Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Year Resolutions

I had a hard time deciding on resolutions this year. Not because I had nothing to work on...on the contrary, I have so much to work on. But I wanted something that would be attainable. Something that would stretch and bless my family but that we could be successful at. So many things I thought of seemed too much or too easy and nothing felt quite right.

Then, on January 6th, I opened my favorite site, Emily Freeman and Brother Butler's Daily Closer to Christ and saw this.... They are working this year on embracing the gift, specifically the gift of the Holy Ghost. Each week they have a printable, a scripture to memorize or ponder, a lesson and story that focuses on way to invite the Spirit to be present in our daily lives and to embrace this precious gift we have been given.

When I read it, I felt my heart rejoice within and felt a calming breath...I had found my resolution. I am going to study the Holy Ghost with my family this year and help my children to better recognize the Holy Ghost, to respond to its promptings, to share their testimonies, and to use our knowledge to hasten the work. We began a week ago. We talked about the role of the Holy Ghost.

Then we talked a out the first lesson...make yourself uncomfortable. Stretch yourself to do something that isn't easy for you. We talked about what that might be...perhaps bearing your testimony in church or inviting a friend to church (they just asked why that would make you uncomfortable...that is EASY, they said). I talked about how it is sometimes uncomfortable to go visit someone I don't know for Relief Society but how I nearly always feel the spirit when I do...and as the scripture that was used for that week says, "the spirit of The Lord did not fail him"... Alma 4:15. It does not fail me when I do the Lord's work. I could think of lots of things that make me uncomfortable that I could do, but it seemed a little harder for them. They are more fearless and pure.

I also shared a scripture that had really touched me in my scripture study that week. In 1 Nephi 4:6-7, Nephi has been commanded to get the plates. They have made two unsuccessful attempts. Now he is going to try again, alone. These verses say, "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. Nevertheless I went forth..." A couple of verses later, he finds Laban and is commanded to slay him. These verses really touched me. I like to have a plan...to know what is coming. It is hard for me to not know beforehand the things which I should do....but I need to be like Nephi and go forth. Be uncomfortable. Take a step into the darkness and trust that The Lord has a plan and will be there to guide me.

We practiced reciting Alma 4:15 several times so that they will hopefully remember it. I want to print these out to make into a book or hang up or something but my printer isn't functioning. Soon, I will get that done.

During the week we talked about the Holy Ghost a few times. I have noticed that my scripture study is becoming more intent asI focus and search for ways the Holy Ghost helps those in the scriptures. On Thursday, we were able to pray as a family for a friend. Within an hour, our prayer was answered and I was able to share with my children how the prayer was answered by someone listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Today was our ward conference and the spirit was so strong. Already, I feel like it is helping. I am so excited for this goal and the ways that I hope it will bless our family. I feel like the Holy Ghost also taught me a very individualized way to strengthen my family right now. What a precious gift it is to have the Holy Ghost in my life.

(I am using their lessons' scripture, etc. for FHE...at least most weeks...so I will be a week behind. But that is nice, in a way, because it gives me all week to ponder on their lesson and apply it and then share it with my children.

**For myself, I added a physical goal. I have decided to give up soda this year. I am not a big soda drinker, and I actually hate the flavor of colas. I do like root beer and really enjoy orange soda. But soda isn't good for you, and I tend to not feel great after drinking soda. So I am going without. Here at home it is pretty easy to do, but at parties it has been/will be harder. But when I stop and think about how I feel after I drink soda, it makes it easier.