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Mormonism 101: The Void
What is "The Void"?
Ok, so maybe The Void isn't so much a Mormonism thing as it is a Wakerra-ism...thing...But it does relate to Gospel principles! Now that I've caught your attention, you're probably wondering "What the heck is 'The Void'?!?"
The Void is something we all carry with us. We've had it since we were born, and it will stay with us until we die. Its a sort of syndrome we can't escape, and ignoring it is impossible. For those in their younger years, or parents with small children, The Void is often known as the "Gimme Gimme!"
Though the grammar may mature as we get older, The Void still hangs on. It constantly nags us and hungers. We try to satisfy it, allowing ourselves temporary relief and pleasure, but the more we give into its insatiable appetite, the hungrier and bigger it becomes. Before we know it our lives are consumed by The Void, enslaved to its endless need to feed. In our insane scramble to overcome its despair-filled blackness, we become addicted to it's appetites, and before we know it, The Void has taken place of our lives.
No, The Void is not just limited to alcoholics, or recovering drug addicts. The Void, rather, makes a drug and an addiction out of any and everything!
The Stuff Syndrome is a good example of how The Void takes over our lives. The Void takes root in our pleasure receptors, it poison's our minds to make us think we need more to be happy, and so we feed that desire. We achieve a moment's pleasure and happiness, however it is always short lived. As soon as that happiness fades, The Void kicks in and craves more. It tells our minds that to truly be happy we must seek out MORE of that thing we enjoy. We begin to go through withdrawals as we ignore its promptings. We can't stop thinking about it, we begin to formulate ways to obtain that thing The Void needs. But the more we find ourselves feeding The Void, the more we find it consumes us
So, how do we avoid The Void?
Well, the bad news is, The Void will never go away, but the good news is it can be controlled. This may be easier said than done, however. You see, The Void is ingrained in our Natural Man, it's part of the carnal human nature that we're all born with. It comes as second nature to us, and often without us ever thinking about it. Like all things natural, we need to become aware of it, and we have to want to change it.
Unlike a bad habit, The Void will take more than a few days worth of re-directing actions, though this is a good place to start. One of the biggest weaknesses of The Void, is Gratitude
A Happy Heart
Focusing on Positives
Much like changing something negative to something positive, we need to focus our minds on the positive things. Why should we yearn for what we don't have, or lust after our neighbor's things? This only feeds The Void. Rather, when was the last time we stopped and truly looked at the things we do have? How much better off are we than others out there?
"If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in the bank, your wallet, and some spare change you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering. If you can read this message you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read it at all."
Prayer and the Atonement
While Gratitude can set at not the desires of ones heart, not all the time will this work, or be completely effective. Sometimes, we need to ask for help. It takes humility (which gratitude can help us find) to kneel down and ask God for help. He's always right there, waiting for us to ask him. He wants to help us, but he wants us to reach out to him first. "The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them." - Bible Dictionary: Prayer
True story: When I was on my mission in Minnesota, there came a time when I was informed that I would be returning home early to finish my work in service. Having this informed to me 3 weeks before the time I was to return home really took a toll on my ability to focus, and work hard in the field. I went through a phase known as "trunky", basically you give up on your mission and can't wait to go home. I didn't want to be trunky, but I just couldn't feel the motivation to continue. I remember one instance where I was really struggling. My mind was zooming every which way on everything, and I just couldn't focus on my work. During my struggle to get a hold of myself, I remembered something my friend had sent me in a letter when she was on her mission. It was something like "give it to God in prayer, and he'll take it from you".
I thought about this for a while, and decided to test it. I said a silent prayer to my maker. I told him I was struggling, and that I couldn't get through this alone. I said I knew that Jesus suffered these things, so that I might not have to. While I didn't understand the details, I trusted that he could help me. I imagined all my problems and emotions in a box, and I said in my prayer 'Jesus, please, take this from me for just a little bit so that I can concentrate on my work'. With that I imagined myself handing the box over to him and ended my prayer. I took a deep breath and did my best to forget about everything else.
I didn't notice it at first, but later I realized that I could focus again. I was able to get involved and cope with the work, while my companion struggled, I was able to be that anchor she needed that day.
Jesus is the Ultimate Healer
It seems we're all born with that "I can do it myself" attitude. We always have something to prove, whether to ourselves, or to those around us. Yet, why do we put ourselves through so much misery because we are too proud to ask for help?
Because we are all mortal, we cannot go through life alone. We will slip up, make mistakes, and sometimes fall into despair. While we may not be able to do anything for ourselves, there is one who has overcome all our afflictions, and his name is Jesus Christ. He is always there for us, reaching out for us, we just have to turn to him, and let him in
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