Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lesson Recap and Video link

Daughters of God: Listening to the RIGHT Voice Inside of Us
Given by Devon Linn
Sunday, May 12 (Mother's Day)

So this topic today seems to be something the Lord wants us, as sisters in our ward, to discuss, and it has come from multiple promptings. First, I asked the Bishop a couple of months ago if there was anything new he wanted us to focus on for the year, and he told me that he felt really strongly that the sisters in our ward need to remember to try to see themselves the way that the Lord sees them. I mulled that over for awhile and we have planned a few lessons and activities around that general theme. But then I prayed for promptings of what we needed to hear during General Conference last month and I suddenly felt really strongly during President Uchtdorf's talk during the Priesthood Session that what he was saying was really really important for all of us to think about. As I went back to re-read what the Bishop had directed me on, I was amazed how exactly they aligned.  

I am going to read the portion of President Uchtdorf's talk that the Spirit struck as me being the most important thing for us all to hear (but since it was given during the Priesthood session, I am taking the liberty of changing all of the "sons and brothers" to "daughters and sisters" since the message is universal):

One title that defines all of us in the most fundamental way is [daughter] of Heavenly Father. No matter what else we are or do in life, we must never forget that we are God’s literal spirit children. We were His children before we came to this world, and we will be His children forevermore. This basic truth should change the way we look at ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and life itself.

Unfortunately, none of us quite lives up to everything that this title implies, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

It can be discouraging at times to know what it means to be a [daughter] of God and yet come up short. The adversary likes to take advantage of these feelings. Satan would rather that you define yourself by your sins instead of your divine potential.  [sisters], don’t listen to him.

We have all seen a toddler learn to walk. He takes a small step and totters. He falls. Do we scold such an attempt? Of course not. What father would punish a toddler for stumbling? We encourage, we applaud, and we praise because with every small step, the child is becoming more like his parents.

Now, [sisters], compared to the perfection of God, we mortals are scarcely more than awkward, faltering toddlers. But our loving Heavenly Father wants us to become more like Him, and, dear [sisters], that should be our eternal goal too. God understands that we get there not in an instant but by taking one step at a time.

I do not believe in a God who would set up rules and commandments only to wait for us to fail so He could punish us. I believe in a Heavenly Father who is loving and caring and who rejoices in our every effort to stand tall and walk toward Him. Even when we stumble, He urges us not to be discouraged—never to give up or flee our allotted field of service—but to take courage, find our faith, and keep trying.

2013 April General Conference, Four Titles, Priesthood Session - By  Dieter F. Uchtdorf

So we are HIS DAUGHTERS. We should know what that means, but we often forget to think of ourselves first and foremost as "daughters of God." I think this can be best shown with the example of how we, as women, think and talk about ourselves. One example is how women can become such complete pros at giving disclaimers or excuses over all sorts of things..."this gift isn't perfect...I look awful cause I'm not wearing any house isn't clean (when it sure looks it)....I'm the world's worst Visiting Teacher..." even my personal favorite "I shouldn't be allowed to teach this lesson -- I should be sitting there listening to someone else teach it, cause I'm not perfect at this topic yet..." (which obviously doesn't apply to this lesson, since I can't say that NOW that we're talking about it.)

President Uchtdorf gave a perfect example of this habit of women in his talk "Happiness, Your Heritage" (from the Relief Society Broadcast in Sep. 2008).  He explained the differences between how his wife feels when she cooks a perfectly prepared, delicious, beautifully presented meal and yet always has some disclaimer about needing a bit more ginger, or using just one bay leaf next time. President Uchtdorf, on the other hand, feels proud of his cooking when he burns toast or cooks fried eggs extra runny.

Even if you think, "oh, I don't do that" you occasionally do it without even realizing it, whether it's about your house, your clothes, a gift you give, your strengths and weaknesses, or even your thoughts or behavior. But it's not the disclaimers themselves that's the problem -- the root problem is HOW we are seeing and thinking of ourselves and where those voices and thoughts are coming from. 

I think it's important we understand the "why" and look inside our hearts and honestly ask ourselves some questions:

Why do we do this? What makes us feel that we need to focus on the negatives about ourselves?

