it has been a few months since I have been out walking. It's not that I don't like to exercise, it's that I despise walking in the cold of the winter. Now that the weather is changing, though, I was excited to get back into the groove of things. My kids generally come with me on my walks, and they ride their scooters while I walk with a friend. Most of my children enjoy the experience, but I have one who hates it, no matter what the weather is. It is about a four mile walk, and I can understand that the length of the walk can seem overwhelming for a young child, but he is one of my older children, and I figure that if my 5, 6, and 7 year old aren't complaining, and they are girls, then he should be okay too. I told him we would be walking again and gave him plenty of time to process that it was coming, but for days, he was whining and complaining that I was asking him to do such a hard thing. 

The morning of the walk came, and I knew it would be a fight. He was dragging his feet, making the morning miserable for everyone as we tried to prepare for our 8:00 AM departure, pointing out every negative thing he could think of about the walk. I said a quick prayer that I would be able to help him understand the importance of attitude, hoping Heavenly Father would give me the answers. The answer came as soon as I finished my prayer. From outside my window, I heard the birds whistling their happy tune as they prepared for their day, building their nests and foraging for their food.

Immediately, I stopped my son and told him to listen. The bird song came in loud and glorious. I explained to him that the birds don't have all of the luxuries we have. They fly south every winter (they don't have a car to take them there) and then they fly back every spring. Once they get here, they don't even have a home, they have to gather the things to build their home, then build their home themselves. Every morning, they have to get up early to go out and look for their food in order to take care of their babies and make sure their babies are protected from predators. They don't have an easy life, and yet every morning, you can hear them singing. They are singing because they are happy, happy that they are alive, happy that there is sunshine, and happy that they are together. They never complain and they never give up, because if they did, they would never survive.

I then asked my son to look around him when we were on the walk and think of all the things he was grateful for, all the things that brought him joy and made his heart want to sing. The walk was a different walk for him today. He was smiling, and joyful. When we came home, I asked him how the walk was. He said, "Well, I didn't complain." I asked him if he felt happy. He said, "I did, and I think I want to do it again tomorrow." 

I thought about his answer, "I didn't complain," and  it made me think about the scripture stories. There are so many stories in the scriptures where wickedness and destruction first began with murmuring. Remember the children of Israel? They were given so many miracles but when they started to complain, the Spirit could no longer comfort them because they no longer left room for Him to comfort them. Once we begin to complain, we lose the ability to feel the Spirit, and once we lose the ability to feel the Spirit, so many greater sins can creep in until we are consumed by them. I am pretty sure that is why we are told time and time again that our thoughts will define us. They really will.

It wasn't just a lesson for my son this morning, it was a lesson for me too, and all of us. There is power in positive thinking, but there is power in negative thinking too. The question is, who are you going to give the power to? Who are you going to let define your journey? My son had a joyful walk today because he let the Spirit in simply by not complaining. We can all do the same. If our thoughts really do define us, then I choose to be happy. :) 


Wendy said...

Thank you Tiffany for sharing this. You are an incredible mother and woman! I appreciate your example and your special spirit you carry with you everywhere. You are inspiring!

Mike and Joy said...

Oh Tiffany, such a good way to handle your updates. Hug your children for me, it's been too long.

rebecca Dettinger said...

I love your insights. You are such a strong women! I miss you too, wish you were in our ward down here:)

marie setiawan said...

thank you and God truly speaking... this is what I needed in these moment of time... God bless you..

kristy edwards said...

I love this analogy. What a great thing to remember. I will be using this to teach my complaining sons as well!