A Pattern for Love: Recognize, Receive, Recall
My son tries everything he can, short of embarrassing himself, to show love to his little sister. You know how teenage boys show love: teasing, tormenting, tickling.
My daughter does everything she can to not receive his so-called affection. You know how teenage girls resist love: squealing, running, hiding.
Their back and forth game prevents either one of them from receiving the support the other could offer. I pull them apart to separate corners and point out the obvious. If only one could receive and then reciprocate, the silly cycle of sibling love avoidance would end. Someday they might honestly admit affection.
But how similar I am.
I misinterpret love from others and then react without receiving love that is offered—especially when I need that love the most. When I pull back during challenges, almost recoiling into myself, I sometimes assume God withdrew his love rather than choose to see he is right there. Or, I focus on the hardships I have rather than the blessings.
Take an inventory of your life
and look specifically for the blessings,
large and small, you have received.
— President Thomas S. Monson
This teaching from the recent General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints adds to my understanding of how to change negative patterns of thought into optimism. Gratitude, I’m finding, is an essential part of this process. It goes right along with the 3 R’s to not forget the Lord’s love that I shared at a women’s conference last weekend.
Recognize. To recognize is to know or identify from past experience or to perceive or show acceptance of the validity or reality of something. Recognizing is to understand how the Lord loves.
The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, kindness, protections, assurances, guidance, loving kindness, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through he Lord Jesus Christ.
As we’ve gone through this difficult financial period in our lives, I’m learning to see and record these evidences for what they are rather than allow them to disappear into murmurs of being without.
Receive. To receive is to take or acquire something given or offered.
When we struggle, as so many do, in grinding poverty or when our enemies prevail against us or when sickness is not healed, the enemy of our souls can send his evil message that there is no God or that if He exists He does not care about us. Then it can be hard for the Holy Ghost to bring to your remembrance the lifetime of blessings the Lord has given us from our infancy and in the midst of our distress.
The Comforter brings peace, but I so easily chase those good feelings away with doubt in the realities that seem to be before me. I want to focus on that hope to carry me through rather than the fear of the unknown. I do have a choice.
Recall. To recall is to remember or recollect, to summon back to awareness. Whether we are looking over one day or over our lifetime, we can find blessings large and small. Some of them we’ve recognized before as a tender mercy from God, but we’ve forgotten. Others we may have noticed but never received. With some quiet time—that may seem unproductive at first—we can recall how much he has done for us.
I practiced this last night by just sitting still in a chair and looking out a window at the sunset over the gold-leafed trees in our yard. For one who thrives on talking and writing and expressing myself, I am renewed by the quiet love I found and felt through that reflection.