I LOVED General Conference yesterday. I wanted to share some things that really stuck out to me.
In Elder L. Tom Perry's talk about spiritual benefits of a simplified lifestyle, he mentioned that with the ups and downs of life, we shouldn't let stress and anxiety get the better part of us. He also mentioned the basic needs we have which are: food, sleep, clothing, shelter and fuel.
I could do much better at eating foods that sustain my body and mind. He mentioned that our spirits and bodies are perfectly intertwined and connected and that whatever good or bad we do to our body, will affect the level to which our spirits are able to perform or have influence in our daily choices and attitudes. We have the Word of Wisdom, which when followed (refraining from drinking strong drinks which are addictive, refraining from smoking, making sure to get the rest we need, eating meat sparingly, eating whole grains and herbs, fruits and vegetables in thanksgiving, in their seasons-and so on) we are promised in Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-20:
"And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen."
Rest for our minds and bodies also plays an important role in our overall well-being. It helps us to have a clear and alert mind in order to avoid more successfully destructive behaviors, such as addiction, loosing our tempers and speaking harshly to those around us. Our efforts to keep the commandments are strengthened when we're well rested.
Modesty in dress, in mind and intent, invites the spirit. Casual dress invites casual manner. It affects the way we act and the way others portray us. We must send the right messages as to who we are and what we represent. I could certainly improve in this area. Sometimes I get a little worldly and want to be fashionable. But I'm really a down-to-earth, loving person...I mean I love everyone and I don't want people looking at me and thinking I'm high maintenance or unapproachable because of the way I dress. So despite my desire to feel feminine, young and beautiful after the exhaustion and joys of Mommy hood, I may not want to wear high heels and jeans to the grocery store (did it just yesterday). I didn't feel quite like myself. Felt like I was trying to be above (literally, I'm kind a tall) other people, especially those who were much shorter than me to begin with. So, although this may be a silly example, I know for myself that this is one I could certainly improve in.
For shelter, he talked about living within our means and learning to simply be comfortable with what we have and really need and not striving to gain more materials or wealth and status. He said to save for a rainy day.
And lastly, he spoke of spiritual fuel-the importance of acquiring a knowledge of God's eternal plan and our place in it. We need to comply with inspired counsel and direction once we've gained a foundation and sought it out.
I loved this talk. I could absolutely tell when the Lord was speaking to me through his Apostle. The gift of the Spirit is a marvelous and wonderful gift.
The second and third talks that I really enjoyed were Neil L. Andersen's about how we don't know everything, but we know enough, and someone else's about how there are angels who are truly helping us through our struggles while here in mortality.
So first, I loved Elder Andersen's words about the fact that we each have personal moments of power, personal inspiration. We need to settle these things in our hearts, really let them sink in. He says that these spiritual reservoirs will sustain us through the storms of life. Once again, he reminded us of the truth that faith cannot co-exist with fear and recited the words of our Savior, "Be not afraid, only believe".
Our faith becomes more simple and pure, but more powerful as we strive to keep our covenants and to live the gospel. I liked this little saying; "In righteousness, there is great simplicity." Just as the Lord counsels through many of His Prophet's, we are to become as little children, humble, meek, submissive, forgiving.
In the end, Jesus will make everything alright. Elder Andersen related a sweet little story about a little girl who was deaf and learning to talk. At an airport, she noticed a little boy without legs in a wheelchair and asked her mother in a rather loud voice, "Why doesn't that boy have legs?" The mother's gentle response was, "Heavenly Father makes all of His children different." The little girl went right over to the boy, and said something like, "When I was born, my ears didn't work. Heavenly Father made me special. Heavenly Father made you without legs and that makes you special. When Jesus comes, he will make my ears work and your legs work."
She had a simple knowledge of the resurrection that Jesus Christ made possible for us, and that all things will be made new again. She didn't know it all, but she knew enough to share a simple testimony with someone else.
For some reason, I can't remember who spoke of angels who are mortal and immortal who are helping us and strengthening us in our time of weakness and trial. I guess I was so completely entranced that I didn't think to write anything down. But it was a great reminder to me, that when we feel alone and overly burdened, that we have a huge support system. I realized that there are angels all around us by way of family and friends as well. We can be each other's angels. A quick prayer for someone who seems to be struggling, a kind word or friendly smile. I know a few in particular who have been my angels in the past. I had a friend at our last house who would call every once in a while. We met in a movie theater and became good "phone" friends for nearly the entire three years I lived there. But, she seemed to call at just the moments I was needing not only someone to talk to, but just to know that someone cared. She gave me loads of clothes and toys for my children, and because of her generosity, I could give more to others as well. I will forever be grateful that my sweet and loving Father sent an angel my way at a time and in a place that I seemed to have one trial after another. I hope with all of my heart that she is blessed with anything and everything that her heart desires because of the way she chooses to live her life each day in the service of others. This friend also happened to have much opposition within her own family because she was doing what's best for her children in staying home and taking care of them like no one but a mother could.
We can be on the Lord's errand at all times if we seek for opportunities.
Dallin H. Oaks' talk about the holiness and sacredness of Sacrament Meeting. I know I needed to be reminded about the necessity of reverence and quiet contemplation about our Savior, His Atonement and teachings during this most vital meeting.
Today, a couple small thoughts that came to me as I listened to the second half of General Conference, was that we must have hope in order for things to happen. Without hope, we cannot have the faith necessary for God to grant us what we desire because it's only after the trial of our faith that he rewards us in his own way and time. We need to recognize when we see those things come to pass that we've desired, and always thank him with full hearts. Prayer is an extremely important principle that we should make a more regular and continuous part of our lives.
For me, I've notice a tremendous difference when I start my day with a sincere, gratitude filled prayer. My abilities seem to be increased three-fold. I literally feel added strength and patience to deal with day to day demands as a wife and mother, housekeeper, cook, and chauffeur. That morning prayer flows into my day as I recognize small experiences and miracles, and then into the evening, when I have an opportunity to once again thank him for so many small details that made my life a little more enjoyable and bearable, and to apologize for mistakes, and plead for help to do a little better tomorrow.
Truly, God can lighten our load and help us to live life to the fullest. We were created to have joy, after all.
This has been spiritually filling and so beautiful an experience.
I love my Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel. I know that His Atonement and love is real. I want to be ready when he comes again, and I want to share these things with those around me so they too can experience the joy and blessings of knowing Him, and following Him. God's promises are sure.