Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday thoughts

So, Sunday has come and gone, but... I still want to remember my Sunday thoughts.

I taught YW yesterday, a lesson about divine nature. Normally when we address this topic, it's directed towards helping the girls to appreciate their own divine nature. This time, it was directed outwards to help them realize that everyone has a portion of divine nature. All human life is eternal, sacred, and divine. Why is that sometimes so hard to remember? (probably because sometimes human behavior falls so short of perfection...)

We talked about how sometimes we react negatively to people who are culturally, socially, physically, or racially different from ourselves. We talked about some of our negative responses: discriminate, avoid, feel sorry for, fear, ignore. Our reaction to others is often based on physical appearance, but the spirit within is of infinite worth. Our treatment of any individual should be based on the knowledge that each is divine and eternal.

I know this, of course, but it's good to be reminded.

I gave some examples of small, offhand comments that can have a big impact -- either negatively or positively. I tried to get them to understand that they are hugely powerful, that their words and actions impact others and that they can choose to make their influence be for good.

I ended with a portion of a talk by President Hinckley:

I challenge every one of you who can hear me to rise to the divinity within you. Do we really realize what it means to be a child of God, to have within us something of the divine nature? We can either subdue the divine nature and hide it so that it finds no expression in our lives, or we can bring it to the front and let it shine through all that we do. We can lower our voice a few decibels. We can return good for evil. We can smile when anger might be so much easier. We can exercise self-control and self-discipline and dismiss any affront levied against us.

Let us be a happy people. The Lord's plan is a plan of happiness. The way will be lighter, the worries will be fewer, the confrontations will be less difficult if we cultivate a spirit of happiness.

And finally, I gave them a handout with these scriptures:

1 Samuel 16:7
Matthew 25:40
Romans 12:10
Doctrine & Covenants 18:10

...and asked this question:

Knowing the worth of souls, would you want to make even one person feel that he or she was not of worth?

It was a really good lesson, and, as usual, I felt like it was as much for me as it was for them.

Then, last night, we were studying Preach My Gospel together and the lesson was entitled Pray With Faith (pp 93-95). It was so good.

There is a lot of guidance regarding prayer, but this particularly struck me:

In your prayers at night, give the Lord an accounting of your day's activities. Then review with Him your plan for the next day. Listen for the promptings of the Spirit.

I love this. I think I do pretty well with expressing gratitude each day, but my requests for help -- for myself and for others -- are often quite vague. I think I could be a lot more specific, and I love the idea of reviewing with Him my plan for the next day. I think I could improve in giving an accounting of each day as well.

I was reminded of a dear older woman in our former ward who would pray each morning to know who she could help that day. At the very least, she wrote a note to someone every day, and at other times she was directed to do other things. Such a great example.


stacy{s} said...

such good thoughts. i needed to hear them today. thanks!

jenn said...

I love that quote from President Hinckley! Wish I could have been there for your lesson- it sounds great!

I had to teach RS three weeks ago and it was on prayer (from Elder Bednar's conference talk)- very powerful lesson. Prayer is something I struggle with despite the power prayer has. I'll have to go read Preach My Gospel and see how it correlates with Elder Bednar's message!

Barb said...

I wish you were my laurel advisor, such a great quote from President Hinkley.

Melissa Marilyn said...

Thanks for the divine nature reminder and the interesting take on prayer. Your post really lifted my disposition today!

Price Cream Parlor said...

What a great direction to take your class! I love that! Thanks for sharing!
Reading from Preach my Gospel is awesome!

Jill said...

That sounds like a great lesson, one that I could use for sure. I sometimes forget that EVERYONE is a child of God, because so many of them act like they're not.

Kelly said...

What a great lesson! I'm so glad you shared it with us. I do think we forget how powerful our words can be -- for good or bad. I love that President Hinckley quote, and I hope you do more Sunday thoughts posts. This was very inspirational.

Susan said...

Thanks for the thoughtful words. I have been particularly irritable with "Badger-man" of late and have decided to put this advise into action regarding him!

I love the thoughts on prayer too!I spend my morning prayer looking forward to the day and praying about what I know I will be doing and facing, etc, but I like the idea of recounting my day in my evening prayers! I'm taking the challenge!

I love it even more that my darling daughter blogs about such tender and spiritual insites. You inspire me.

Amanda L. said...

I remember President Hinckley saying that...such wonderful words.

That Preach My Gospel lessons sounds great. I'll have to look it up.

Thanks for sharing your insight.

Amie said...

Thanks for sharing... even though I stress about the actual presentation of the lesson I enjoy the preparing and learning myself.

I have heard so many times that if we think of everyone as a child of God we will automatically have a love for them. I should put that into practice right about now.

We need to use our Preach My Gospel.

Amy said...

That quote is so fantastic. I would love to sit in on a Michelle lesson! And that's a topic that we all need to remember.

wende said...

this was a beautiful post michelle! i'm so glad you shared with us. what a great lesson for us all, you're right that we know that but having a reminder is such a good thing!

i love that quote from pres. hinkley. i sometimes forget that it's a gospel of happiness, sometimes i feels more like a gospel of 'have to get it done-ness'. thanks for the reminder!

those yw are so lucky to have you michelle! you are a gem!

April said...

I'm so glad I got to come to part of your lesson. It was wonderful.

As an aside, I made your peach sauce for my kids' snack was incredible. Oh, the things you can do with a peach.

crystal said...

I love the guidance regarding prayer. I think I automatically review my day in prayer and then examine my concerns, but I like how the directions from Preach My Gospel are so concise. I'm going to print that tidbit out and put it on my Nightstand Pile.

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