Thursday, March 3, 2011

Deeper Thoughts

Normally my rants on here are relatively shallow in nature....our comings and goings and such, which is good and normal, I suppose. However, for some reason, well, lots of reasons actually, I've been really reflective lately on what my larger responsibilities are in life.

A talk by Julie B Beck was recommended to me and it really has put a few things into perspective for me so I figured I'd share what I got out of it.

The talk is titled, "A Lioness at the Gate." Intriguing, right? Oh it was given at BYU Womens' Conference, if you want to go find it for yourself, which I highly recommend.

Because I can, in no way say it better than she did, here's a quote that I loved,

"...Women are like lionesses at the gate of the home. Whatever happens in that home and family happens because she cares about it and it matters to her. She guards that gate, and things matter to that family if they matter to her."

She goes on to give examples of getting tithing paid, sacrament meeting attended, temple work completed and missions of children served.

As I was thinking about it, I started realizing that she gave some great examples of things that may or may not be important to women/mothers in each home. And with this I started to think about where my focus has been, and where my focus should be.

She goes on to say,
"Sisters, you are each like the lioness at the gate. This means that there has to be some prioritizing. I was taught years ago that when our priorities are out of order, we lose power. If we need power and influence to carry out our mission, then our priorities have to be straight."

I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I have previously found it extremely easy to sit down and in one or two sittings start and finish a novel but found it very difficult to find 10 minutes to sit down and read my scriptures....especially since I became a mom.

She commented on the way that she outlines her priorities and also notes that it will vary for everyone. But she breaks her priorities down like this: The Essential Things, The Necessary Things, The Nice-To-Do Things.

Essential Things as she outlines are things that MUST be taken care of, and if they are not taken care of by me then the blessings of eternal life won't be mine nor will they be my family's.
-Reading the Scriptures
-Sacrament Meeting
-Going to the Temple
-Sharing the Gospel
-Sharing my testimony
Necessary Things are things that are necessary to create an environment or climate where the Spirit of the Lord would be.
-Homemaking(cleaning, organizing)
-Cooking meals and having them together as a family
-Becoming Self-Reliant
-Getting out of Debt
-Be Happy
-Spending undistracted(word?) time with my children
Nice-To-Do Things are obviously things that are recreational in nature and won't guide us back to our Heavenly Father.

Now, this is just my list. Obviously, yours may be different.

The last challenge that she gave REALLY REALLY touched me.
Because I struggle with scripture study, I've been looking for some kind of manual to read along with so that I could really study what I was reading rather than just reading it and waiting for something to jump off the pages at me. You are probably thinking, hello? what about Sunday school manuals? Well, I wanted something a little bit more than that, I guess I can't explain what exactly I wanted.

Anyway, I feel like the Lord was speaking directly to me when she says this,

"I have a little exercise for those of you who want something specific to do in your scripture study. Get a new little copy of the Book of Mormon. In the front of it, open to a blank page and write three questions: Who am I? What are my responsibilities in the house of Israel? How do I fulfill my responsibilities? As you read and study, you will find some blank pages in the back. You can add Post-It notes if you like. Start writing your answers in the back as you read, and you will have a journey of discovery about who you are. It doesn't matter how long this study takes. Take one month, take ten years, and discover who you are. When you finish studying those questions in the Book of Mormon, study them in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Old Testament. The Lord knows who you are. He knows what your responsibilities are and how you can fulfill them. Power and strength will come to you as you understand who you are in the Lord's kingdom."

I'm filled with gratitude for the things I'm beginning to learn as I start my scripture study with this focus. And I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who knows my struggles and my strengths, who can guide me when I feel like I'm floundering, and who can humble me when my priorities become misaligned.

I don't know if this made sense to anyone but it feels good to get it out. So thanks for being patient.....or just skipping this entry entirely:)