I want to be like THAT pen!

  I read a quote today that really got me thinking.  Here it is:

I once owned a pen that I loved to use during my career as an airline captain. By simply turning the shaft, I could choose one of four colors. The pen did not complain when I wanted to use red ink instead of blue. It did not say to me, “I would rather not write after 10:00 p.m., in heavy fog, or at high altitudes.” The pen did not say, “Use me only for important documents, not for the daily mundane tasks.” With greatest reliability it performed every task I needed, no matter how important or insignificant. It was always ready to serve.

In a similar way we are tools in the hands of God. When our heart is in the right place, we do not complain that our assigned task is unworthy of our abilities. We gladly serve wherever we are asked. When we do this, the Lord can use us in ways beyond our understanding to accomplish His work. (Dieter F. Uchtdorf)

After reading this I started to ask myself.  Am I like that pen or do I tend to tell God how and when I will serve?

Unfortunately, I don't think that I am like that pen often enough. Many times I receive very clear inspiration… then I am either afraid of what others will think… or require so much perfection of myself that it hinders my progress… or I get caught up in the 'how' and 'when' it will all work out.  

I want to be more like that pen.  I want to do the things He asks of me, as soon as He asks me!  

Then there was a scripture I came across that brought me great comfort and hope.  It is in Corinthians 1:27

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;"

So guess what?  I am weak!!  Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying this in a self-deprecating way… but more of an acknowledgement that I have weaknesses.   We all have weaknesses…. but doesn't this verse bring you great comfort?

The Lord chooses the weak to work miracles through them and then He makes them strong.  He chooses the weak and humble because they are teachable and will do the things He asks of them AND how much more does it glorify God when someone who is flawed works His miracles?  Think of Moses – do you think he confounded mighty people and things?  Of course!  He was very humble and was not gifted in speech yet he was provided for over and over – and miracles happened.  He freed his people, confounded the Egyptians, and parted the Red Sea!!  All this was done through a humble [and weak] servant of God.

"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)

I have come to a new resolve.  I am grateful for my weaknesses and I am grateful that I am constantly being shown what they are.  Instead of fearing that people will find out what they are or trying to act like I don't have any… I think God wants me to move forward WITH my weaknesses and have faith that He will work His mighty miracles through me.

How fun is this going to be?!  I get to show all my flaws as I move forward on this path that I have been called to travel… and you get to watch it all?  🙂  WHOO HOO!  

But in all seriousness, I am absolutely thrilled that I can be an instrument in God's hands and I commit to being more like that pen… writing whatever I am called to write… in whatever color I am called to be.  

Journey in the Wilderness

As I was reading my scriptures this morning I turned to a random chapter and started reading. I felt like it was telling me some very specific things and I would like to share them with you.

1Nephi 17:1
“…we did take our journey in the wilderness… And we did travel and wade through much affliction…”

Not only is life a journey by itself but we also have several smaller journeys that we experience within our life. Sometimes the greatest journeys that we have are the ones inspired of God. Although we are not asked to literally travel into the wilderness we are quite often led to do things that lie within the unknown or that seem extremely difficult and scary. How many times does God give us personal commandments? Such as when He prompts you to do something very specific and you know you need to do it?

In 1Nephi 17:3 it continues:
“And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them…”

This also reminds me of the scripture in 1Nephi 3:7 where it says “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

From these verses we begin to know:
1- That we will all have periods where God leads us on a journey into the wilderness
2- We will have much affliction and it will not be easy (after all the wildnerness can be wild, untamed, unknown, and scary)
3- If we keep the commandments, He will nourish and strengthen us
4- He will never ask us to take that journey without also providing a way to accomplish this commandment

In verse 4 it says that they traveled EIGHT years before they got to the land Bountiful. EIGHT YEARS! Okay, I confess. There are things that God has asked me to do and I get impatient after a few months! I had to really look at my faith. I also had to wonder, how many times the people traveling with Nephi questioned when or if they would ever get out of the wilderness? I am also reminded of Moses and the Israelites… they were in the wilderness for 40 years!  I would like to think that I would be faithful the entire time, however, that is a very long time… would I keep the faith?  If I know that when God wants me to do something, I sometimes get impatient and doubt that it will come to pass.  Why do I do that?  And why when things get difficult do I sit there and think that it should be easy? I mean, hello? Wilderness does not mean ‘taking a walk in the park’.

After they arrived in Bountiful, the Lord told Nephi to (in verse 8) to “construct a ship… that I may carry thy people across these waters”. Talk about scary and unknown!!

Now that Nephi knows his mission he starts to build it. Then everyone around him tells him “you’re a fool” “you can’t do it” “who do you think you are to think that you can build a ship?!” (verses 17-18)

Then Nephi begins to be sad because of the hardness of his family’s hearts and for their lack of faith. When his family sees this they say “we knew you were lacking in judment” “we knew you couldn’t build a ship” (verses 19-20)

Albert Einstein once saidGreat spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

Have you ever felt this? I know I have. Not in the sense that I think others have a mediocre mind – but that seeing someone move into an inspired direction can cause a stirring inside the person who is not responding to their own inspiration. Sometimes when I have shared my grand dreams with others they quickly shut me down or spew some kind of negativity at me. It’s feels as if I have found a way out of a deep, dark pit but they do not want me to leave them in that pit – so they pull on my leg, tell me things to try to scare me, or try any other desperate attempt to bring me back down.

I have also noticed a pattern through the scriptures – God takes us through the wilderness to get us to where He wants us to be. It is the also referred to as the ‘refiner’s fire’.

It reminds me of our body. Many times when we are healing from an injury, scar tissue builds up where the injury once was. The purpose is to make the area stronger than it was before. This is the same principle for us. When we heal from something difficult, we can learn and experience things that will teach us very valuable lessons and certainly strengthen us more than if it had never happened in the first place.

Although difficult at times, I am very grateful for the many times I have been led into the wilderness… only to come out better than before.  I THANK GOD for being with me and leading me through… and making me better each time.