Sometimes amidst all the pressures that life has to offer, I lose sight of why I do the things that I do. Its easy to do really. Add on some extra insecurities, a smidge of loneliness, maybe some extra stress and a sense of complete inadequacy (all this being encompassed under the heading of dental school daily life) and suddenly you cant remember why you started this entire progress and why you continue with your current lifestyle. I know that probably sounds hideous to more than one person, but honestly, with most of my close friends being non-mormon sometimes I feel like an outsider in every group, like I dont really fit in anywhere, and even though I know that the church is true, I wonder on occasion why I never feel good enough and feel so on my own. I dont love going to church out here. It honestly is a weekly struggle. Because while I'm terribly insecure at church, surrounded by complete strangers, I also feel isolated from my own group of friends.
Lately, for some reason people have been asking me a lot of religious questions involving my beliefs. Besides feeling completely unprepared slash a little on the not qualified to answer questions about the church slash put on the spot, I've been trying to answer to the best of my knowledge and be open about what I believe. Which is difficult for me, because I find spirituality so very personal, and I am not great about letting people know me in such an intimate way. I have all these habits of mine, that people take notice of or are curious about and sometimes its hard to put into words why I do the things I do.
We had a lesson in Relief Society today about testimony. And the big point that she was making was that too often, we let our testimonies be filled with our gratitude and love (which are both good things) but there isnt enough actual knowledge. Being grateful is good. Having a love for God, our families, friends and fellow man is good. But testimonies need to be grounded in knowing something is true. The power of our testimonies comes from our knowledge.
While I ran Saturday, I just kept thinking about going hiking with Dee and Lucinda on Sunday instead of going to church. Its not really a big deal, but the more I thought about it, the more I had the overwhelming feeling that I dont go to church because I have to. I want to be there. Even when I dont. I am not really sure what was different about this night from other nights. But my need to be at church was palpable. It quite honestly made me remember my first year of University when I had realized that no one was going to make me go to church. And I had to choose whether I would continue to go or not go. It still amazes me that almost eight years after I first really made the decision that going to church regularly is what I want in my life, that I would come to the same conclusion again. As I meandered home after my run, I thought a lot about the feelings I was having. And how good it felt. I worried that my friends would be disappointed on me bailing, but I knew I needed to bail regardless of whether or not this would result in me feeling left out.
I know that going to church is something I want in my life. It is the right choice and a good choice. Even if it is hard. And it was really nice to have the reminder that I possess that knowledge still.