Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November Higher Challenge: Will the Lord Rent me of my Kingdom?

Yesterday I posted the November challenge post about my fear with my goal to overcome people's perceptions of me. I decided if I'm going to get over this fear and be ready to stand and bear my testimony in Church on December 1, I better get started NOW!

I went to the Topical Guide and found all scriptures I could about Fear, being Afraid, Fearful, etc.  Let me tell you, I knew there were some examples of fear in the scriptures but I was hoping to find more than just Jonah when he was in the whale and I was not disappointed.  Maybe I'll have to study one different story each day until December 1 (and possibly longer).

The story I studied today was of King Saul, the first king of a united Israel.  In case you were like me having early morning Seminary (5 AM start time Freshman, Sophomore and Junior year) didn't help with you learning all of the stories of the Old Testament or if you suffered from Seminary-induced Narcolepsy, here's a quick refresher on Saul's story:

Samuel was a prophet in Israel who had two sons that weren't exactly the most righteous of men.  They took bribes and did not follow their father's teachings.  When Samuel became old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel (stick with me, this does relate to Saul) but the people feared that their perverted ways would hinder their people.  The people asked Samuel to appoint a king over them that was a goodly man and a righteous man.  Samuel warned the people of the consequences and problems with a king but they did not listen and after talking with the Lord, the Lord agreed to anoint a King over Israel.

This is where Saul comes into play; his father (Kish) had donkeys who were lost and needed to be found so he sent Saul to find them.  Saul went with a servant to find the donkeys; they looked all over but could not find the animals.  Saul's servant told Saul of Samuel and how Samuel might be able to help them find the donkeys; Saul agreed and they went unto Samuel.  The day before Saul came unto Samuel, the Lord revealed unto Samuel that he would send a young man to him tomorrow who Samuel should "anoint to be captain over... Israel." (1 Sam 9:16) And the rest is pretty much history... really it is.

Now that we're all caught up, Saul had been commanded by the Lord to smite and destroy the Amalekites and all that they had.  Saul went unto the Amalekites to destroy them but kept some of their animals to sacrifice because of the people's encouragement and feared them.  "And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice."  (1 Sam 15:24) Samuel, the prophet, was saddened by Saul's disobedient and after much prayer with the Lord was sent to tell Saul that his kingdom will be given to his neighbor because of his disobedience.

What does this mean for you and more importantly, me? Honestly, everything.  Saul feared the peer pressure and influence of the people, he feared what they would think of him if he destroyed all the animals of the Amalekites.  Sara fears the thoughts and opinions of friends and family if she were to be more humble if that meant she would be more in-tuned with the spirit and show a more emotional/soft side.

Will the Lord rent my Kingdom from me? Will I be removed from the blessings that were meant to be mine? Will I disappoint the Lord because of my fears of others rather than building myself up to be who He would have me be?

Easier said than done, but Saul is just the first story of many. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Time Out for Women: Higher Inspiration

Time Out for Women is a women's conference organized as a subsidiary of Deseret Book Company.  "For over 10 years, Time Out for Women has been inviting faithful women to step away from the daily routine and make space for themselves and their spiritual lives... TOFW women are choosing to be uplifted, reenergized, educated, entertained, and inspired with thousands of women all over the world."

I have been to TOFW once before, about 3 years ago, and so when Clark's family decided to go and invite all the wives and daughters to come also I decided I wanted to go.  After just the first night I had decided it was good I had decided to do so, all of the speakers were inspirational and definitely good for me.  

So, time for a little back story; growing up, I've al
ways been rough around the edges, I've always thought I had to be the tough little girl that had the outer shell that couldn't be cracked and who nobody could hurt.  I did well building up that personality and found it was easier to stay pent up and private.  There was a time when I thought I wanted to change who I was but was afraid of what everyone else would think of me.  I was afraid that everyone would think I was becoming 'emotional' or that it would draw the attention of everyone and the mocking and making-fun would begin.

I stayed the tough little girl and it hindered me with my desire to seek spiritual knowledge and to feel the spirit of my Heavenly Father.  Now, I'd like to take a moment and discern that I am not saying that anyone who has a tough exterior is not spiritual and I am not saying that any girl who is sweet and more mild manner is very spiritual, I am just saying that this is how it affected me.

Now, what does that have to do with TOFW 2013? Well, one of the great things about TOFW is that it is put on by Deseret Book Company which happens to have one of the most influential, spiritual women I know at it's helm, Sheri Dew.

I've heard Sheri talk before at young single adult conference and of course at General Conference but when she talked to us on Friday night, I finally heard something I never had before.  I heard her say, "You can be a strong opinionated, rough around the edges, tough woman in this church and still have every spiritual experience the Lord wants you to, IF you put in the effort."

While I know that is what I heard, if you ask her, she will say that she did not say that (as she told the young woman in Brazil when she claimed to have heard Sis Dew say something in a talk that helped her progress forward).  And it is true, she did not say that, but she had "the privilege to be talking" when I heard what Heavenly Father wanted me to hear.

The things that I heard with my physical ears are things that Sis Dew made us promise not to repeat as well as just her overall demeanor.  She is a role model for me and she is truly an astonishing woman who has been a great tool in our Father's hand.

Now to the hard part, what am I going to do about it? Well, wouldn't you like to know? I bet you would, because so would I... I've been lacking with personal scripture study and with personal prayer that I know the first step may very well include something along those lines. I think, however, that it will be more structured than that.  Since I am a health coach and we preach SMART goals, I will apply it to this.

I will overcome my fear of being seen as 'emotional' by studying one specific topic in the scriptures each month. This topic will be something I am wanting to learn more about or something that I need to focus on for myself.

Each month TOFW is doing a Higher Challenge.  To go along with November's challenge and this post, my topic of study is going to be Fear.  To truly help push me to achieve this goal and to give me another fear to get over, I am committing to get up on Fast Sunday, December 1, to bear my testimony and to allow my ward family to see a side of me they have probably not seen before, a vulnerable side to the spirit and to everyone in the congregation that day.

I'm a little nervous, but hopefully over the next 20 days I'll be able to overcome this fear (as silly as it might be to you) and begin to LIVE higher.

"Peace is not the thing you feel right before you face your fears, it is what comes right after you do."--Laurel Christiensen Day