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How I Manage the Pain and Pursuit of “Think Celestial”

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It’s hard to believe embracing an eternal perspective might be painful, but for me it is.

While President Russell M. Nelson’s recent invitation to “think celestial” was both beautiful and inspiring, it left me questioning why I often struggle to expand my view in a way that is fulfilling and leads me closer to Jesus Christ.

To be honest, the answer is complex.

Because I live with severe mental health issues, thinking too far ahead not only causes me anxiety, but it also makes me less able to focus on God’s hand in the present. It’s hard to accept that certain blessings, such as the return of family members to the fold or the healing of my mind, are likely not going to occur. If I’m meant to carry this heavy depression all my life, with true joy and freedom reserved for the next life, then why am I still here?

Yet on the other hand, I can easily become obsessed with what the future holds and go to extremes to try and prove myself worthy of gospel blessings. I miss what God is doing for me right now and the ways in which I’m spiritually succeeding.

These are all deeply personal problems that I’m wrestling with God to heal. I’ve been learning a lot. I believe in pursuing the mindset of “think celestial.” As I’ve reviewed President Nelson’s counsel and pondered on what has and has not worked for me on this spiritual quest, a few things came to mind.

Enjoy Felicity with God NOW

I really appreciated what President Emily Belle Freeman said in her talk, “Walking in Covenant Relationship with Christ.” 

She said, “A covenant is not only about a contract, although that is important. It’s about a relationship.”

For me, “thinking celestial” is embracing my covenantal relationship and living freely in the knowledge that I am loved. After all, I am in the middle of my relationship with God. I am not some strange creature, conforming myself to be acceptable, but a beloved child. I don’t have to wait to enjoy the fellowship of God’s love and spirit.

By striving to do the things that foster that relationship and spark faith in my own divine nature, I am able to be more spiritually driven and focused. My relationship with God is driving and inspiring me, not fear.

Pursuing Eternal Blessings

I won’t lie—sometimes the weight of my own hopes and dreams can be crushing. Have you ever wanted something so much or hoped for so long that you felt you couldn’t bear it anymore?

It’s hard to keep up your spiritual fortitude and motivation when these times come. Yet, I’ve found it’s important to ask, “What am I pursuing? Am I pursuing something right now?”

I often find myself just standing still, hoping desperately but also too scared to hope at the same time. This personally leads me to inaction.

Constant pursuit, as guided by the Holy Ghost, gives me courage and confidence. It also helps me take a step in the dark as I contemplate what I truly desire and how I can achieve those things through the power of God. This includes understanding what eternal blessings await and how I can appreciate their eventual arrival, even if it’s a long time off.

Most importantly, am I pursuing Christ’s heart? Do I long for what He longs for? Do I live the way He would have me live? President Henry B. Eyring taught, “If you want to receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost, you must want it for the right reasons. Your purposes must be the Lord’s purposes. The key for me and for you is to want what the Savior wants.”

Trust God’s Plan is Good

In many ways, our world is in disarray. It’s easy to look at the circumstances around us and lose the ability to “think celestial.”

The final thing that has helped me is striving to remember that God’s plan for His children is good. He desires our happiness now and in the eternities.

There’s a lot I don’t know. There’s a lot I don’t have control over. But I can have faith in the covenant path before me and in the nature of God and His plan. If we don’t believe God wants the best for us, we will lose spiritual momentum and power so quickly!

Thinking celestial is not only a mindset but the way we live our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. It won’t always be easy, but we can fix our eyes on the One who loves us and He will show us the way.

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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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