Sunday, February 22, 2015

Improving Ourselves: the Simpleness of the Way

"The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior" (Boyd K. Packer, Little Children, Oct 1986).
Yesterday as were driving to the temple, I had to smile at the peace I was still feeling even amid the (minor) stress and chaos of frantically getting everyone and everything out the door on time, when normally I might be feeling stressed and frustrated.  I began to reflect about some of my personal goals that I've set for myself in the last year or so and realized that I was making progress in them, but really without trying.  Things like slower to stress or anger, more patience, love, and compassion, etc.  Even things like more date nights with my husband and going to the temple more often.  I know that normally with goals you have to make them specific, have accountability and deadlines, and create action plans...and sometimes even with all of this our goals are not achieved.  So why were these weaknesses of mine being strengthened when the only time I remembered them was when I was failing miserably at them?

I thought of the scripture in Ether (Ether 12:27), and while it doesn't say exactly what came to my mind, it gets close to it. " 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."

Who makes the weak things strong? Sometimes we think we have to do everything, that it's all about how hard we work, but in the end, we are not the ones that strengthen our weaknesses. Christ does. If we come to Him, He works the magic through His grace.

As I pondered these things, I realized that my focusing a lot on my relationship with the Savior and understanding/using the atonement could be what was helping me.  I know I have a long ways to go, but it would seem to me, that as I draw nearer to Him, many of these things that I struggle with somehow seem easier.
"Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you, seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (D&C 88:63).
Finding Him, for me, has meant becoming more like Him.  Not perfect, mind you, not even close!  But I can actually see progress in areas that have recently been weaknesses.  He gives; He opens.  We like our checklists of things to do and too often we think we have to do it all to perfect ourselves, but from my own experience, I know that simply coming to Christ through prayer, scriptures, and with all our hearts, He does the perfecting and we are changed.