Monday, March 24, 2014

"How do we know we're enduring well?"

So it's been a long while since I've put anything up here, but yesterday in Relief Society we discussed Elder Richard J. Maynes talk, The Strength to Endure. The question was asked by a sister during the lesson, How do we know were enduring well? This question has been on my mind ever since. In an effort to find an answer for myself I came up with this...

In Elder Maynes' talk he says this, Our ability to endure to the end in righteousness will be in direct proportion to the strength of our testimony and the depth of our conversion. When our testimonies are strong and we are truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ, our choices will be inspired by the Holy Ghost, they will be Christ-centered, and they will support our desire to endure in righteousness. If our testimonies are weak and our conversion superficial, the risk is much greater that we will be enticed by the false traditions of the world to make poor choices.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell in his talk, Enduring Well, said this, Part of enduring well consists of being meek enough, amid our suffering, to learn from our relevant experiences. Rather than simply passing through these things, they must pass through us and do so in ways which sanctify these experiences for our good (see D&C 122:7). Thereby, our empathy, too, is enriched and everlasting.

What do you see when you read these quotes in regards to enduring well? Personally, I am reminded the importance to continually improve my testimony through scripture study and other Christ-centered studying, through daily prayer that discusses all the good things along with the bad, through service both at home, in our ward, and in our community, and one thing that I think we often overlook in our ever so busy lives is through self-reflection. 

Elder Maxwells comment about instead of going through a trial and making it to the end we need to allow the trial to go through us and improve us made me think.. When was the last time I sat down and honestly analyzed a situation going on in my life to see the areas that the Lord was allowing me to grow and how he was teaching me? Do I understand how that experience can be used to help another? Have you ever gone through a growth opportunity (I like this phrase better than trial. Trial just sounds so foreboding.) for what seems like months, years, decades and feel like you arent making any progress, or perhaps feel like you keep being faced with the same heart break, the same stresses, the same weaknesses over and over again? I do! All the time I feel like that. BUT- what if we took the time to seek out what the Lord is trying to teach us? I wonder how much that one simple thing could change our perspective of the situation. So my challenge to you (and me) is this: get out a piece of paper and at the top write down the challenge you are facing. Identify all of the struggles that you see that are coming with it. Then look at those struggles and see if you can find lessons that the Lord is providing you with, tools to move beyond the initial obstacle. It  may look something like this:

Or maybe you want to use different titles, like instead of struggle you say "frustration", or "thing that really makes me mad". You might also add some scriptures or quotes that help you identify the lesson aspect. Your action items may be simple items like, "be nicer to my self" or "send a note to my neighbor who is having a hard time with _________". They may be more difficult like, "forgive my friend for saying/doing __________" or "sacrifice me time to help my child study". There aren't any right or wrong answers but maybe youll see something that you hadnt yet realized and maybe, by doing something about it, it will change your situation. 

Don't just get through a trial, take that trial by the horns, look deep into it's eyes and learn something so that next time you see someone wrestling the same issue you can help them, just like Christ would have done. 

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