First, Charity Wolf introduced the topic for the evening, and briefly told the parable of the 10 virgins, as told in Elder Robbins' conference talk, "Oil in our Lamps." She explained that as member of the church we are the 10 virgins, we are all invited to the wedding, but only 5 of us will be wise and the other 5 of us will be foolish. Now is the time in our lives to choose to fill our lamps with oil in different ways, and by setting goals in different areas of our lives we can continue to prepare for our Savior's coming. There are many ways that we can add oil to our lamps, but for the evening we focused on three areas: Personal goals, Physical goals, and Spiritual goals.
Jennie Boyer taught us about the first area of setting personal goals. She emphasized that she feels that we don't need to push ourselves too far in goal-setting, but just do what we can at our different stages of life. For her lately, getting to take a shower feels like she's accomplished a lot, so we need to be aware of our situations. Some of the other advice Jennie had for us was:
- Start Somewhere. If you never start, you'll never get where you want to end up. One good example is scripture study!
- Do Something that scares you (don't avoid attempting something just because you're afraid to try.)
- Don't Expect Perfection
- Shoot for 80%. This is something Brother Behunin lives by. If you can accomplish 80% of what you want to do, then you'll end up getting a lot accomplished in a lot of areas. That's much better than 100% in one area, and nothing in others.
- Just start with the small and simple things - they add up quickly!
- Getting organized in our lives makes us more efficient, and then we can accomplish a lot more in the same amount of time!
Sara Fultz then discussed how physical goals enable us to house the spirit of the Lord. She beautifully explained that our physical bodies are temples of the Lord, and by treating them as such our spirit and body can become our united "Soul." Other things she mentioned are:
- Endurance lessons we learn from enduring through physical exertion can teach us to endure in all areas of our lives and will help us endure spiritually hard times.
- Lesson: If you really want to change, it has to hurt.
- Quote from Elder Nelson: You may have heard the expression "mind over matter." I would like to phrase it a little differently: "spirit over body." That is self-mastery.
- Self-Mastery allows our spirit to govern our body
- Our bodies are submissive to our spirits as we develop, strengthen and nourish them. It’s a counter intuitive that we would have to focus on our body in order to lose ourselves in submissiveness to our spirits.
- The Spirit speaks as things really are. The world distorts those things - especially body image.
- Satan will never have a body, and so he tries to disconnect us from ours.
- The Word of Wisdom is a temporal law given to aide our spiritual vision and knowledge that we need to fight the craftiness of Satan’s work in the last days.
Amanda Hall was our last speaker, and she taught about how we can increase the oil in our spiritual lives. She re-enacted the object lesson of trying to fit too many objects into a vase on top of sand, only it won't all fit if you put in sand first. But when we put the important things first, then the sand pours into the cracks and everything will fit. When we prioritize and put the essential things that enable us to receive revelation first in our lives, then we will find that more things fit into our schedules. She told us how much of a difference studying the scriptures (as opposed to just reading them) can really impact our lives for the good and enable us to receive Revelation. "When you want to talk to God, you pray. When you want to hear what He has to tell you, read your scriptures." There are so many different things we can do to enhance our scripture study. We need to find what works to motivate us because when we feast on the words of the Lord, they will change us and make us valiant! Here are some of her ideas we can try to enhance our scripture study:
- Pray FIRST, then ponder and listen.
- Better than take 5 minutes a day than 3 hours once in awhile.
- Family Scripture Study
- Write in a journal
- Visualize the scriptures to remember them
- Use Institute Manuals (found online)
- Read whole Book of Mormon highlighting one specific topic (like love, Charity, the Atonement, etc.)
- Use note cards to jot down notes.
- Memorize scriptures so that they'll always be with you (the Scripture Mastery ones from Seminary are always good).
- Highlight different topics with different colors.
- Looking up words we don't know in Bible Dictionary, Topical Guide
- Actually check the cross references and study them.
- Get an old copy of scriptures and cut out the pages, glue them into a notebook. Then you can write your notes around the edges and have a lot more room to "rewrite" what your feelings and questions are.
- Ponder! Think about what you're reading and apply it to yourself.
- Study along with Gospel Doctrine or Institute classes schedules so you can discuss what you're reading with the class.
- Use some of the great new technology out there! There are so many great apps for phones and things to help us study the scriptures wherever we are!
We can all choose to make and keep goals so that we can be "wise" and prepared for our Savior's coming, and we truly thank all the sisters who taught us so beautifully this evening. The spirit was there as they bore testimony of the things they knew to be true and we were all strengthened as sisters.
After the meeting portion, we joined together as sisters in a service activity. We tied two fleece blankets for two sisters in our ward in hospitals who are unable to come to Sunday meetings due to health issues. This strawberry blanket was made for Sister Christina Ervin, whose nickname is "strawberry."
We made this green, blue, and brown floral blanket is for Sister Emily Brown, and she loved it and says "Thank You to everyone!"
We hope these sisters can feel the love our Relief Society has for them when they use these cozy blankets during the cold winter!
It was a wonderful evening of sisterhood chatting, eating, and feeling the spirit. We missed those of you who couldn't make it, and hope to see you next time!