When I was a little girl, I used to admire hand blown glass figurines in a department store display case. The intricate designs of glass merry-go-rounds, animals, fish, butterflies, and flowers fascinated me. As I grew a bit older and learned how they were made, my curiosity and wonder increased. Through my adult years, I’ve remained a great admirer of glass blowers and their precision work.
Just as a glass blower has to be precise in his or her craft, a disciple of Christ has to be exact and precise in discipleship. A true disciple of Jesus Christ aligns her or his life exactly with God’s plan. There is no room for variation, or the delicate glass will break. Heavenly Father designed a plan for us to return to Him, and provided a Savior for us at unspeakable sacrifice of both the Father and the Son.
The plan, if followed exactly, will bless us with happiness and joy beyond words. If we make mistakes, we can repent because of the sacrifice of Christ, but our intentions must be honorable. It is a grave mistake to think we can live a life of sin today and then repent when we are old. That’s not true repentance. True repentance is a daily and sometimes hourly process. We must want to follow the plan, and then try to live the commandments every single day with precision.
Our beloved Heavenly Father’s plan includes giving us a growing, stretching, learning, physical mortality through which we can become more like Him. Clothing our eternal spirits in physical bodies; living by the teachings and commandments of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; and forming eternal families allows us, through the Savior’s Atonement, to fulfill God’s goal of immortality and eternal life for His children with Him in His celestial kingdom.
Wise goal setting includes the understanding that short-term goals are only effective if they lead to clearly understood longer-term goals. I believe that one important key to happiness is to learn how to set our own goals and establish our own plans within the framework of our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan. If we focus on this eternal path, we will inevitably qualify to return to His presence (Elder M. Russell Ballard, Return and Receive, Apr. 2017 General Conference).
Learning to establish goals that fit into the framework of God’s plan is easy when you think of the long-term goal—living with Him. Sometimes a bit of soul searching is required to see if we need to undertake some remodeling in our lives.
[L]et us examine our lives and determine to follow the Savior’s example by being kind, loving, and charitable. And as we do so, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home (President Thomas S. Monson, Kindness, Charity, and Love, Apr. 2017 General Conference).
Examining our lives is never easy, but it is critical to do on a regular basis. I love President Monson’s promise that we can call down the powers of heaven by so doing.
Discipleship is a process. It begins with humility, prayer, scripture study, pondering, and true Sabbath day observance. It continues with living our lives in a manner that we are beacons of Christ’s light. Ripples of mistakes happen. As they do, we begin again with humility, moving on to repentance and the sacrament. Wash, rinse, repeat. This is a lifelong process. At the end of our mortal lives, what matters is that we tried our best. The Savior has already made up the difference.
There is no need to feel lonely in our attempts at discipleship. There is help available at our fingertips. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to succeed. They didn’t go to all this trouble just so we would fail.
We do not walk the path of discipleship alone. “The Lord thy God … doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Second Counselor in the First Presidency, Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear, Apr. 2017 General Conference).
We need to assess and then reassess our lives, adjusting our goals with precision to align with Heavenly Father’s plan. As we remember the intricate work of the glass blower, we can create our own wonderfully beautiful artwork that is our very lives.
We can help our families to create their own beautiful glass. Then we can be a light to others along our path. Just as the sunshine radiates from the intricate glass work in the display case of the glass blower, our lives can radiate the light of Christ to others. It just requires discipleship with precision and honor.
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.