The rainy days will come. The powerful turbulent winds will blow. And sometimes the lightening will even strike down hard. Each one prepares you for the next. Each time you come out a little stronger, a little more humble and little wiser. It makes it a lot easier not to whine about the things that can go “wrong” in our lives when we do two things. We have to realize that we are not really entitled to anything and we can be grateful for wherever we find ourselves at the moment.
When I would stubbornly tell my parents that I didn’t have to do whatever they were asking me to do (which wasn’t very often!), my dad would often tell me I was right. I only had to eventually die and pay taxes. But in all seriousness, we live in a pretty entitled society. We think our parents, teachers, and even friends or co-workers owe us something. It seems increasingly difficult to find conscientious adults who are willing to take responsibility for their choices and the consequences to their actions. A while ago, I was working in a classroom where a student was returned to her homeroom classroom because she had been misbehaving. As she plopped into her seat she muttered, “that teacher just hates me!” I looked up at her and asked, “where you following instructions?” “Nothing I do is good enough for her! She’s so picky!” She defensively responded. Again I asked calmly asked her the same thing, “Were you following directions?” She said, “Well no, I wasn’t.” I have seen that these types of situations will continue to show up in our lives until we learn to take responsibility for our own actions. If you would like to learn more about learning to use our moral agency to act and not be acted upon read Elder David A. Bendar’s Book “Act in Doctrine”. In that book he asks powerful questions that can move us to change we perceive our interactions with others.
- What additional doctrines and principles, if understood, would help me increasingly so become an agent who acts and not an object that is acted upon?
- What can and should I do to “act in” those doctrines and prinicples?
- How will I know if I am making progress in becoming an anxiously engaged agent?
If we can be grateful for our current situation I am finding that it is a lot easier to move forward. Grumbling about the situation doesn’t help at all. In the 17th chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon we find a fabulous example of a leader who finds that perfect moment in the middle of a “storm.” While the servants of King Lamoni were “weeping exceedingly” because the Lamanites had scattered their sheep, Ammon’s heart “was swollen within him with joy.” Starch contrast, right” The Lamanites murmured and cried because they thought they would be killed just like their fellow servants had been for loosing the king’s sheep. Ammon proceeds to instruct them in gathering and encircling the sheep while he single-handedly fights off the Lamanites! I love that his only purpose was to show King Lamoni and his people how powerful the spirit of God was and hoped they would be willing to open their hearts to the gospel he was preaching.
Before I start wallowing in pity about any trial that comes my way, I try to nip it in the bud and find ten reasons (or five if ten seems like too many!) why this could be a good thing. Why does Heavenly Father think I’m strong enough to go through a particular storm and what does he want me to get out of it? What could be the positive intent in all of this? When I do this, I begin to see the miracles and the outpouring of love that my Father has for me.