Friday, April 16, 2010

Are we there yet?

By Devon Linn

This probably won’t come as too much of shock to anyone, but I’m a still quite a few blocks away from perfection. I'm not expecting to be even close to perfect yet, but I keep hoping that I’ll see a sign somewhere that will tell me I’m at least getting a little closer on my journey (actually, something like the sign up above would be very helpful.) And luckily I don’t have to do it all on my own. The Lord helps continually by sending the Holy Ghost to let me know the ways I can improve in my life. But what can be frustrating at times is that I so often fail to follow these wonderful, divine promptings I receive that tell me what I need to fix. These promptings sometimes come to me while listening to General Conference, or a lesson in church on Sunday, or reading my scriptures, and then I usually do try to be better for at least a few days but then….*poof* they're just gone and I've forgotten the prompting and moved onto something else I need to work on. And I don’t think I forget because I’m lazy or don’t really want to be better, but it’s more because life just seems to get too darn busy and my brain just has too much going on to remember everything (or sometimes anything at all!)

I’m sure everyone has failed at least once or twice to follow a prompting (but just once or twice, right?). Usually for me, it begins with listening to a lesson or a talk and thinking, “Yes! I can do that and be better! I can improve in my efforts to ______________ (fill in the blank: pray more, work on family history, judge less, prioritize my time better, study my scriptures, etc etc etc).” But when it comes time to actually and consistently IMPLEMENT the change, I find myself too busy wiping peanut butter and jelly out of a 2 year old’s hair and simultaneously trying not to yell at my 3 year old who has just broken another lamp (true story) and I’m just so busy and exhausted that I’ve totally forgotten the prompting I received in the first place. Does this happen to everyone? Luckily the Lord knows and loves us, so he sends a lot of “reminder” promptings, because He just won't give up on us.

So when my wonderful visiting teachers came this week and read this quote from General Conference, it really hit home for me. It is from Sister Beck’s talk, and she said,

Good women always have a desire to know if they are succeeding. In a world where the measures of success are often distorted, it is important to seek appreciation and affirmation from proper sources. To paraphrase a list found in Preach My Gospel, we are doing well when we develop attributes of Christ and strive to obey His gospel with exactness. We are doing well when we seek to improve ourselves and do our best. We are doing well when we increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help others who are in need. We know we are successful if we live so that we qualify for, receive, and know how to follow the Spirit. When we have done our very best, we may still experience disappointments, but we will not be disappointed in ourselves. We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us. Peace, joy, and hope are available to those who measure success properly.

Oh, if I could only read this quote every day! Sister Beck’s words were exactly what I needed to hear to re-commit myself to try harder and keep working in the right direction. It’s not important to be hard on ourselves if we aren't perfect already, but it is important that we are trying to improve ourselves every day. I love that Sister Beck specifically mentions trying to develop attributes of Christ, because that goal seems to encompass all the other promptings I receive. I also love that she pointed out that doing our best still won’t keep disappointments away, because that’s just not how the plan works, but at least we won’t be disappointed in ourselves when we’ve followed the Spirit and done our best. I have felt the peace and hope that comes when we feel the Spirit working through us, and it is worth every effort I make to strive to feel that love and joy as often as I can while on this earth.

I love having the Gospel in my life, and I am truly grateful for promptings from the Spirit because I know I need to keep trying to be better. It can be hard to not let the world define success for us, but rather to let the Holy Ghost tell us when we have succeeded in our efforts to become more like Christ. I know that I won’t be able to reach perfection tomorrow or follow every good intention and good desire that I have, (in fact, probably by next General Conference time I’ll need another big kick in the pants to re-commit myself to implementing the promptings I receive again!), but I will keep pushing forward on my journey. Our Heavenly Father loves each of us, and He also NEEDS each of us to keep working hard to improve ourselves so that we can also help lift those around us. Women have the capacity to do so much good, and I am grateful to be surrounded by so many amazing women in the church, all who are on the same “road” so we can help each other on the journey!

If any of you has a suggestion on how you remember to implement changes you receive from promptings, feel free to use the comments portion to share your experiences. I'd love to hear other sisters' ideas on how we can be more successful in our efforts!

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