Answers from class:
  • Feeling insecure in ourselves and our strengths
  • Fear of Being Judged (and partly, by judging others)
  • Feeling less than others because of comparing ourselves unfairly
  • Fear of being thought to be imperfect (or feeling guilty that we AREN'T perfect)
  • Fear that we aren't as good or loved as others
  • We are focused on OUR imperfections, yet only see other's presentable best
  • Feelings of our unworthiness, and disappointing the Lord
  • Feeling that we have to do everything ourselves, and fear of falling short.

ALL OF THESE COME FROM LISTENING TO THE WRONG VOICE! It is Satan who is making us think and feel these ways, as not good enough, not righteous enough, not worthy enough, not pretty enough, not friendly enough, not enough, enough, ENOUGH!

So we need to ask ourselves another question:

How can we stop listening to Satan's Lies and instead listen to the Savior?
  • Spend our time and energy doing the things that help us feel the Spirit on a consistent basis. He is the real "JUDGE" to help us listen to the right voice.  This includes all of the "Sunday School answers" like pray, scripture study, and church attendance.
  • Pray for DISCERNMENT specifically and often - that we can see ourselves the way the Lord does. Pray for EACH OTHER -- especially your fellow sisters in the gospel  Pray that they see themselves more positively.
  • Remind each other! When we hear each other saying negative things about themselves, maybe say..."Oh, none of that. Give yourself a pat on the back this time, you are amazing!"
  • Take the time each week during the sacrament to pay attention to the right voice to guide you in your focus to overcome weaknesses. What a perfect time and place to renew that covenant with the Lord and aligning to His plans for you!
  • EVALUATE OUR PROMPTINGS CAREFULLY (Guilt vs. Shame)  If we're doing something that goes against the Lord's commandments for us then the Spirit can tell us to change -- but the Spirit is never going to make us feel bad about ourselves for things that aren't spiritually important for ourselves or others. President Coe talked about this at the Adult Session of stake conference last week when he talked about Guilt versus Shame.  He taught that we need to evaluate what things in our life give us a sense of guilt -- what things make us feel the euphoria of confidence in the Lord -- and what things make us feel shameful and alone. He taught that the Lord, even when He shows us our faults, always uses a spirit of Hope. We need to focus on listening to the promptings to change that bring us the Lord's confidence and to avoid the voices that pull us into shame and isolation.

Start Today: Listen to the RIGHT Voice! 

True joy, the elusive thing we are all searching for, comes only through a firsthand, personal, intimate daily relationship with Jesus Christ–this is our goal. Don't let Satan's lies keep you from Him.

Quote: Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside. -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
You are each amazing women, and I hope that the point of this lesson resonates with our gospel knowledge that we are divine daughters of God.  We are great as we are... with make-up, without make-up, with enough money, without enough money, with a dirty kitchen or a burnt dinner or a gift someone doesn't want....the Lord sees us as amazing and "good enough" because we are HIS, and He made us!  I know that someday we are going to be blown away when we realize what He sees as really important, because I have seen that in you. The service you all give so readily, the comfort to those in need, the ministering to your visiting teaching sisters....YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!  Please start recognizing that in your lives.  Please give yourself the same benefit of the doubt that the Lord expects us to give each other.  And you will find, in humility with the Spirit this truth-- you are the Lord's creation that you are often throwing darts at.  You are HIS, and the great things you do are gifts from him.  Don't throw mud on His masterpiece.

And if you need help reminding yourself what the RIGHT voice sounds like, it will sound something like this:

You are a DAUGHTER of God.  You are his child!  He loves you unconditionally. He knows your individual potential and progress. He does not rank you or compare you with anyone else. He KNOWS you're not perfect, yet he is proud of your righteous desires!

And above all remind yourself that no mistake, no weakness, no past behavior or trial is outside of the healing and redemptive power of the Atonement. His grace is sufficient to make you whole.  And we need to bear testimony to that truth by how we treat and think about ourselves everyday.

Here is the video we didn't get time to watch, because we were too busy eating cheesecake. Enjoy watching, and remember that each of us are individuals and that we are HIS daughters!

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