The principle of meekness is a new one for me to study. I've always seen it as someone who is humble and nice to everyone, but it's so much more than that. It is the humility to relinquish our will in place of Heavenly Father's will for us. It is having a spirit so in tune with God that we are constantly allowing our characters to be shaped and refined in every way that God knows will make us like Him and, ultimately, happy.
There has been one trial for me specifically that I have not been able to shake. One day I feel like I get some perspective and that I can move on, and the next day I am discouraged and heartbroken. Yesterday I was discouraged because of my discouragement! I've been feeling like I'm not making any progress in applying eternal principles to my life so that I'm actually improving and becoming more like my Savior. I often go on bike rides when I feel really crappy, and last night I was listening to music and feeling lousy, but then I stopped riding, pulled out my earbuds, and prayed mightily to my Heavenly Father. I told Him I knew what was true and what was important, but I kept having trouble feeling the importance and motivating myself to get up and DO what God wanted me to do.
I got back on my bike and put my earbuds back in. My ipod was on shuffle and the next track was Neal A. Maxwell's talk, "Meek and Lowly." I know, I've already referenced this talk in previous posts, and I've listened to this talk hundreds of times, but I kept listening for any words of encouragement or direction and it was like the talk was brand new for me. I found several points of doctrine that have stuck with me:
1. "Meekness is... so much more than a passive attribute that merely deflects discourtesy. Instead, it involves spiritual and intellectual activism."
God wants us to act. I am so often content to float by and pick up revelation as it passes me by, but it is when I am searching for truth that I find the most valuable messages Heavenly Father has for me. It is when I am keeping my eyes open for promptings that I am growing and becoming more like the person God knows me to be.
I had gotten the feeling all throughout General Conference that these doctrines I'm learning aren't meant to just sit in my head and give me a confidence boost every now and then. God wants us to strengthen our foundations so that we may help build up the Kingdom. I have gifts, we all do, these gifts were given to us by our Heavenly Father so that we could help each other. I've learned that I need to be better about seeking connections between myself and others that I interact with. We are all in need of growth and promptings that will help us come closer to Christ. We are all in need of love and guidance. Without actively serving those around me, I am merely stuck floating in a kiddie pool of spiritual niceties.
2. "Astonishingly, to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe! If only you and I can avoid being offended by their generosity."
These trials that I am experiencing are blessings. They remind me of the eternal truths that surround me. They humble me and help me turn to my Savior. Our Heavenly Father has great plans for us. He wants us to be happy and He knows exactly how we can do that--each of us, individually. He knows what we need in order to be perfected. I need to recognize these opportunities for me to grow and then take them. I need to see my trials for all their worth and thank my Heavenly Father for respecting me enough to challenge me with an experience that will take me to the next level of living. As the scriptures say, "For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace" (D&C 93:20, emphasis added).
I can be so discouraged by my situation that I don't see the eternal plan at work here. I thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me, bit by bit, to become like Him through situations that change me for the better. Hopefully I'll also be able to grow in times of prosperity as well as times of trial.
3. "Meekness and patience have a special mutuality. If there were too much swiftness, there could be no long-suffering, no gradual soul-stretching, nor repenting. With too little time to absorb, to assimilate, and to apply the truths already given, our capacities would not be fully developed."
Going along with #2, I have noticed that often my trials are not difficult because of the content, but because of the duration. I struggle so much with repeated heartache that I can't seem to shake and it is during these long spans of anguish that I need to remember that, were my trials to end as quickly as I pray them to, I would not have time to marinate in the gospel the way that I do when I am tested.
I promise you that your character today, all of the positive qualities you possess, have come from long processes of developing those qualities. It only makes sense that any situation we're in that is refining us should take a while until it is engrained in our souls. I suppose that's why patience is such an important quality to develop and why God has a lot of it.
4. "Meekness also contains a readiness that helps us to surmount the accumulated stumbling blocks and rocks of offense; we can make stepping stones of them and achieve a deeper and broader view of life."
These stepping stones are what I'm coming to realize will help us be more like our Savior. We are able to receive glory with each circumstance we encounter. It is only when we internalize these lessons we learn and then act to help others that we improve. I've realized that the more I rely on my Savior in these times of stretching, the more peace I feel as more trials come. I'm starting to see more of what my Heavenly Father wants for me instead of what I want for myself, and hopefully I am becoming that person every day. For now, I am striving for meekness. I am striving for the character that welcomes times of growth so that I can one day be like God. I am seeing the gifts God has given me and now I must use those gifts to help my brothers and sisters and to help God.
I promise that if we seek for meekness in our lives, our trials will be seen with an eternal perspective. Our characters will continue to improve and we will find ourselves filled with joy. This joy comes from knowing what God wants for us and, in turn, wanting that for ourselves as well. It's a long journey, friends, but God lets us grow grace for grace. I only hope to take each grace and make the most of it.
I guess my take home message is this: Keep stretching, keep looking for God, and you'll have happiness and power to change.
Love to you all,