For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).
I love celebrating Christ’s birth. I love teaching my children and grandchildren about it. It seems to me that the Spirit works hard on me during the Christmas season. I find myself doing a lot of self-analysis.
Earlier this month when I began decorating my home for Christmas, the thought kept coming to my mind “What does Jesus want me to be?” Notice that I didn’t say, “What would Jesus do?” There’s a difference. I couldn’t stop thinking about this for several days. What (or who) does Jesus want me to be?
Becoming more like Jesus
At first I thought about my attitudes and actions. I have a long way to go in the process of becoming more like Jesus. I must learn to control my thoughts from being cynical and critical if I am ever going to have any degree of success in becoming more Christlike.
All too often my mind drifts to a better way someone else could have done something. My way to do things is always the right way in my own mind. I’m a very independent woman, which has served me well. Unfortunately, in maintaining some of that independence I’ve developed some bad habits. Sometimes I don’t see the bigger picture. I forget that others have skills different from my own that can enrich and build if they are only given the chance without my cynicism.
What does Jesus want me to be? That question took on a more practical aspect when I received a message from a head hunter who had seen my resume on LinkedIn and thought my skills were perfect for a legal secretary job at a local insurance company. She asked if it was the right time for me to come out of my hiatus or temporary retirement from the legal field. I spent a good deal of time that night thinking about what Jesus wants me to be in the literal sense.
Since I quit my job four years ago to spend more time with my husband, I’ve consecrated my writing skills to God. While it would be nice to be paid at some point for my writing, the last four years writing for various LDS sites, and editing for one, has been an experience I would not trade for anything. I was not able to serve a full-time mission for the Church, so I feel this has been my mission.
I made the decision months ago to quit writing for LDSBlogs (and other LDS sites) for a while. Terrie Lynn Bittner, who was the editor for LDSBlogs until she passed away earlier this year, had been encouraging me to write a book. She even suggested that I turn the marriage articles I wrote in 2014 for LDSBlogs into a book. My goal for 2016 is to seriously look into doing just that.
As I have reread those marriage articles, I’ve realized that I have a very important decision to make. Will I take out the majority of the LDS quotes and write for a larger audience with the possibility of making a small amount of money as a new author? Will I write for an LDS audience and seriously hamper the possibility of any financial gain?
There is nothing wrong with making money from my writing. Heavenly Father certainly knows our financial situation since I quit my job, and He knows that we have two aging vehicles which will eventually need to be turned in to buy one reliable used car with a hopefully small car payment. He has repeatedly given me the answer that it is not the right time to go back to work in a legal office. What I need to know now is whether it is the right time for me to try to make a little money from my writing, or if I should continue to consecrate my skills to building up His kingdom. I don’t have the answer to that question yet, but I’m working on it.
What does Jesus want me to be? He wants me to be a better person. He wants me to look inside myself and find out who I really am. He wants me to discover my divine nature. He wants me to stand tall and defend the Church. He wants me to realize my potential.
In my insomniac state this week, I’ve been reading the October 2015 General Conference talks in the November Ensign and highlighting them. Nothing has stirred my soul more than President Russell M. Nelson’s plea to the sisters of the Church.
The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God! . . . [W]e need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God’s children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly. . . . Sisters, do you realize the breadth and scope of your influence when you speak those things that come to your heart and mind as directed by the Spirit? . . . We need women who know how to access the power that God makes available to covenant keepers and who express their beliefs with confidence and charity. We need women who have the courage and vision of our Mother Eve. . . . [S]tep forward! Take your rightful and needful place in your home, in your community, and in the kingdom of God—more than you ever have before. . . . [R]ise to your full stature, to fulfill the measure of your creation, as we walk arm in arm in this sacred work (President Russell M. Nelson, A Plea to My Sisters, Oct. 2015 General Conference).
What does Jesus want me to be? Elder Nelson pretty much laid it on the table for me. I love that our inspired leaders speak plain truth. There’s no sugar coating it. It’s right out there staring me in the face.
As I begin my journey apart from my weekly column here, I take with me so much. I had never written a weekly column before, and it was not an easy task for me. There was a ton of self-analysis the last two years writing for LDSBlogs. I hope to submit a random thought from time to time as the Spirit moves me, but as I begin looking into the possibility of a book, I won’t have the time for a weekly column. LDSBlogs provided me an outlet to learn about myself as I perfected my writing skills and gained confidence. It doesn’t get better than that.
Today, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I hope we will all ask ourselves, “What does Jesus want me to be?” If we prayerfully ask that question, we just might discover our divine nature.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.