Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Diapers on my path to faith.

Since it was mentioned in church, this conference talk "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ"   by Elder Kevin W. Pearson, has been in my thoughts. A lot. 

And when things are in my thoughts, they come out my mouth, to my friends on the phone and then they think and talk about them too. Which can be very helpful.

Elder Pearson's 6 Destructive D's
Doubt, Discouragement, Distraction, lack of Diligence, Disobedience adn Disbelief 
 were so apparent patterns in our day-to-day lives!!!

When I would catch myself wanting distractions I could think, hmmm, why am I feeling discouraged? Had I been diligent and obedient about tapping into true, Spiritual sources of encouragement? or was I setting up my expectations based on others, or what I thought I ought to be accomplishing? 

Elder Pearson explained, "Discouragement comes from missed expectations. Chronic discouragement leads to lower expectations, decreased effort, weakened desire, and greater difficulty feeling and following the Spirit"

My friend and me, struck by the reality of this "pathway"  of destructive D's
decided to try and figure the path out in reverse...a path we could choose that would lead us to  greater faith, or at least one we could make a u-turn on, if we recognized ourselves heading int he wrong direction.

We decided you start with belief. (not faith yet) 
Just a desire to believe, like we learn in the scriptures (Alma 32)

Then we just need to obey. Just do what we know we're suppose to. Even when we're feeling rotten or lazy, or tired. Even when we feel like we can't possibly get anything out of our scriptures, or have time for service, or even stay awake for long enough to mumble a prayer. 
Just do it anyway, just to be obedient.

Obedience will grow into diligence. This is where following commandments becomes more habitual in our lives, a part of life. Less of a duty and more of a part of life we look forward to.

Diligence (in prays, scriptures, service) bring us closer to the Spirit which offers us a greater vision, and increased focus. With this eternal perspective in mind, the worlds distraction become less appealing, and loose their hold on us, allowing us to break bad habits, and make better choices. 

The Spirit fills us with understanding, and 

Not some "out of our hands", mystical faith, but faith we can actively work towards, faith that can be given to us. An endowment for trying to follow the Saviour.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “Faith is a gift of God bestowed as a reward for personal righteousness."
Elder Pearson further encourages us with this concept of our ability to choose faith! 

Desire, hope, and belief are forms of faith, but faith as a principle of power comes from a consistent pattern of obedient behavior and attitudes. 
Personal righteousness is a choice. Faith is a gift from God, and one possessed of it can receive enormous spiritual power.
We do have a choice. We get what we focus on consistently.

So often I act as though I have very little control over how I'm feeling. I am a victim of my own discouragement and dependent on my own favorite distractions. I don't want to admit that my own lack of diligence is at the root. 

I mop around thinking "If I can just get my closets to look like this bloggers" or "my wardrobe to be as cute as this friend" or my children as well behaved as this neighbour", or "my writing to be as clever as so and so..."

How can I be so quick to forget that the only true source of encouragement, of hope, or strength is the Saviour and my own willingness and determination to align myself to His Will for me!

I forget. But the moment I tap back in. 
The instant I finally give in and kneel, 
or open my scriptures, instead of another widow on my laptop. 

He flows back in. 
So close.
So ready to help.
And gives me light. 
(Which I then "high-light"  :)

Today he gave me these...

To let me know my labours aren't in vain, even though the laundry's never-ending, 
&my kids can make messes faster than I can deal with them.

That I can be content. That I can learn to love the up s and downs, the days of abounding, and the days of hunger and need. I think I thought "All things" meant great, or hard things. Today it meant a variety of seemingly small things, and things that are repetitive and relentless in their dailyness. It meant, I can stay calm when McKye is a booger, and I can find the humor in  yet another colosal mess, that I can keep  trucking along with Aaron, despite feeling totally burnt out with it all. 
I can. 
With Christ strengthening me. I can do anything He requires. 
But  He gets to choose. Not me.  
And finally, this:
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Jesus Christ...[who] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant"
Like a mom. 

As I read that (Phil 2:7), all I could think/feel was I'm choosing to be like Christ. How can I bemoan the my life as mundane, when I have the chance to try and learn to serve continually as Christ did?  Suddenly, the things I do everyday of "no reputation", like fishing the dirty diapers out of the toilet bowl (again),  ceased to be merely gross, inconvenient and unfair, but they became opportunities to humble myself, in a submission that one day may change me enough to lead to my own exaltation. 

How grateful I was, that I decided to stop and "recalculate" my journey towards  doubt and discouragement, and instead said, 

"Lord, help be find a path of faith, and focus instead."

I still had to clean up the diapers. But somehow it wasn't so bad.