This morning we are preparing for another General Conference. Well. We could be preparing. The children are finishing up their breakfasts and watching VeggieTales. That’s their idea of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Ha ha.

But it does give me just a few minutes to finish up this blog post. I’ve been working on it much of the week. It’s given me a lot to consider.

Let’s talk about Brooke Snow and “spiraling up”.

The idea is this: We spiral down – we never drop straight down, and hit the bottom. It is a spiral. We also can spiral up. It also isn’t a straight shot.

“Both directions travel incrementally. And each turn in the spiral is created by a choice we make or a thought we choose to believe.”

Those “turns” in our spiral are moments in which we can decide what thought we will have, and what action we will take. And those “turns” can be turning points. Or they can push us further into that spiral.

“When we refuse the apology and we hold the grudge, or when we feel shame and we believe the interpretation of events so freely given from Satan’s perspective, and we are lead downward.”

The scriptures always use almost extreme examples to teach us a point. The scriptures use extreme examples of downward spirals that could have been turned to an upward spiral, if the right choices had been made at a turn.

Laman and Lemuel, after Nephi shocked them with the power of the Lord, had the opportunity to turn and then remain faithful. Instead they murmured, and continued to seek to take Nephi’s life. (1 Nephi 17)

Saul. He started off good and wise. But then he went into a downward spiral. Saving some of the cursed goods from the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15. Seeking to kill the prophet in 1 Samuel 16. His jealousy of David in 1 Samuel 18. Slaying all the priests in 1 Samuel 22. And in chapter 24, David shows mercy on Saul and saves his life. It seems to me that that would have been an opportunity to turn that spiral. Saul continues to kill and to conspire, until he loses his kingdom.

How about Pilate? He avoided responsibility for Jesus’ judgement. And when that responsibility was put back on him, he had Jesus scourged. His wife sent him a message – an opportunity to turn (Matthew 27:19). But he chose to allow the people to crucify Jesus Christ.

How would their lives, and history, be different if they had taken those opportunities to turn? There is no way to know. And we are not the judges.

But it is very appropriate to look at our own lives. How would our lives be different, if we took the opportunities presented to us, to turn, rather than continue the downward spiral? Or resisted the ample opportunities presented to us to turn from our upward spiral, downward, in pride and sin, and choosing darkness instead of light?

“It doesn’t matter where in the spiral you are, it only matters what direction you are facing… The direction you face determines the direction that you spiral.”

What do we do in those turns? How do we stop the momentum of spiraling down?

“In the scriptures, this process of re-turning and spiraling up, is probably the most common theme we hear about. The Lord calls this re-turn, ‘repentance’.”

Let’s look at the definition of repentance, found in the Bible Dictionary:

“A change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world… a turning of the heart and will to God.”

We move up instead of down. We move toward light instead of toward darkness.

I think understanding that definition can expand our mind about repentance. What does that actually look like? Do we culturally or absent-mindedly limit it or keep it abstract?

“Have you ever felt the change of heart that can come by going to bed and getting a full night’s sleep? The whole world can absolutely look different in the morning! ‘The bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.’ Repentance can be getting a nourishing meal. Have you ever felt the change of heart that can come by going from a hangry state to suddenly having things feel and appear so much better? Repentance can be going outside in nature…if you unplugged for long enough, your soul feels totally revived. You suddenly feel a change of mind. A fresh view about God, about oneself and about the world.”

What are some of my change-of-mind experiences?

  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Getting a good, healthy meal
  • Talking to someone who understands me and loves me
  • My prayer closet
  • Taking a break from my day-to-day activities
  • Thought download
  • Cuppa
  • Bike ride – moving my body
  • Breathing
  • Taking a nap
  • Positive affirmations
  • Reading my scriptures

“I think we have limited our idea of repentance for far too long. We relegate it to making amends or feeling remorse or trying to not do bad things anymore… It can be gloriously so much more.”

And apologizing and relinquishing bad habits and fixing relationships etc are also part of repentance. But my ability to do those things is so much greater when I am in a place where I am already facing up – I am facing the light. I have cared for my body and my spirit in a way that has me facing in the right direction.

Have you ever tried to make amends when you are NOT in that place already? Right?

Can habits of self-care be habits of repentance? Can I allow these habits of self-care to change my mind and give me a fresh view?

This morning our family is preparing for General Conference. We woke up tired. And maybe we’re distracted, too. Easter is coming up and the shops are out of Easter candy – the shops are out of just about everything. That is what happens with there is a pandemic, right? I’ve been on-line trying to figure out how to fill the children’s baskets. Silly things distracting me, right?

I want to have a change of mind, though, in preparation for General Conference. A re-turn to what really matters this morning. What can that look like for me this morning? Inspiring music. Healthy breakfast. Family prayer. Holding my children in my arms. A long hug from Bryant – it really “turns” me when he hugs me good and long. An organized home.

I am going to get at it. Happy Sunday!

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