December 4, 2015

It Works Wonderfully!: GC 5

Elaine Surbeck. She was one of my professors at ASU when I was studying early childhood education. There is a word that always makes me think of her, her book, and the time I spent in her classes--reflect. She ingrained in me how important it is to be reflective as a teacher and professional--what went well, what didn't, what could improve, did learning take place, how, why, etc. Taking time to think and ask myself questions helps me learn to be a better teacher, to understand how people learn, or to help and get to know my students.

Being reflective works for life in general, too, doesn't it? That's what I appreciated about President Uchtdorf's talk. He said, "I wonder if we as church members might also benefit from asking ourselves from time to time: 'Is my experience in the Church working for me? Is it bringing me closer to Christ? Is it blessing me and my family with peace and joy as promised in the gospel?' . . . Such reflection may help us to refocus or realign our daily efforts with the divine plan of salvation." I think reflecting on this often is such a good idea.

In his talk, he reaffirmed a truth I know is true, but is sometimes tricky to put into practice: Simplify! He asks, "are we making our discipleship too complicated?". There are so many good programs and activities or things to do in the church. And within those programs and activities there are a lot of ways to carry them out. We do not need to let those things we do, plan, and participate in get too complicated and add more stress or keep us too busy. We can simplify and keep things in perspective and focused on what really matters.

I know there is a time and season to everything. Which means, sometimes it's ok to say no, sometimes it's ok not to attend, and sometimes it doesn't have to be a big production, just sweet and simple. It also means that some activity or focus or challenge might be perfect for one person or family, but not for another, at that time.

We are again reminded to be reflective about our time and focus when we are counseled "as members of the church, we need to make a conscientious effort to devote our energy and time to the things that truly matter, while uplifting our fellowmen and building the kingdom of God."

What truly matters to me? My family, nourishment from the word of God, drawing closer to Christ, trying to show more love and kindness to those around me, living my life in a way that I can be closer to the Spirit and feel joy

President Uchtdorf concludes, "Brothers and sisters, dear friends, I pray that we will focus on 'the simplicity that is in Christ' and allow His grace to lift and carry us during our journey from where we are now to our glorious destiny in our Father's presence.

As we do so and someone asks us 'How is being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints working for you?' we will be able to say with pride, in all humility, and with great joy, "It works wonderfully! Thank you for asking! Would you like to know more?" ;)