This last week I was teaching Sunday School. The lesson was Press Forward With a Steadfastness in Christ, covering 2 Nephi 31-33. It's been interesting, seeing how the Lord speaks to me. I've tried taking a leaf out of Sheri Dew's book and asking the Lord how He communicates with me so that I can be more receptive to His guidance for me, personally.
Well, in preparing this lesson, I asked the Lord for guidance so that anyone who might need it would receive revelation from my lesson. As I delved deeper into my research, though, I realized that this lesson was for me. I needed to hear this and I should keep my heart open to the lessons I'd be learning while I taught. As Nephi says, "the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding" (2 Ne. 31:3).
This idea of pressing forward is what I so need to embed in my character. It is easy to ride the peaks and valleys of my experiences and let my circumstances dictate how I act, but that is not the Lord's way. As I mentioned in my previous post, it is easy to numb myself to pain, but it is the Lord's way to sharpen my senses to the Spirit. Satan is the propagator of numbness. He invites us to turn off feeling so that we don't recognize the distance growing between us and God. As Boyd K. Packer said, "The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear."
So how can I overcome my challenges and trials if I'm not supposed to be numbing my pain? This is where the Spirit spoke to me. This is where the Lord spoke according to my understanding.
We had just discussed how we can consecrate our performance to God. Neal A. Maxwell says, “In pondering and pursuing consecration, understandably we tremble inwardly at what may be required. Yet the Lord has said consolingly, ‘My grace is sufficient for you.’ Do we really believe Him? He has also promised to make weak things strong. Are we really willing to submit to that process? Yet if we desire fulness, we cannot hold back part! Having our wills increasingly swallowed up by the will of the Father actually means an enhanced individuality, stretched and more capable of receiving “all that [God] hath.’ Besides, how could we be entrusted with His ‘all’ until our wills are much more like His? Nor could His 'all' be fully appreciated by the partially committed."
We really are expected to devote every action of ours to the Lord. What am I doing every day? How can that action serve the Lord and build up His kingdom?
Sheri Dew ends her wonderful talk, "You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born For Glory" by telling us, “God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ, with Their perfect foreknowledge, already recommended every one of you to fill your mortal probation during the most decisive period in the history of the world. You are here now because you were elected to be here now…. I am nothing if not optimistic about you, for everything about your lives is an indicator of our Father's remarkable respect for you. He recommended you for now, when the stakes are so high. Now is the day when His kingdom is being established once and for all, never again to be taken from the earth. This is the last leg of the relay. This is when He needs His strongest runners.”
I then ended the lesson with my testimony. It was in this testimony that all of the concepts I'd been discussing for the last hour hit me. It hit me hard. I couldn't speak for a few seconds-- I'd been caught off guard by the clarity of this revelation. The Lord not only loves us, He respects us. We are here with a duty to perform and we have been given very specific gifts to perform them. The Lord knows who we will be put in contact with, and what experiences we will endure. He equipped us with our gifts and talents to aid each other and to aid Him.
I'd had a recent experience with a friend that really opened my eyes. He listed some wonderful traits he saw in me and he said, "You're so good at being that person, Whitney." And I realized that when I'm fixated on my problems or my shortcomings, or how differently everything's turned out from what I've wanted, I'm not that person.
I challenge you to ask God to show you how He sees you. When you realize how you look in His eyes, it will be the driving force behind your efforts to press forward.
Now, there will still be times ahead when I am discouraged and lost, but I must remember to press forward and become the woman God knows I can be. I need to not only remember this, but feel it. Feel it so intensely that I am driven to act every day in the ways that would bring me closer to God.
I knew I had to write this down quickly, before I forgot. I don't know if it will help anyone else, but this post is my personal testimony that, in the grand scheme of things, this is the plan of happiness.
I love you all,