Have you ever felt a wave of discouragement wash over you, erasing any sense of self-worth you may have had?
Has a cloud of darkness ever settled on your mind and your heart, creating a sense of hopelessness?
Have you been filled with thoughts of anxiety because of the unpredictability of life, making it impossible to feel any peace?
It happened to me in the past – frequently.
In the hymn “Jesus Savior, Pilot Me”* the following line describes times like these:
“Unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treacherous shoal.”
Life can be compared to an ocean journey, with our goal being to cross safely to the other shore. Unexpected trials are like looming waves that threaten our security, and the negative feelings and thoughts that accompany those trials can be compared to hidden rocks and sandbars beneath the waves that can damage our vessels and stop our progress.
In the past, those hidden barriers stopped me in my tracks. I’ve believed the negative thoughts, and allowed the depressing feelings to linger, because I didn’t recognize their source, and I didn’t know I had another choice.
But I have come to know two things that have changed my journey immeasurably:
- I’ve learned that those negative thoughts and emotions come from the adversary, my enemy, and are one of his most powerful tools in stopping my progress (see “The Chemical Spill”, on page 21 of Maurice Harker’s book “Like Dragons Did They Fight”**); and
- Because I have a Savior, I do have another choice.
Elder Klebingat taught that I can choose whether or not to allow those negative voices to chisel away at my soul. Of course I don’t want them determining my feelings and actions. So how do I stop allowing them to do so?
By doing three things: By choosing to turn to my Savior; by striving to bring my life in line with His teachings; and by allowing “the Savior’s Atonement [to] envelop and follow” me wherever I go. ***
I turn to the Savior by calling out the lies the adversary is telling me, refusing to believe them, and reminding myself of the truth about me and about my Savior.
I strive to bring my life into line with His teachings by studying His teachings daily, and praying to know what one thing I can work on that day that will bring me closer to Him.
I allow His Atonement to envelop me when I humbly repent, pray for His help, and then move forward in faith and confidence, taking one baby-step after another toward becoming the person I hope to be.
Consider the second verse of the hymn:
“As a mother stills her child, Thou canst hush the ocean wild.
Boist’rous waves obey Thy will when Thou say’st to them, “Be still!”
Wondrous Sov’reign of the sea, Jesus, Savior, pilot me.”
Our Savior has the power to calm the angry sea, and, as we draw near to Him, He can calm our troubled minds and hearts. As we strive to follow Him, He can guide our daily journey, helping us steer clear of those hidden obstacles that would slow – or even stop – our progress.
One last line from the hymn blesses me each time I remember it:
“Chart and compass came from thee; Jesus, Savior, pilot me.”****
Jesus knows the way. He IS the Way. As I turn to Him, believe Him, and follow Him, He guides my journey. I receive power to refuse negative thoughts and to replace them with truth. Once more, I feel peace.
And I promise that as you follow this same pattern, you too can feel the peace you seek.
*Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me -Text: Edward Hopper, 1818–1888 Music: John Edgar Gould, 1822–1875
*** “Approaching the Throne of God With Confidence” Elder Jorg Klebingat, Oct 2014
****https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK_rP7vfiUM (A beautiful rendition of the hymn performed by Rob Brandt and Scott Holden)
To learn more about managing negative thoughts, get a complimentary copy of my ebook at the following link and check out Chapter 9. I’d love to help you find the peace you are seeking.