How we work, and what we choose to work on speak to who we are. We are told that no amount of service will save us, but without working our faith is dead. It becomes a confusing line of what is appropriate. We are taught to work, and serve, and those acts are the manifestations of our faith and testimony. The key must be our recognition that we cannot work our way into heaven. Those works must be coupled with an understanding and testimony that we are only saved by Christ. His atonement, and our journey to personalize that sacrifice to our lives, becomes the key to our faith. The same key to our spiritual growth and long-term happiness and success.
Henry B. Eyring’s talk again comes to mind because it is not about praying for what we want, but what is right. What is actually needed.
Why does God allow evil?
Are we able to recognize that evil is part of God’s plan? It is part of the plan because He allows it to be. Otherwise, agency would not be exercised. “Our suffering is the result of God having to allow other people to have their freedom, even if they choose evil.”
He will give us His own words to share when we need them, but often not until the very hour or moment we need them.
I have felt this a number of times, and have come to rely on it. It is not that I do not prepare for important events or conversations, but that I have come to rely on the Lord that if I am trying to be worthy he will guide me in the moments of need. The words will come because the experiences I have leading up to that conversation. They will prepare and guide me in my execution of the conversation.
The peaceful and full feeling after these conversations are always so satisfying. Not that these are always great conversations, some are very tough, but the outcome of knowing that I shared what was in my heart is powerful. Peace from that also helps tame the anxiety and hesitation of sharing those hard things. The moments when we choose whether to shrink into the background, or stand tall for what we feel is right.
We will have joy and privilege in being His instrument.
I love serving others. I try to listen and do what He needs me to do. I know that I fail and miss countless times, especially in my calling. I also know that our patient, loving Heavenly Father is forgiving in my shortcomings. The feeling of service warms my heart. I don’t need to see the result (even though that is nice sometimes) to have the peace that I did something meaningful to my Savior.
We will have a peace that passeth understanding
I have felt this during service, and also through the reason I am taking this class. The balance and peace that comes is something to be sought after. It is that peace that helps us ride the waves of pain and uncertainty.
We will lose our disposition to do evil
Like a muscle we are trying to strengthen, it will hurt at first but it will get stronger over time. We gain an immunity (another medical metaphor) over time by doing the right things where we have less desire to do evil or other things.
“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives.”Ezra Taft Benson
Fear and faith cannot coexist in the same space. Just as light and dark cannot occupy the same space at the same time. We choose which we want to allow in. Many times when we have fear and feel anxious pain comes, and then a moment of choice presents itself.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”Viktor Frankl
What we do in that space is powerful and telling of who we are, and where we are in life. We must choose to force the fear out of our lives, and allow our faith to drive us. It will drive us into the dark farther, but that step into the dark often produces faith-building light.
Practicing means progress, not perfection.
Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. We cannot expect to be perfect the first time. The glory is in the “try,” the effort of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and open to the failure that will likely come. Perhaps not complete and utter failure, but some failure. We must learn to embrace the suck, and be okay with failure. Being agile (a methodology often used in software development) relies on our ability to embrace failure as a teaching tool for success.
Wading through tribulation.
The feeling of addiction and sin is often like playing with honey. It is super fun for about three seconds, and then we regret it immediately. The word wading makes me picture being knee deep in mud, struggling with each step, trying to escape with our shoes still attached to our feet. Sometimes we aren’t lucky enough to escape trials and sin inscathed (we lose our shoes), but we must keep the perspective that we can purchase new shoes, and losing our souls and eternal salvation isn’t worth a pair of Nikes.
We often don’t feel we can escape the mud pit of addiction alone. It seems hopeless, and feels like we are sinking deeper and deeper into a hole we cannot get out of. The simple truth is all we have to do is ask with an open heart and contrite spirit. His hands will be there, reaching out to pull us up and out of the muck.
In the beginning it is important to remember that only having a desire to believe is sufficient. We must plant the seed, and then feed it (allowing it to grow). Allowing it to grow means we much do our part, we must help it grow. Like infants, who are unable to care for themselves, we must safeguard this seed of desire. We must hold its hand, nurture it, and guide it along the path knowing full well it is going to make mistakes. Acknowledge that for a second. We ARE going to mess up, and that is okay. Again embrace that failure, properly managed, is a great tool for growth.
“We live far beneath our privileges” – Brigham Young
I believe that is almost all, if not all, self-imposed. We don’t trust, we don’t extend faith, we don’t believe in ourselves. We can live where the Spirit can guide us, but how much more are we capable of? We coddle and pad our kids in hopes of protecting them from things. How much are we failing our children by not helping them realize their fuller potential?
Choosing other forms of comfort – Are diapers replacing Christ in my life? They provide different emotions, and balance. Am I using diapers as a crutch instead of leaning 100% on the Savior? Is there a separation between the two, or am I only clinging to diapers? Why do we have anything in this life if we are supposed to turn away from all of it for the Savior? Is choosing to wear a diaper turning me away from the Savior? (Lots of questions, I know)
When I wear a diaper I feel closer to balance and peace. I feel like I am a better person, a more capable person, when I choose to wear. I don’t ALWAYS wear, and I do not feel the need to be in diapers all the time. The need or feel comes at various times and points in my life. It isn’t necessarily the same emotion or time or place. I have felt the need to wear when I’m happy and when I’m sad. I relate it to stress and pressure because of the immediate relief and benefit that I receive, but it is not the core time I turn to them. It is a feeling. My little side, perhaps? Something pulling at that part of me to let me know wearing a diaper is okay.
When it comes to starting down a path of change I believe the adage “We can do hard things”, or “We are created to do hard things” gets us to our knees. Knowing that we can be a useful tool or an instrument to the Lord in spite of our weaknesses and our faults gets us back off of our knees to take action.