Not everything that sounds good, is good. I learned this lesson the hard way when I was studying at the University of Utah and decided to listen to opinions of others instead of figuring things out for myself.
Back then, there were many “fad” diets going around and I lived in the age of the “fat-free” diet. No one explained to me that some fat was actually good fat and that my body needed protein to survive. Instead, I decided that I would only eat fat-free items for a month and see how it went.
My favorite “fat-free” food was Skinny Pop microwave popcorn and, since according to the fat-free diet, I could eat as much of it as I wanted without weight gain, I did just that. My lunch and dinner more often than not consisted of a bag of microwave popcorn and a glass of fat-free milk (I know, don’t laugh too hard).
To my utter amazement, I not only didn’t lose weight, I gained it and felt tired and moody all of the time — so I upped my exercise, which made me even more tired. This fat-free thing just wasn’t working for me like I was told it would.
I didn’t do my research on the diet — I just believed what I heard and went for it. Sometimes things that sound good don’t always produce good results. I remember in my early married years being approached by a neighbor who was constantly drinking. She could be seen drunk by 10:00 in the morning on a regular basis. I always felt bad for her and her kids, who sadly were being neglected because of their mother’s poor mental and emotional state.
That day she came up to me with mockery in her eyes and laughed at my ignorance at having never felt the “calming effects” of alcohol. She claimed it was the secret to her happy life. She could take a horrible situation and drink it away in a matter of minutes. Her joy came from a bottle and, according to her, I was a deprived of that joy. Unbeknownst to her, I was going through a hard time at that time and her words made me wonder: could alcohol take away my problems, if only for a minute? I remember quickly throwing the idea from my head only to have it sneakily creep up on me every few days.
Then one night I was given the answer I truly needed and have always been thankful for. My family had just returned from a boating trip and my husband and I were in the front yard wiping down our boat when my neighbor came over more drunk than I had ever seen her before.
She proceeded to make an absolute fool of herself that night — she sang and danced, fell all over herself, and acted ridiculous for a good 30 minutes until my husband and I could escape into the house. I heard the words in my head, “If my neighbor doesn’t have control of herself when she’s drinking, who does?” So the next day when she called to apologize, mortified at her actions from the night before, I was able to calmly say, “And now you know why I don’t drink. I don’t ever want to give my right to choose to someone else. Satan has control when we lose our self-control.”
I will ever be thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who taught me a valuable lesson that night. Relying on Him for knowledge, strength, and understanding will always outweigh whatever worldly “fads” may appear. He will never give us misinformation or lead us astray. He has given us prophets and apostles who will always give us correct information and perfect understanding. We came to this earth to fight for the right to choose. May we ever choose to lean on the Lord and follow His perfect plan for our happiness and eternal reward.
Janette Beverley is a lover of life, family, music, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy, and has five amazing children and one equally amazing husband. Janette is excited to be writing for LDS Blogs and sharing her love and passion for finding the miraculous among the mundane, the awe-inspiring among the obvious, and the uplifting among the underestimated. To read more of her work, you can visit Janette's personal blog here.