Friday, August 15, 2008

"Well, Jesus Loves Me Fine"

When I started this blog, I had this idea to title every entry with an R.E.M. lyric. I decided that would be difficult and too gimmicky, but when I feel bad, I sing that line at the top of my lungs.

Lest anyone worry over my last post, I feel better today. Because Jesus loves me fine. My home teacher gave me a blessing last night. My decision to confide in him was probably as helpful as the blessing. 

Tangent: Last fall, I read an article in the New York Times about the function of dreams. The gist of it is that dreams are a way of working out fears in a safe environment. A nightmare, defined as a bad dream that wakes you up, is a dream dysfunction because you don't get to finish working out your fear. Children tend to have more nightmares than adults because they have had fewer years to work out fears. 

For the past several weeks, I've been waking up almost hourly because of bad dreams. Last night, I slept 4 hours before my first nightmare, which is a huge improvement. While I was at work this afternoon, I was thinking about how much happier I was after a good night's sleep. I mean, I was up to my elbows in greasy dishwater, but I was happy and singing contentedly and much louder than I usually would in the company of others. I attribute this to the blessing.

I thought about how much more helpful than counseling that blessing was. And then I thought of Elder Packer: "True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior." I thought about my own study of behavior. The past several weeks of counseling have been more stressful than helpful. The cognitive behavioral approach to therapy, which my current psychologist and which my original group psychologist took, doesn't work for me. I tend to feel pressure to do things that clutter my life without helping me. Keeping a journal of my fears and conducting informal experiments to see what happens when I overcome avoidance are not for me. For a while I needed a counselor so I could dump all the emotions that had built up over 2 decades, but I stopped needing that more than 2 years ago. I don't need to unload anymore. I need more faith. I need a better understanding of the nature of God. I need to remember that Jesus loves me fine.

Current song: "Make It All Okay," R.E.M.

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