Personal Progress

I recently visited the States (after living in Germany for 9 months) and had a wonderful long vacation. While there, I bought a Young Women’s Personal Progress book because mine is in storage. It occurred to me that Personal Progress, while designed for the teenage girls of the Church, could help me in my quest to determine my next purpose in life. I read through the entire booklet while on our trans-Atlantic flight and decided that I would like to complete it in one year. I think it will be possible if I take a few days to plan and prepare, so I don’t waste time figuring out what to do next. I am hoping to blog my results and thoughts here. I hope you find it inspiring! Stay tuned!!

Defilement, fear, and abiding

I wanted to record a few scriptures that I have found recently.

Mark 7:15, 21-23.

There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile a man.

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

This one is just alway a good reminder. I have also been thinking a lot of judgement and whether we recognize it in ourselves or not. When people say, “No judgement,” that is almost assuredly a sign that they ARE judging. I really want to shout from the rooftops that if we would all just stop judging, we would all be happier people! Of course it’s a lesson that took me a long time to understand.

Mark 6:50

Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

When we are with the Lord, like the apostles were when this was said, we have nothing to fear. So think- are you with the Lord, or against him?

Mark 6:10

In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.

This was very apt for me as I wonder how much longer we will be here in Germany. The definition for ‘abide’ is very interesting, look it up. I haven’t truly been “abiding” here, but my heart and my thoughts have still been at home. I go back and forth wondering what it means. First I feel like it has taught me about myself. I thought I could be the kind of person who enjoys an adventure and travel and all that, but really I just want to be home. (Hm, I wonder if this could apply to my spiritual home as well?) Secondly, I am sure that I have missed out on so much because I am so fearful of putting myself out there. What am I missing right here in this town that I will most likely never be able to do again? What will I regret not doing?

It also reminds me of the counsel given by my stake president while we lived in Sunnyvale. He told me to live on the land as if we would never leave and we would be blessed. So we did. We bought a condo and were very financially blessed to be able to buy a larger house when we moved to Colorado a few years later. We have continued to be blessed. However, I don’t feel like I have lived this counsel here in Germany. And now I see why the Lord instructed me so; it makes a big difference in my attitude about life and how happy I am.

These are just a few of the thoughts from my scripture study recently. I continue to read through the New Testament, focusing on the words of Christ.

Fruit and Purpose

Let no fruit grow on thee, henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

Matthew 21:19.

This verse is normally referenced on the topic of faith. But the other day as I stumbled upon it, I realized it could be applied in a much more personal way.

If, a fig tree which can no longer produce fruit, withers away straight away, does this not mean that its purpose is to produce fruit? And once its purpose is fulfilled, it goes “the way of the earth.”

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Can we not assume the same about ourselves? Obviously, our “fruit” is not literal, but more defined as the product of our lives– whatever your personal purpose is. So if we are still alive, then we could assume that we still have fruit to bare. We still have purpose.

If you are feeling–like me– that you have lost your purpose, if you are wondering what the Lord has in store for you, at least find solace in the fact that you are still alive. Therefore you still have purpose.

Watch Your Words!

I found this gem in my scripture study today:

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Matthew 14:11

I want to remember this when I am telling myself the story of whatever I might be experiencing. Watch your words!

Today’s scripture study was a flip and find:

Alma 5:53

And now my beloved brethren, I say unto you, can ye withstand these sayings; yea can ye lay aside these things, and trample the Holy One under your feet; yea, can ye be puffed up in the pride of your hearts; yea, will ye still persist in the wearing of costly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world, upon your riches?

I thought living in Germany would be an exercise in going without many things we were used to. I thought living in Europe in general would encourage us to live “smaller,” however, that has not been the case. Our house is even larger than our house in the States, the kids still all have their own rooms, we have a car we use daily, etc. I think this is certainly an area of life that I can be challenged with. I wouldn’t consider myself prideful, per se, but I am sure my privilege means I have plenty of room for improvement in this area.

Believe and doubt not

Mormon 9:21

Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

I hope this applies to me getting family history work done in Germany….which includes speaking and understanding the German language!

Don’t shrink!

Today during my scripture study I read the verse from 1 Nephi 4:10.

And it came to pass that I was constrained by the Spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: Never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him.

I was actually studying this in German, and when I came across the words “ich schrekte zurück” and translated them to “I shrank back,” it reminded me of my experience with singing in the stake choir and the CES Devotional by Elder Bednar that was shown during one practice. I looked it up again and read it.

Never at any time in my life have I needed to hear what Elder Bednar quoted from Elder Maxwell.

Not shrinking is better than surviving.

I have been shrinking back this entire time in Germany. I have allowed my fears to overcome my faith. I am scared to speak German. I don’t know why exactly. I don’t feel like I am afraid to make mistakes. I just feel like I am so inadequate! Sometimes I just don’t know where to begin and my mind goes blank. Another quote by Elder Bednar:

[T]heir experience was not primarily about living and dying; rather, it was about learning, living, and becoming.

That is what I want. I want to have bold faith in the Lord; trust in Him and his timing for everything. I am not even searching for peace that many need amidst a difficult trial. I just want confidence- confidence to move forward in life in a place where I feel so completely different and insufficient. I want to learn. I want to truly live. And I want to become whatever it is the Lord would have me be. I know this opportunity is part of the Plan for me. I feel like we have been moving toward this for a long time. So I want to rise to the challenge and be led by the Spirit to accomplish whatever it is the Lord desires.

I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,

Over mountain or plain or sea;

I’ll say what you want me to say, dear Lord;

I’ll be what you want me to be.

THAT is my goal.