To Succeed Gloriously

At the start of this year, I wanted to do something different for my resolutions. Instead of making a list of things I would promptly discard within weeks, I wanted to do something lasting, affecting a greater change in me. So I set myself one goal – to consecrate my entire year to the Lord. I’ll spare you the long version, the short version is that I fell short – by a LOT.

As I reflected on the sorry state of my now lapsed year this morning, I felt a surge of disappointment at myself. I had a montage of images of times I conducted myself really badly, choosing the path of least resistance to ingratiate some part of the natural woman in me. I cringed to think of the times I had repeatedly wilfully chosen a worldly pursuit in the place of greater spiritual pursuits. As I tend to do in these situations, my first thought was to write down all the things I had done to come short of attaining the level of consecration I felt I was capable of. I thought of how spectacular my failures have been and how much I would have to write. And in that quiet moment that lives between bleakness and comfort, I was struck with the thought:

‘Why hold on to your failures when your Father in Heaven is more concerned with the times your have earnestly sought to succeed? Write, instead, of your many successes and progress. Repent earnestly for when you have fallen short and recommit to the same goal with a greater understanding of yourself. There are no prizes for a self-defeating demeanor.’

And just like that, there was sunshine in soul once again.

I can choose to wallow in self-loathing and self-pity, or I can choose to celebrate all my successes and progress. I can’t imagine Father in Heaven indulging in that kind of behavior himself, or even having any kind of joy watching us do that to ourselves.

It brings to mind a quote by Elder Richard G. Scott:

God did not put us on earth to fail, but to succeed gloriously!

Don’t you just love that hope-imbued statement?!

So what is the greatest lesson I learned from this past year’s efforts at consecrating my life to the Lord?

I can consecrate my life to the Lord one moment at a time by steadily making choices consistent with what I know to be true. And if I fall short, my Saviour is always there to catch me and encircle me in the arms of His love if I seek him in humble repentance.

Happy 2014 to you all. May the year bring you peace, progress and prosperity!

What are your resolutions this year? Go on, dish. 😉

 

Restores Me When Wandering, Redeems When Oppressed

In my case, it’s mostly true that I sabotage my own happiness through disobedience – or in other words, I think I know better until a consequence reminds me none-too-gently that I have gone off the path. So when I have those moments when I feel a forceful compulsion to change for the better when there seems no obvious reason to be doing so, I recognize the hand of my Savior gently nudging me to the safety of the fold before some unanticipated adversity rocks my foundations.

I woke up at 5 a.m. with my daughter who goes to early morning Seminary. As I was turning off the alarm on my smartphone I saw a notification for a new email. This is what I read:

The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin. If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change. We would be left forever with only willpower, with no access to His power. If Jesus did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of those changes over time. They would forever be surface and cosmetic rather than sinking inside us and becoming part of us—part of who we are.

~ Brad Wilcox BYU Devotional 12 July 2011

I can’t describe the feelings coursing through me as I read this quote in the still, darkness of my room. I became intensely aware of my Savior’s love – even more than I have been in recent weeks. I can’t describe the gratitute I feel for my Redeemer’s Atoning sacrifice. Would that I could truly fathom what it has meant in the life of a sinner such as I. Would  that I would be more diligent in heeding His counsel. Would that I, too, could cast my worldly net and go straightway with Him every single time He calls on me.

All I can do is my best. And most comforting is the knowledge that that is enough for Him.

What a wondrous start to the day – restored and redeemed!

So what am I going to do with this renewed strength coursing through me, I hear you ask? I am going to ‘try a little harder to be a little better’. Gotta love that President Hinckley :). And what better way than to attend a retreat empowering mothers and encouraging deliberate parenting.

Try to be aware today of how you feel restored and redeemed.