A new year is always an exciting and motivating time for me! I really love the metaphorical prospects for fresh new starts. But, sometimes, I look back at the closing year and what I didn’t accomplish. I let myself feel discouraged when I see little, or no, progress on my “Ultimate To-Do List.”
During October Conference, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said,
“Sometimes we feel discouraged because we are not “more” of something—more spiritual, respected, intelligent, healthy, rich, friendly, or capable. Naturally, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve.
God created us to grow and progress. But remember, our weaknesses can help us to be humble and turn us to Christ, who will “make weak things become strong.” Satan, on the other hand, uses our weaknesses to the point that we are discouraged from even trying.
God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you. All you need is a willing heart, a desire to believe, and trust in the Lord. As you exercise a little faith and begin your walk as a peaceable follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, your heart will change. Your whole being will be filled with light.”
I love the reminder that Heavenly Father does not whisper discouragement to our hearts and minds. He doesn’t shun us when we fail to meet our goals or do things we know we should do. He provides Grace to rescue us as we repent. He calls and lifts us lovingly. The Atonement provides the enabling strength we need to make hard and lasting changes.
He asks us to trust Him and start right now, where we are. Because our spirits yearn to be with Him and like Him, we receive quiet promptings of ways to improve our lives and find happiness. Big steps forward, small steps forward, each step leads us back to Him.
A friend taught me to be intentional about receiving those promptings. She wanted to receive guidance for ladies she visit taught, so she printed off their names and taped them by her bed and computer. The names by her bed reminded her to pray for them.
As she saw their names throughout the day, she said she started receiving flashes of insight on ways to serve them and how to understand each sister better. I was one of her sisters. The Lord prompted her to write me a note that brought profound comfort to a grief she didn’t know I had.
“They fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God” (Alma 17:9).
Have you felt the awe, recently, of being an instrument in the hand of God?
The other day, while standing in line at Panda Express, I noticed a service woman in uniform ordering several takeout orders. My husband suddenly walked over to the register. When he returned, he said he felt compelled to pay for the food.
He asked he remain anonymous, but they ran out of the string bean chicken and the line bunched up, and ultimately, the clerk told the soldier what happened. She came to my husband and thanked him.
It was a little thing without long-term commitment, but something that acknowledged her as a human, and her service to our country, and my husband’s willingness to listen to the Holy Ghost and be an instrument in the hand of God.
These opportunities surround us and call to us, right now, right where we are.
I’m starting 2016 with a determination to start where I am and move forward with Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s lesson ringing in my own ears.
“As I agonized over my inadequacies…I received a distinct impression which both chastened and comforted me: to focus not on what I can’t do but rather on what I can do.”
I can do a lot of things and so can you! I can’t wait to see how many things we all do in 2016.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.