We are getting a lot of Jody Moore this week! No particular reason. There are just several podcast episodes that peeked my interest. And the children really enjoy listening to her, too.

Today was a fun, short episode to listen to: Sneaky Little Thoughts.

“Sometimes…we have thoughts that sound useful. They feel necessary. They sound pretty or righteous or feel very justified and reasonable. Maybe other people offer them to us or agree that they are the right thoughts. These sneaky little guys are the ones I want to talk to you about today. They can be just as detrimental to us as the more obviously negative ones, and your ability to identify them for what they are will help to give you authority over them.”

I can tell you a few that I have. Let’s do some thoughtwork today, surrounding these sneaky little thoughts.

  1. I just want everyone to be happy.
  2. They shouldn’t have to suffer.
  3. Should or shouldn’t

I just want everyone to be happy. What is wrong with that? It sounds good. It sounds so sweet. But everyone’s happiness is a circumstance – it is not in our control. And by trying to control everyone’s happiness, we can be manipulative or dismissive or maybe we even accidentally teach our children that emotions are bad – unless you are happy you are feeling a wrong or a bad emotion.

What is a healthy alternative to this sneaky little thought? I am honored when you are able to show your emotions to me. Or, I can be a safe place where they can feel whatever it is they want to feel. Those are thoughts that we can have, that will serve us much better than I just want everyone to be happy.

They shouldn’t have to suffer. That thought sounds so altruistic, so noble. But it doesn’t serve me well. And it certainly doesn’t serve them well. It dismisses reality. Life is pain. And that is a reality that is meant to serve us. Did you know that? Did you know that there can be purpose in pain?

A couple quotes for you on this healthy pain I am referring to here:

“When we think of pain as a problem, then we want to solve it. Instead of asking what’s a better solution to pain, I want you to go back even further and question whether pain is even a problem. And I want to suggest to you that it isn’t. Pain, no problem, I’ve got you. I’m willing to experience pain on purpose in order to ________________.

A lot of people are willing to experience physical pain on purpose in order to be healthy physically. They’ll hike up mountains and they’ll run on treadmills and they’ll lift weights.”

“Pain on purpose” or “pain in order to ____________” includes the pain I felt each time I went into labor with one of the children. It includes the pain my daughter felt when she hurt her best friend’s feelings. It includes the pain we feel when we are fasting for two meals, to give the money to the poor, or for another worthy cause. It includes just the day in and day out problems, inconveniences, and even suffering.

“All of us have problems. We face them every day. How grateful I am that we have difficult things to wrestle with. They keep us young, if that is possible. They keep us alive. They keep us going. They keep us humble. They pull us down to our knees to ask the God of Heaven for help in solving them. Be grateful for your problems, and know that somehow there will come a solution.”

President Gordon B Hinckley

Pain on purpose includes the pain the Father felt, watching His son suffer in Gethsemane.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.”

Romans 8:32

Pain on purpose includes the pain the Son felt:

“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit – and would that I might not drink the bitter cup…neveretheless…I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.”

Doctrine and Covenants 19:18

What is a healthy alternative to this particularly sneaky little thought? Instead of wishing for no pain on a person – a wish that is utterly impossible – what if we thought, They are strong, and I am strong. I love them. Maybe there is something I can do to help them.

Should or Shouldn’t. What about any thought that includes “should” or “shouldn’t”. I really shouldn’t be eating ice cream right now. Or, I should have been there for her in her time of need. Or, My kids should do a better job on their math homework. What is wrong with this is that it’s casting judgment, and in a shame-ridden way, right?

Alternative thoughts that will serve me better? I didn’t do that, and I had a good reason. Or, I did that thing that I didn’t want to do. I wonder why that is. What is going on that I would do that thing? Curiosity will serve us much better than condemning ourselves or our children.

“Be patient with yourself. Perfection comes not in this life, but in the next life. Don’t demand things that are unreasonable, but demand of yourself improvement. As you let the Lord help you through that, He will make the difference.”

President Russell M Nelson
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