Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sunday thoughts

Today we attended our new ward for the first time. It was a little bit hard. The building is unfamiliar, as are most of the people. The Primary and Young Men's programs are quite a bit smaller (I don't know about the YW).

I'm impressed, however, with the efforts the existing ward members have made to reach out to us as new members. The Primary president came to meet Eva this week. The Relief Society presidency came to meet me. Three of our familiar members spoke in sacrament meeting today and there was a little sheet with the program that had short biographies of the speakers. Great idea!

I'm such an introvert—it's really hard for me to reach out and meet new people, especially when it is a whole ward full. So I know it will just take time to adjust. Maybe in a year or so, we'll all look back on this as a positive change...

One of the talks today was given by my dear friend Heidi. Her remarks came largely from two talks by Elder Carl B. Cook: one from General Conference and one from the January Ensign. My favorite parts:

[He spoke of being discouraged in the MTC about his mastery of a new language, then praying and receiving revelation that the Lord was pleased with him.] From that point on, my measuring stick changed. I no longer gauged my progress and success against that of my companion or other members of my district. Instead, I focused on how the Lord felt I was doing. Instead of looking to the side to compare myself to others, I began to look up, so to speak, to know what He thought of my efforts.

The world we live in today has all kinds of measurements—most of them external to us. . . Sometimes we’re judged by the way we look or by the car we drive. We might base our sense of self-worth on how many friends are writing on our wall on social networking sites. We worry about what others think about the person we’re dating or what people will think if we marry before finishing school. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to please others, but we can’t trust such external measurements; the world can be too quick both to praise and to criticize.

I think the challenge for all of us—but perhaps particularly for young adults—is to try not to look sideways to see how others are viewing our lives but to look up to see how Heavenly Father sees us. He doesn’t look on the outward appearance but on the heart (see 1 Samuel 16:7). And He knows, better than anyone else, what each one of us needs.

Experience has taught me that if we, like President Monson, exercise our faith and look to God for help, we will not be overwhelmed with the burdens of life. We will not feel incapable of doing what we are called to do or need to do. We will be strengthened, and our lives will be filled with peace and joy. We will come to realize that most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance—and if it is, the Lord will help us. But we must have the faith to look up and the courage to follow His direction.

This reminds me of something my grandmother used to say: that she had learned to stop worrying about what others thought of her—even those most close and dear—and focus instead on what the Lord thought of her. She would pray to see herself, for good or ill, through His eyes. Then she could know what she needed to change, and she could also feel the peace and acceptance of knowing she was loved for who she really was.

I just love this concept, and want to strengthen my abilities to look up.


Melinda said...

Okay, so was I imagining or did you post a recipe on your blog and you said it was damn good. It had I think sweet potato? I have looked all over your food blog and can't find it. Am I crazy?

Jill said...

Your grandma's shared wisdom always blows me away! Where are my family mentors? Blah.

I have figured this out about not worrying about myself because everyone else is too busy worrying about themselves to notice me. I have been surprised over and over again by the insecurities of women and feel blessed that despite my insecurities I don't have a problem introducing myself to someone I don't know.

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