I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints. I believe and know this gospel to be true and I am so very grateful for it in my life. When I started this blog, I knew I wanted to be able to incorporate something so special into it and I decided the best way to do that would be to have ‘Spiritual Sunday’ posts.
And I knew exactly what I’d post about for my first Spiritual Sunday.
Last weekend was General Conference. For those of you who don’t know what that is, its essentially two days (8 hours total, with an extra two hours for the men – the girls extra two hours happen a couple weeks earlier) of being able to hear the Prophet, Apostles and other church leaders speak to us, giving us counsel, guidance, inspiration and things to work on and set goals towards. I absolutely love Conference and I look eagerly forward to it every six months. If you’re interested in reading the Conference talks, here is a link to the churches website where all the talks are posted: General Conference Talks.
I enjoy listening for themes in General Conference and last week I actually felt like there were several themes for me, but today I chose to quickly focus on one in particular.
Starting where you are.
We are all trying to be the best we can be and to make it back to our Heavenly Father with our eternal families. Sometimes this journey (for me, at least) can become a little frustrating because its so easy for me to compare myself to others on their own journeys. Then I feel like I am falling short, I am not as spiritual as they are, maybe my testimony isn’t as strong as theirs when it comes to certain topics, etc. If I let it, it can totally become a setback then I become stagnant. I don’t move forward because I already feel behind. Its discouraging. This is not how I always feel – but of course, there are those times where its just easier to be down on yourself, and when those moments are happening in my life, its especially easy for me to feel this way.
There were two specific things I heard in General Conference that really stood out to me regarding this subject. First, God does not judge us and based on others and where they are on their spiritual journeys, nor does He compare others to us and where we are. He never compares us. His judgements towards us are only based upon us, the past and present versions of ourselves. We are all different people and we all have different lives so it isn’t fair to clump us all together and compare us to one another. (phew!) The second thing that stood out to be was that if we are not moving forward, then we are moving backward – there is no real ‘standing still’ when it comes to progressing (or falling behind) in the gospel. This was a huge wake up call. If I am not working to move forward then I am falling backwards! The exact opposite of what I want to do. This helped me really set goals for myself to make sure, even on the days when I’m just feeling lazy and woe-is-me, to at least pray, at least read a verse or two in the Book of Mormon, at least still have Family Home Evening, etc. I don’t want to fall behind and never realized that when I’m not working to move up the path of righteousness, I am moving the wrong way down it. Yikes. I’m so glad this was brought to my attention so I can work HARD on it.
Lastly, and the thing I want to stress the most, is that it was repeated multiple times in General Conference that we are never too far gone and God will take us just as we are. We can start right where we are and work on moving forward, using the atonement and striving to have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion and that will be good enough for Him. It doesn’t matter where anyone else is in their journey. We can start right now, right here where we currently are. If we put forth a sincere effort and put our faith in the Lord, we will be blessed and we will be able to move forward. I know this. I have a testimony of this. As long as we work to move forward and live worthily for the Holy Ghost to be with us and take advantage of the atonement, we are doing good and Heavenly Father will be proud of us.
“The perfect place to begin is exactly where you are right now.” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf