"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? There is room for improvement in every life. Regardless of our occupations, regardless of our circumstances, we can improve ourselves and while so doing have an effect on the lives of those about us." Gordon B. Hinckley, "Each a Better Person"
I love Gordon B. Hinckley and I love this quote. I am a little bit of a perfectionist; I am hard on myself (sometimes too hard) because I truly believe in an upward climb to perfection. I am disappointed when I struggle but I am incredibly happy when I find ways to overcome the natural man and to be a little better. A year or so ago, I decided to lengthen my stride. I have felt the quiet whispering of the spirit telling me that it's time to lengthen my stride again. It is time for me to stand a little taller and to be a little better. Let me share some experiences that have happened in my life
First of all, I got the opportunity this week to attend Youth Conference with the youth in my area. Since I am pretty much ancient (I mean, I am 18 and a half ... egads), I was not able to sign up as a participant, but I was able to sign on to volunteer in the kitchen. It was such a fun experience because I was in a tiny position of power but I could also hang out with the youth a lot of the time. I don't know how, but I managed to get more disgusting in two days than I was the entire week at Philmont. The theme for this year's conference was "Be Prepared" and I had a lot of sandwich making time to reflect how I can be more prepared in my life. I am almost ready to submit my missionary paperwork. I am almost ready to leave for college. I am almost ready to start a family. ALMOST ready, but not completely. There are still SO many things that I could and should be doing right now to be fully prepared for my future.
Once again, my testimony of the priesthood was strengthened during Youth Conference. While she was participating in one of the activities at camp, Savannah managed to burn and blister both of her hands. It looked incredibly painful -- so painful that it hurt me to look at it. I scurried around when the injury happened to find a first aid kit that could help ease Savannah's pain. As we sorted through the gauze and alcohol pads, my dad wondered aloud if there was any consecrated oil in the first aid kit. I didn't find any, but I knew that one of my friends who was recently ordained an Elder had some on a key chain. Just as I mentioned that, my friend rounded the corner. Although he had come to help in the kitchen, my friend was able to help my dad give Savannah a blessing. I felt the spirit testify to me, yet again, of the importance of the priesthood and the importance of marrying a worthy priesthood holder in the temple. The Lord doesn't go half-way when answering prayers, I guess.
Anyway, my testimony building experience came with a condition. If I want to marry a rock-star, studly, priesthood holder, I have to be a rock-star, worthy girl. I think it is safe to say that I am already a generally good girl, but there is so much that I can do to be more worthy. It is time for me to stand a little taller and be a little better.
Second, I got the chance to babysit the Bishop's kids yesterday. These are the same kids that I blogged about when I decided to lengthen my stride; they are pretty much the best. I was really tired after youth conference and an afternoon of working, but I decided to go ahead and babysit because I love that family so much. I do not regret it!
The past few times I have babysat at the Bishops house have been awesome ... until bedtime. I struggled so much to get the girls to stay in bed and to keep the little boy distracted. When the bishop and his wife came home, I was frazzled and the kids were all awake. I realized that this was definitely a me problem and not a problem with the kiddos. I thought about the situation for a long time, and I came to the realization that I needed to change my philosophy a little bit to be a little more focused on what Christ would do. Last night was such a sweet experience for me. I tried diligently to not rush the kids. I spent time cuddling and reading to each one. I made cups and cups of chocolate milk until the kids were sick of it. I let them indulge in a seven minute video for being so good. Miraculously, bed time was a breeze. It wasn't fast paced and stressed; it was filled with laughter and comfort. Both girls were asleep right on schedule without a kink. I was so incredibly happy and grateful.
When all of the kids were asleep, I did a quick clean of the house. It was so quiet, and I felt my mind wandering. I feel like each time I babysit these cute kiddos, I come away thinking of things I can do better in my life. Like I did so many months ago, this night I thought about the need to lengthen one's stride. Once again, I found myself thinking about how awesome and scary it is to be a parent. What a responsibility it is! I want to be as prepared as I can to help my children grow up in love and righteousness. Part of that preparation has to be in the learning and implementation of Christ-like attributes. It is time for me to stand a little taller and be a little better.
Stand a Little Taller and Be a Little Better Plan
1. Read Preach My Gospel before August 10th.
2. Read the scriptures for 1 hour a day.
3. Wake up at 6 every morning.
4. Develop charity. (Moroni 7:45)
5. Cultivate a spirit of happiness.
6. Pray morning and night on knees.
7. Strive to give my all for Heavenly Father.
One more Gordon B. Hinckley quote (did I already mention that I love him?) -- "Now, my brethren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike.
We have nothing to fear. God is at the helm. He will overrule for the good of this work. He will shower down blessings upon those who walk in obedience to His commandments. Such has been His promise. Of His ability to keep that promise none of us can doubt."
PS: I updated my mormon.org profile! You can check it out here or by clicking the "I'm A Mormon" button on the right. :)