Today I'm talking about trials. My personal belief is that there is more equality in trials than we admit.
I am addressing trials generally here, and talking about ways to HEAL from them and in them.Boyd K. Packer:Our lives are made up of thousands of everyday choices. Over the years these little choices will be bundled together and show clearly what we value.The crucial test of life, I repeat, does not center in the choice between fame and obscurity, nor between wealth and poverty. The greatest decision of life is between good and evil.We may foolishly bring unhappiness and trouble, even suffering upon ourselves. These are not always to be regarded as penalties imposed by a displeased Creator. They are part of the lessons of life, part of the test.Some are tested by poor health, some by a body that is deformed or homely. Others are tested by handsome and healthy bodies; some by the passion of youth; others by the erosions of age.Some suffer disappointment in marriage, family problems; others live in poverty and obscurity. Some (perhaps this is the hardest test) find ease and luxury.All are part of the test, and there is more equality in this testing than sometimes we suspect.Boyd K. Packer, “The Choice,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 20
I'm talking about understanding trails and I will generalize.
Please answer the following multiple choice question:
Trials on earth are a result of...
a) genetic predisposition
b) learned behavior
c) sin, Satan, God not loving you enough, your not being good enough
d) personal choice
I see 4 parts of trials- physical trials, learned behaviors, spiritual influence, and personal choice.
I see that people often debate these 4 parts as different views, much like people argue Evolution vs. Creationism.
Either gay is a physical, genetic behavior OR it is a sin.
Either depression is caused by Satan OR it is a very real, physical disorder caused by chemical imbalance.
Either addiction is a choice OR it is an illness.
Often we will read a study or a talk from a religious leader that "proves" one side of the equation an use that to disprove another part.
For example, in the LDS church, Elder Holland gave a beautiful talk (Like A Broken Vessel- read it here) on "Major Depressive Disorder" where he describes this as "an affliction so severe that it significantly restricts a person’s ability to function fully, a crater in the mind so deep that no one can responsibly suggest it would surely go away if those victims would just square their shoulders and think more positively—though I am a vigorous advocate of square shoulders and positive thinking!"
Immediately members of the "mental illness is genetic" club praised this talk as PROOF that depression was clinical, like diabetes. AND IT IS.
The problems with this multiple choice view of trials is very apparent.
A narrow minded view of trials limits your ability to heal. You can't cure your problems this way. It simply, in most cases, does not work.
If you believe that depression is purely physical, you will take medication to fix it. When you don't feel fixed, or hit another difficult bump in the road you are unequipped to handle, you will return to the doctor to get more and more and different medication. You will feel helpless and panicked and physically pre-destined to a life of depression that you "can't help".
If you believe depression is purely a learned behavior, you will feel a panic to learn, to read, to have somebody tell you how to do it right. You will know David Burns, oprah, Buddah, read every book, seen every documentary, spend years seeking truth... You will convince yourself that there is some secret that everybody else knows that if you could just figure out you would be normal. Your knowledge would be great, just as your emotions might STILL be, um, depressed.
If you believe that depression is purely a spiritual disorder, you might spend weeks and weeks praying, fasting, going to the temple, doing alms... and, MAYBE God will grant you a miraculous healing. He can and He just might. But, He might not and you would still be just as depressed (albeit a bit more spiritual) than you were before you started. (I've tried this... this is my option of choice.)
If you believe that depression is a choice, you probably will push your depression into anxiety. (I've heard anxiety is more common these days.) Depressive feelings will scare you and convince you to exercise more, eat healthier, serve more, clean more, go, go, go, do, do, do. And, this might work. Or, you might end up tired, accomplished, and depressed.
I have been surprised at how similar the path of physical healing mirrors the path of emotional healing. These principles are true if you are healing from a broken leg, a stomach virus, or anxiety.
Trials are, by nature, multi-faceted. The correct answer has to be e) all of the above.
Trials are physical, learned, spiritual and we always have choices!! Evaluating our trials from these different perspectives helps us to heal.
This is SOOO important.