OPRAH’S SUPER SOUL CONVERSATIONS – Episode 17 July 2018
Let’s talk about ME, and let’s talk about GOD: What is MY part and what is HIS part?
I want to have a changed heart. Can I change my heart with my own efforts and sacrifices and thought-work, etc etc? Or can I only prepare myself in hopes of being gifted a changed heart from God?
I have looked for the answer in a lot of different places and in discussions with different people. I don’t know that I have an answer. But I have some ideas. Let me share some things with you:
1) The Brother of Jared and the miracle of the sixteen stones (Ether 3)
BROTHER OF JARED’S PART: The Brother of Jared “went forth into the mount … and did molten out of rock sixteen small stones; and they were white and clear, even as transparent as glass…” His part was to climb a mountain, molten the purest rocks he could, then bring them before the Lord in prayer.
THE LORD’s PART: “The Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger.” “(And they did) shine forth in darkness.” The Lord Himself took The Brother of Jared’s efforts and transformed them into a miracle.
2) Psalms 27:14
OUR PART: “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage…”
HIS PART: “He shall strengthen thine heart…” This speaks of patience on our part, and a change of heart as something the Lord will gift us on His time.
3) The Sacrament Hymn, In Humility, Our Savior
OUR PART: Bless the bread and water in His holy name – the Sacrament.
HIS PART: “Fill our hearts with sweet forgiving, teach us tolerance and love.” The hymn leads me to believe these are things we can and ought to pray for, maybe especially during the Sacrament, but that He is the one to grant the gift of a forgiving heart, a tolerant heart.
Okay. I wanted to share those things. I think it’s significant, how much the Lord will do for us, in His way and in His time! I praise Him for His gifts to me – He is true to His promises. He will do HIS PART.
Let’s look at today’s podcast with Brene Brown. I really enjoyed her brilliant mind this week in my studies! What does she say about OUR PART, specifically our part in the forgiveness process?
First, we definitely have a part! And it’s vital – our part. Sometimes I think, if I don’t do anything, “time will heal all wounds”. And time helps, for sure, in some situations especially. But let’s take responsibility for some things here, right? Let’s do our part.
And the large majority of our part happens right in our own minds.
We often tell ourselves “dangerous stories” about someone’s behavior or about a situation, or about whatever we are struggling with. That is on us. That is our part of the problem, right?
“We are hard-wired to make sense of hurt, as fast as we can. And if we can come up with a story that makes sense of it, our brain chemically rewards us for that story. Whether it is accurate or not… We all do it.”
When you are struggling, the stories you make up about the struggle need to be really tested.
When we were living in London, I was large and pregnant with Matthew when a dear friend came to stay with us. I was incredibly uncomfortable, but I also really wanted to take her to the tourist sites.
And when we got to St Paul’s Cathedral, three children in tow, we sat down on the grass along side the cathedral, for a rest. Blessed relief.
Then my son, 4 years old at the time, came to me, his little legs dancing. “I need to use the loo.”
There are few public toilets in London, and none that I knew of in that neighborhood. Remember: I was big and pregnant and he had a small bladder. So I told him to go on the bush, aside the cathedral.
The look my friend gave me could have killed a cow. I immediately made up a story in my mind. She thinks I am a bad mom. I knew she was only ever disappointed by me. Etc etc.
“And then all the sudden I am working up a whole narrative. (And then) how I treated (her) the next time I saw (her) was off that narrative. It just keeps going and going.”
How do we stop this from going and going – these narratives, these dangerous stories?
RECKONING –> RUMBLE –> REVOLUTION. And let’s use my story to better understand.
I have to acknowledge a button has been pushed – something emotional happened inside of me when she looked at me like that.
“Get curious about what that is, instead of immediately going to a crazy story. ‘I don’t know what just happened, but I am feeling stressed out about it, and I need to find out more. I am willing to get curious about that emotion and look into it.'”
Brene Brown calls that first crazy story we make up an “SFD”, or Stupid First Draft. Only, she didn’t use the word, stupid. Ha ha!
We make these SFDs up for survival. The minute we have a threat, our brain says, give me a story that tells me who is safe who is dangerous. We make up that story – good guys, bad guys, the whole thing. We are trying to make sense of things too quickly.
“Everything about who we are and what we need to work on lives in that SFD.”
“Let’s toss this thing around, poke it, get really curious. I need to start asking myself, what do I really know?”
A story with limited factual data points that we fill in with our own ideas and beliefs is a conspiracy. Her words. And that conspiracy – any conspiracy – is dangerous. And we are doing it to ourselves all the time.
Challenge those things! Rumble with the story – those thoughts.
- What more do I need to learn and understand about the situation
- What more do I need to learn and understand about the other people in the situation
- What more do I need to learn and understand about myself
“We need to get the story to serve us well, because it will dictate how we move forward.”
“Revolution is simply when this process becomes practice… It is turning things so upside-down, so uncomfortably that you can’t go back.”
So, back to ME, and back to GOD. I’m thinking this out. I’m “rumbling” with this idea: Is it possible that the “reckoning” and the “rumble” are MY PART, and the ultimate revolution is HIS PART? I do my part, and He touches my efforts and transforms my efforts into a miracle?
I’m thinking out loud here, in this space. I like to categorize things. I like to say, MY PART, and, HIS PART. I like to do this because it makes sense to me. I like checklists. Up to this point, I feel like they have served me well.
But, I am venturing out into new territory – a new point of view. Maybe MY PART and HIS PART aren’t quite so clearly defined.
I was talking to my friend the other day about my battery-powered bike. The way it works is this: I pedal, and it matches my efforts. I pedal hard, it helps me more. I pedal less, it helps me less. But, as long as it is turned on, and as long as I am pedaling, my battery is helping me, all the way up as well as all the way down the mountainside.
It does not wait for me to be so tired, so exhausted of strength that I cannot pedal another foot before it turns on to help. It does not wait for me to finish MY PART before it finally kicks in and does IT’S PART. It is with me all the way.
I have been working and praying and fasting and trying to wrap my brain around the change of heart I so desire. I want to forgive. I want the emotions that come with this change of heart. I am pedaling, my friends!
But I am not alone.
I think the Lord was with the Brother of Jared (Ether 3) as he climbed the mountain that day. And I think He was with the Brother of Jared as he searched for the purest stone.
I think He sits with us, as we “wait on Him” (Psalms 27), and the next day while we are still waiting on Him and praying for Him and struggling to know Him. I think, like that battery in the back of my bike, His help is ever present. The steep hills still make me sweat and shake, and my muscles cramp. But I only have to turn off the battery for a second to realize how much help I am receiving, every revolution of the tire.
Pedal through it, Rach. Be comfortable being uncomfortable, Rach.
I love this. Brene Brown closes with a one-item list of what “risers” have in common: The willingness to be uncomfortable and feel their way through emotion.