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Monday, October 8, 2012

Feeling It

Hello! How are you this chilly Monday morning? Our roommates and I have decided to limit our electricity use during the winter, so we're bundling up and Mal and I get to sleep in the coldest corner of the house. Actually, it makes me super excited for the holidays! Cold weather always makes me think of trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving turkey trots, and Christmas. This is the best time of the year!
Anywho, I wanted to post today because while listening to General Conference this weekend, I realized that I need to be more engaged in my gospel studies. I've discovered that posting blogs about my questions and experiences helps me to get my thoughts out there and it also helps me look for things to learn every week. I guess it puts me in a more receptive mindset for the inspiration God's waiting for me to receive. So I'll be posting every week and hopefully get more engaged in the gospel and more active in developing Christ-like qualities.

Today, I want to discuss the talk that put me into this mindset. Well, there were many (such a good session!), but I'll save the others (especially Jeffrey R. Holland's) for when I have a bit more stamina. (: Today I'll be discussing the message I took from Quentin L. Cook's talk, "Can Ye Feel So Now?" It really got me thinking. I decided to open Alma 5 and look at the advice Alma gives:

Alma 5:9 And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love. And I say unto you that they are saved.
 26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
 33 Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.

These past few weeks, I've felt a little distant and almost apathetic. I know the Church is true. I know my Heavenly Father loves me and watches over me. I know I must be kind, obedient, and diligent. I know that Christ's way is the easiest way. But all of this seems very thin and trite when you don't feel the power of these statements. I know this, too. It's so easy for me to get distracted and pursue other things that don't make me necessarily better. I have become immersed in the "thick of thin things" as Thomas S. Monson puts it. And I am in desperate need of an inner fire. That's why these verses stuck out to me so much.

First, I had to reflect on this question, "Can ye feel so now?" I realized that I knew it, but my heart was stretching to hold onto something it hadn't felt in a little while. So I made a list of the qualities I should be striving to develop and how I could re-instill a sense of desire and excitement about the gospel. This is a wonderful work! We have temples on earth and the priesthood and prayer and the respect and love of an Almighty God who knows us, loves us, and has confidence in us to build up His kingdom. We know how to be truly happy. Not temporarily happy, but eternally joyful. We have agency to choose this path, which instills more joy in us because we see how much we are growing! What a wonderful plan this is! It truly is the plan of happiness and it is in effect by an all powerful Being who knows we can do it.

It is here where I get a sense that my soul is expanding. What a wonderful image! I feel so full and bright inside! I feel the hope of the gospel and know that this is how it feels when we look to Christ. We live. We can more fully appreciate our circumstances and more ably help build up the kingdom of God. We can consecrate our time and talents more willingly and feel the joy of aiding our Heavenly Father in His work. WE CAN DO SO MUCH! And with the Atonement of our Savior, we have the power to do it! He will help us know what to do, and He will give us the power to act.

This is what God wants for us. He does not want us to go through life based on obligations and minimums. He wants us to live abundantly. He wants us to experience the edifying, individualizing, and immensely satisfying effects of the Atonement and Christ's amazing grace.

I was talking to a friend the other day who mentioned that he wanted to only do things in his life because he loved doing them. So, when he read his scriptures, he wanted to read them because he loved them. He wanted to pray because he loved it. He wanted to do his homework, his job, and his church calling because he loved them. This is a rich way to live, and it doesn't mean your circumstances need to change. Rather, if you can allow your soul to expand and feel the song of redeeming love, you will feel a sliver of what God feels in being our Heavenly Father. I get little glimpses of it from time to time, and it is the most beautiful insight I can have into the eternal.

This is the beginning of a journey for me. I want to be excited. I want to pursue, expand, and sing! I want to lift others and create my own circumstances. I want to love and experience life as God would have me do it. Thus, I should probably take care of a few things:
  • Prayer: This is a no-brainer. I read an article in the Ensign this week about prayer in the Book of Mormon and it made me realize that I should be taking this time to revel in my communication with God. The article recommended that you pray in private, that you kneel, that you pray vocally, you express gratitude, and that you pray for others. These are simple things, but I realized I'd been getting lax in my prayers and mostly praying for the few things I most wanted. However, prayer is a time to improve ourselves while communicating with Heavenly Father. We can receive answers, but we can also feel love, peace, and pressure to aspire higher.
  • Scripture study: Nobody ever got anywhere with one-sided conversations. I'm a speech junkie and listen to a lot of talks by the Brethren, but I have a harder time opening my scriptures and studying what God wants me to learn. How blessed are we to have these?! They are rich with comfort, answers, and advice.
  • Temple attendance: I love the temple. I love it so so so so much. It is God's house. It is a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning, glory, and order. We can come nearer to God in the temple than almost anywhere on earth. Why don't I go every week?!
  • Personal interactions: I will always struggle with this. I know that I have the potential to become a warm, loving woman who can help bring others closer to God. This is difficult for me to keep in mind all the time, however, and it is much easier to focus on being witty, likable, and looked up to. My relationships are opportunities to build others up and strengthen them. I have the power to show others a little bit of what Heavenly Father sees in them. That is why we are all here together, helping each other out.
I have a lot more to work on, but these are the things that I think will jumpstart my heart so that I can feel close to the Lord and like I am working side by side with my Heavenly Father to prepare His kingdom. This life has so much to offer us. Let's not waste it!

I also want to open up to you guys who stumble onto my posts. What do you do on a daily basis to keep the fire of the gospel strong in yourself? How do you continue to strengthen your resolve? How do you feel the truth of everything important?

Woof! Long post today, and it might seem rambly and incoherent, but I'll keep this up for myself mostly. I know I need some motivation and if anyone else is in the same boat, let's start feeling it now. (:

Love to you all,
Whit

1 comment:

Makayla said...

I have been a sort of silent follower of this blog for a while, and I pretty much love it. There's a really lovely mix of honesty and hopefulness that appeals to me.

Also, isn't it remarkable how many conference talks orbited around the idea that we really need to improve, increase, and accelerate the level of our discipleship? Awesome. And scary. They really laid down the gauntlet, didn't they.