Good morning! I hope you all enjoyed General Conference! And if you didn’t have an opportunity to watch it, or maybe some of it, I would encourage you to do so now! 😉
As I prepared for conference, I had several questions on my mind that I needed answers to. I’ll explain a little bit about my process of thought on and off for the last few weeks.
I’ve felt lazy in many areas of my life and I’ve felt that laziness and idleness is not part of God’s Celestial Kingdom. I was always taught that it is still work, but also rest and peace. (Though I suppose there’s no doctrine I’ve found that proves that) Many times, I don’t like work and given the opportunity to not work, I usually take it. But I don’t like that about myself. And so I’ve been pondering what I need to do to help my will to be swallowed up by the Lord’s, especially with all of the dreams I have, all of the things I enjoy doing. Surely, God wants me to be happy, but He also knows a better and longer lasting way for me to be happy.
I enjoy art so very much, but it can become a distraction so I’ve been trying to focus it more on the Savior and putting my talents to use there. But still, I need creative outlets that have nothing to do with the gospel (or very very little). Should I feel ashamed by that?
I love stories and I want to tell one of my own someday. But I don’t know how I can relate the gospel to it in such a beautiful, intricately woven way. Shouldn’t everything I do be centered in Christ? What about the things I’m passionate about? They don’t really center on Christ. Do I need to give that up, too? Or is it possible to be Christlike, and teach Christlike attributes with something that isn’t necessarily about Christ?
I still have a lot of questions, but the first session helped me so much. Many of the speakers touched on putting Christ at the center of our lives and one in particular spoke about reaching that point with smaller increments rather than all at once. I think one of my favorite talks this conference was by Bradley R Wilcox. Though I have no serious sins I’m in need of repenting for, I need repentance every day. I love what he said at the beginning of his talk when he said that, “God loves us no matter what. But he loves us too much to leave us this way.” I have a loooooong way to go before He has helped me to be the person I have the potential of becoming, but that choice is still mine.
Growing up, I thought that despite what choices I made (as long as it wasn’t a serious detour), I would eventually be led to the path God needed me to be on. I was putting my agency in His hands. But not until recently, have I felt I am starting to get a glimpse of how much choice I have. I truly can decide where I go, who I am, and the way I choose to live my life. Being swallowed up in the Lord’s will is a choice to me. It’s not easy, either.
I can’t just say (and I say this for me as I’ve attempted to do this very thing throughout my life), “Alright. Whatever it is you need/want me to do, just let me know, and I do it!” I feel like I’ve treated prayer like that as well. “Help me to do this, and be this. What do you want me to do?” But rather than waiting for an answer, I close my prayer and expect everything to work out. From my experience, it takes much more than that. It takes listening after prayer. It takes seeking it. And in my opinion, most importantly, it takes being willing to act on whatever it is He asks me to do. I’ve noticed that all three of those, listening, seeking, and acting, all require choice.
I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, it’s been hard to make that choice sometimes. I don’t fully understand God’s plan, and what He has in store, and even specifically everything that is going to determine which kingdom we go to. Sometimes I feel like the things I’m passionate about, don’t fit into God’s plan, and that I may have to give it up. They don’t conflict with the Gospel, and I’m trying to find ways to incorporate the Gospel more into the things I’m passionate about. But at times it feels like I must give up everything and I don’t know how to feel about that.
I’m probably rambling at this point on a subject that’s been weighing on my mind, but I guess the last thing I wanted to touch on from Bradley R. Wilcox’s talk. Was that we will prosper by degrees. Bit by bit. Precept by precept. Here a little, there a little.
One of (out of the many) pleasant “bonuses” about serving a mission, is that yes, it is hard at times, but I have a pretty good idea of what my focus needs to be right now. My focus needs to be on this work, on the people in my current area, on my companion, and on growing closer to the Lord so I can have His Spirit with me so it can teach.
And the rest of General Conference was absolutely amazing! I loved the talk President Russell M. Nelson gave about temp foundations and our personal, spiritual foundation. It reminds me of a scripture I read to friends and members a lot:
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.Helaman 5:12
I love this because it is Christ who is our rock and foundation. If he is at the center of our lives, then we will NOT be moved. Though I don’t feel I have this figured out yet, I’m working on it and at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing is that I am striving and changing bit by bit. I cannot and no one should expect themselves to change all at once, or in a week. That’s not how the Lord works.
I hope to write a little more about each of the larger and more discussed topics I saw during Conference, but the more important thing is that each of you had the Spirit speak to YOU during General Conference for what YOU needed to hear.
Well, I didn’t have too much to write about this week as from Tuesday to today I have been sick with a cold and instructed to quarantine and rest (which is REALLY difficult as a missionary and I know empathize with missionaries who had to endure the brunt of COVID), so really the only other things that are worthy of writing about are General Conference and the fact that I just flooded my bathroom. 😖😅 So I must be going to take care of that lol.
I appreciate again, all of the support I get from everyone who reads and doesn’t read my emails. For the time you take out of your schedules to reach out to me or to check in on what I am doing. I love you all! Stay away from cold season and strangers in hats and vans… unless they have candy. Always accept candy. 🎃🍬
Sister (Katie) Malan