9.28.2010

What I Believe: Where's My Travel Agent?


This life was not meant to be a spa vacation. 
Nope, I'm thinking more like a dude ranch vacation.

"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life."
-The Family: A Proclamation to the World

D'ya know what I mean? 

We read the brochure about our brief stay.
We eagerly signed up.
We came here to get our hands dirty for a while.

We didn't sign up for a prissy experience where we don't have to lift a finger or even think for ourselves.  We WANTED the rocky, dusty road.  And we knew, even though this would be the most challenging experience we've had yet, that The Great Cowboy'd be sure we weren't having to do the roughest of the work out here.

"He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary's cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth."
-The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

We were to work hard, but there would always be someone behind the scenes working even harder on our behalf.  It would be easier because of Him.

Why?  The more knowledge we gain here in life = the more we get to take back with us.  It's ALL we get to take with us into the next step of existence (whether classroom-style from a book, practical application, on-the-job training, or from the school of hard-knocks).  Our experiences and what we do with them = our character.

Our character = WHO. WE. ARE.

"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next.  It must never be sacrificed for expediency."
-Ezra Taft Benson (April 1966)

Strong character doesn't come from laziness or fear.  Strong character is not developed by refusing to engage in life.

"Character is a positive thing.  It is not protected innocence but practiced virtue, it is not fear of vice, but love of excellence."
-Hugh B. Brown

A favorite movie of mine, of the teen persuasion, is 2004's A Cinderella Story.  The greatest lesson of the story comes from the dad's line, which is a spin on some famous Babe Ruth words, "Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." 

So often we sit on our hands, afraid of what we don't know.
Guess what?!  We miss out when we do that.
We can't know if we won't risk taking an opportunity to learn.

That's like being on the dude ranch, seeing a little manure and then reverting into Tantrumville, demanding the spa vacation package instead.  Too late, pardners.

"...No substitutions, exchanges, or refunds." -Genie from Aladdin
Ya get what you get and you don't throw a fit, right?

What is God's answer to us when we head to Tantrumville & start second-guessing our journey's itinerary?  It's like the Nike slogan of "Just Do It."  And actually it's found in Ezra 10:4,
"Arise; for this matter belongeth unto thee: we also will be with thee: be of good courage, and do it."

That's right, it takes courage... 
  • Courage to muck out the stalls.  
  • Courage to get back up on the horse.  
  • Courage to brand the cattle.  
  • Courage to break a sweat, get some calluses & a few blisters.  
  • Courage to withstand the elements that hammer down on us.  
  • Courage to swallow some tough medicine.

Having courage is a verb.  It requires action.  So, we have to exert ourselves.

This adventure is riddled with difficulties.  But remember, that was on the travel brochure!  We knew it was part of the plan.  However, once we arrived here, we too easily have forgotten why we were gung-ho for the challenges.

"Difficulties are just God's errands.  If we are sent upon them, it is an evidence of his confidence.  Therefore, let us be glad, be happy, for it is a way of being wise."
-Ardeth G. Kapp (1986)

Confidence = trust.  

"...let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God..."
-D&C 121:45

These trials in our lives are evidence that He trusts us to overcome the challenges ... to master ourselves through the experiences... and approach each difficulty with tenacity, integrity, honor & faith.

That Great Old Cowboy trusts that we will come to Him in order to gain the wisdom & resources to triumph in this earthly life.

And he knew we couldn't navigate life on the ranch alone.  The cowhands He's set here in our lives have important roles to fill.  Each moment they put their hat back on, brush themselves off, pull up their bootstraps and just get to it.  It's our job to invite them & their examples into our daily lives, to show us how to get through this journey's demands successfully, and how to do so with joy. 

There's no questioning.  They just do it.  So should we.

I'm thinking this is the week I'll stop asking.
Instead I'll take courage, throw on my hat, yank up my boots and DO IT already.
I've gotta get my hands dirty and live life to the fullest.

The pay off will be greatest in the end, I'm figurin'... when I get to ride off into the sunset.


If you'd like your own copy of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, see below:
The Family a Proclamation to the World                                                            

If you'd like your own copy of The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles, see below:
The Living Christ the Testimony of the Apostles                                                            

5 comments:

Kim said...

I so stand with you on getting in and just doing it. Our discussion in RS on Sunday covered some of the "Life is Hard"--I said "yes, life is hard! Life is worth it! And it's going to continue to be hard. Get off the computer, quit watching tv and when you are knee deep in peaches stop and get on your knees. Find out what the Lord can do and then get to work."

You have definitely been given a gift and that is to allow others to see through different eyes. All I can say beautiful lady is AMEN!

M-Cat said...

Love this post! I need to cowboy up a whole lot more instead of trying to dodge the mucking of the stalls......

Heather said...

Wonderful thoughts!! Thanks for sharing! I really enjoyed it!! I need to get my Proclamation framed!!

Lisa Loo said...

This is a great start to Conference weekend!

S.I.F. said...

OK, first of all; I love you for referencing A Cinderella Story! I seriously adore that movie!

Second of all; I love you even more for knowing I needed this message.

You're right. No one promised easy peasy or floating through life. We knew it would be hard, but we need ot constantly be reminding ourselves that it will be worth it, that HE will be worth it. There is something to be said for continually moving forward trusting in the path you're following. It's easier said than done, but it's the way things were meant to be.

Thank you for bein gyou!!

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