Today in our women's class at church, Relief Society, we talked about the principle of "consecration." Our lesson was based on a talk given by D. Todd Christofferson in the October 2010 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his talk he said,
"To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes. True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes. In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny."
Really, the only thing I want to do after reading that quotation is to jump up and shout, "AAAYYY-MEN!!!" I feel that way because I know this to be so, so, so true. For me personally, I feel that I have been blessed with certain gifts and talents, and I know that when I use those talents to serve God, He blesses me and magnifies my talents to levels higher than I could ever achieve on my own.
Recently, I have struggled with trying to find a balance in my life. There are so many good things that I want to do- spend time with my kids, go running, write on my blog, write in my journal, write...other things! I want to be able to make my home a clean and beautiful sanctuary, I want to study my scriptures, I want to serve my friends, I want to cook wonderful meals, I want to serve in the community, I want to be thrifty through couponing. These are all things that take time, and most days I feel like I'm just running from one thing to the next, frantically giving half of my attention to everything and therefore truly succeeding at nothing! It was turning into a very frustrating cycle.
After the women's conference, I chose to use the following Sunday, a fast Sunday, and dedicate my fast to asking the Lord to help me find balance. I realized that I couldn't do it all, and I shouldn't be trying to do it all- I am not superwoman, and I don't think God expects any of us to do everything all at once. There is a time and a season. My question for the Lord was simply this: What do I really need to be focusing on, and how do I organize my time to accomplish what you desire of me?
Throughout my fast I had a feeling of comfort, and a feeling that God was more than happy to help me with this struggle. It was almost as if He was saying, "Why Kasey, I'm so glad you finally asked. Yes, here is what I would like for us to do together...." I say, "us", because I really felt that He is as invested in my life as I am, and He wants me to succeed, and is ready and willing to give me all the support I could possibly need.
As I prayed, I got the strong impression that my writing ability is a gift, and while this is a busy time in my life, it is the time that the Lord has appointed for me to develop and nurture my gift. Earlier this year I had started work on a poetry project but I had set it aside for lack of time and inspiration. Oddly enough, as soon as I received the answer from Heavenly Father that He wanted me to continue work on it, I suddenly had the inspiration for 5 more poems!
My next step was to ask for guidance in finding time for that which the Lord has directed me to do. I felt impressed to create a flexible schedule, with certain nights each week dedicated to the things I wanted to accomplish. I now have one evening for couponing, one for blogging, and one for writing. The other nights are open for time with my husband and time to catch up on things I didn't get accomplished on the "dedicated" nights. Having a set schedule has allowed me to be disciplined and accomplish things that I might not have otherwise done. For example, a friend sent me a link to an LDS radio show in which various LDS authors were discussing their writing careers and how writing has affected their lives. The show was quite long- about an hour- and I had put it off because I just didn't have the time. I used my first "write night" (hey, I like that!) to listen to the show, and it was very inspiring.
[Side note: I feel that I should say that while writing is my most important "side activity" right now, my main daily focus is on my role as a wife and a mother. That is my first calling, and the one that will- and should- consume the majority of my time. However, I feel that by pursuing my talents and nurturing my creativity with the Lord's help, I will become an even better wife and mother.]
Sometimes consecrating our lives involves simply asking God what He wants of us. From our church lessons and the scriptures and other sources we get an impossibly long to do list. It can feel completely overwhelming. And yes, God does ask us to do it all. But He doesn't ask us to do it all right now. I believe that there is a time and season for everything, and when we consecrate our time and our choices to the Lord, He will direct our paths and in so doing, "raise us to our highest destiny."
I am so thankful to my Father in Heaven for guiding and directing my life each day. I am thankful for the talents He has given me and for His gentle guidance in helping me to use them to bless the lives of others. I pray that I might be an instrument for good in His loving hands.
Do you feel that you have consecrated your life, or certain parts of it, to God? Do you feel that doing so is helping to raise you to your "highest destiny"? I would love to read your thoughts on this!
For more on what I believe as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please check out www.mormon.org. :-)