Sunday, March 6, 2011

Spiritual Sundays: Reaching 100%

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege to attend a bi-stake LDS women's conference in Chesterfield. The conference as a whole was wonderful! They had a remarkable keynote speaker, 11 different classes to choose from, and then a beautiful musical presentation to finish it off. After I left, I felt spiritually stuffed! I felt much like I do after I leave the temple. The spirit there was simply amazing.

One particular part of the conference that stood out to me was a class that I took entitled, "Depression/Finding Balance." I chose to take the class because like anybody, I have those times when I just get into some kind of a funk, and it can be hard to get out of it. I thought that the class might provide me some insight on not only how to alleviate some of that blue-funkiness, but also how to avoid it by finding balance in my life.

The class was taught by a gentleman who is a clinical social worker, which is very close to a psychologist or psychiatrist. He works with people who suffer from depression, as well as people who are struggling with family problems, etc. He gave a very informative presentation on the different kinds of depression, natural mood lifters, and ways to help others who might be suffering from depression. But the thing that struck me the most was what he told us at the end of the class. I will paraphrase.

In the morning as soon as you get up, get down on your knees in prayer. Express your gratitude to your Father in Heaven for the blessings He has given you. Feel joy for the evidence of His hand in your life. Then bring unto Him your weaknesses. Lay them all out before Him, and tell Him of your shortcomings. Tell Him your worries, your concerns, and ask for His help. Ask Him to remove the obstacles you face, and if He chooses not to remove them then ask Him to give you the strength to overcome them; if nothing else, ask Him to teach you through them. Close your prayer, and then go about your day, doing the best you can and trusting in God to be there right alongside you.

As you prepare for bed in the evening, get back down on your knees. Once again express gratitude to the Lord for His hand in your life. Then present your day to Him as an offering, and show Him how you've done with the obstacles you've had to face. You will have made mistakes- nobody is perfect. It's possible you may have only been able to manage 40%, and that's okay. Just come to Him and say, "Lord, today I have done my best and I have managed 40%." Then invoke the power of the atonement, and say, "Wilt thou cover the other 60%?" Even if it's only 30, or 20, or 10- bring it to Him and He will meet you where you stand, if you only ask. Do this, and with God, you will always go to sleep at 100%.

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." -Ether 12:27

Today in Sunday School we were discussing the scripture in Matthew 11 that says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

The teacher asked, "What does the Lord mean here when he says, 'Take my yoke upon you'?"
A wise gentleman in the class explained that often, when two oxen are yoked together a weaker ox will be yoked with a stronger ox so that the shortcomings of the one will be made up for by the strength of the other. He said that the Lord invites us to "take [His] yoke upon [us]," meaning to share the weight of our burdens with Him and He will give us rest from our trials.

I loved this analogy because it shows the Lord wanting to be side by side with us, making up for our weaknesses. How can we not pull through when we have God pulling with us?

I am thankful for wise teachers who help me to understand the blessings of the Atonement in my life, and I pray that I can be diligent in calling on the Lord to strengthen me in my weakness. I know that through Him I can reach 100%.

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