Sunday, August 23, 2009

Getting the Glow

Metaphor of the Day: Women are like sunflowers -- they reflect the brightness that they follow.


Lately, I've been considering the influence of women for good in the lives of those who surround them. I'm essentially receiving a scholarship based on my ability to be a good example. I taught Relief Society recently and we talked about, well, Relief Society. I've been doing a lot of thinking about what it is to love people for exactly who they are, weaknesses and all. The cover story of the most recent Ensign (September issue, actually) is a article from President Uchtdorf on -- get this -- The Influence of Righteous Women. Needless to say, it's been pretty constantly on my mind.

I think what really sealed the deal was an observation from a friend of mine. He basically said that a lot of girls are pretty, and nice, but with the really quality ones that he would actually date, there has to be something extra...something that has nothing to do with attraction and everything to do with how in tune she is with the Spirit. Christ's-image-in-her-countenance kind of thing.

At first, I thought this statement was simply to his credit -- that he's looking for a girl with that "something extra" that means she will be an excellent mother in Zion. But then I realized: his statement could also be to my discredit, if I don't measure up. He's far too sweet to criticize me, so I know he didn't mean it like that, but still, it made me wonder. Do I have that glow? Can people -- worthy priesthood holders included -- tell just by looking at me that I deeply love the Savior?

I suspect not. There's so much more I could be doing to bring the Spirit into my life. Once upon a time, I read my scriptures and wrote in my journal every single day. I worked really hard to build that habit, but where is it now? Things like that. My life is off-center, so to speak.

So, in an effort to recenter my life on the Savior, I spent some time today brainstorming what I can do to be better...

Study the scriptures
Pray always, with sincerity
Write in my journal, especially with gratitude
Go for a walk -- be outside -- find God in nature. (Very transcendentalist, I know.)
Sing / listen to excellent music
Serve! There's a thousand little ways to do it; I just need to be alert.
Keep my apartment clean. You'd be amazed how much it helps!
Exercise. Just something small every day -- enough that I can get to sleep at night!

Go to the temple
Prepare for Sundays by reading the lesson, etc.
Create something -- write or something. Just allow God to show me what it's like to be Him.

Ask Heavenly Father tough questions -- "what do I need to change?" etc. Ask for forgiveness.
Silence what I want because of a need to know what
He wants. Stop whining!

Here's the thing though. To quote the aforementioned article from President Uchtdorf, "I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don't reach beyond your capacity. Don't set your goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don't feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. ...Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest."

In other words, I may know that my ideal day involves an hour of reading the scriptures and my ideal week involves going to the temple 3 or 4 times ... but I also know that it ain't gonna happen any time soon. With this in mind, I'm contemplating some realistic goals for "getting the glow". Some things are naturally going to be easier than others, and don't seem like such a stretch to picture in the normal course of my life.

There's only 18 days left of the 7 week break (I'm not used to calling it Summer Session yet.) I promised myself I would take this break one day at a time and I think I've done a pretty good job of that. But I also think I need to take that idea to the next level and bring Jesus Christ deeper into my life one day at a time -- instead of just sitting around thinking about it.

Hearing: really old EFY music. Like, '97.
Feeling: chastened, but determined

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