It was ward conference today. For those who don't know what that is, it's when everyone I go to church with, in this area, has a chance to come together and re-sustain our leaders and learn from them. My bishop and stake president were the speakers in sacrament meeting, and I'm a fan of both, so I was really looking forward to hearing them speak. Especially today.
I've been at something of a cross roads lately, and have had a decision looming over me. I hate making decisions. I spend 15 minutes deciding what to eat at a restaurant. Last night, Mike and I hung out with some friends and it took me 30 minutes to pick what movie we would watch (how the job of picking the movie ended up on me, I don't know how that happened, but I'm sure my husband had something to do with it). So, life decisions take ten times longer. Sometimes months at a time. This morning, I was feeling particularly stressed and bogged down with life. I had one of those uncomfortable knots in my stomach that somehow extended up to my heart and I wanted to make it go away but I wasn't sure how? And as a result my spirit was saying to me 'Sandi! Get it TOGETHER! We've been through MUCH worse!'
Do you know what I'm talkin' 'bout?
And then my bishop spoke. He talked about how our testimonies are like a watch that needs to be wound in order to function. If we're not winding it, it's not going to work. If we're not doing the daily things that our testimonies need, like praying (SINCERELY!) and reading the scriptures and going to the temple (that one doesn't have to be everyday, but regularly, right?) then it's going to just sit there doing nothing. It'd be like that scene in 'Better Off Dead' when John Cusack is in the back of a dump truck, and it drives by those two black guys sitting up on a building, and one of them says "Look at that. Someone throwing away a perfectly good white kid." (Such a good movie) His talk reminded me of something I heard a session director say at EFY, one time, that praying is as important to our spirits as breathing is to our bodies. I realize it's not official doctrine, because it didn't come from a general authority, but still it's true don't you think? Let's go ahead and add scripture study to that as well.
Back to the bishop.
He also brought to mind the question "What is there, in my life, that is keeping me from being happy? What am I doing to withhold blessings from myself?" It really makes you think, right? It made me think. Well it kicked me in the head is more like it. I've been feeling all of these impressions lately that I need to clean some garbage out of my life. Talks at conference that gave me the impression, a conversation I had with a co-worker, some verses I read in the scriptures, and then this today. I think it's time to act, because why WOULD I want to continue withholding blessings from myself because of some music or a tv show that doesn't really matter anyways?? It's ridiculous I tell you! More ridiculous than a boggart dressed as Neville's grandmother!
The stake president then talked about being in the world and not of the world and somehow that turned into how we can be happy and serve others and turn to the Savior. I sat there writing down notes as fast as I could because I kept thinking "okay what he just said right there, I can apply that here, oh that one was for me too, need to remember that" And so on and so forth. All of those things just go together right? Being happy, serving others, turning to the Savior, etc. (everyone should know that as I type this, someone is outside, walking down the sidewalk, playing a tuba)
And THEN, in Sunday school, we talked about Ephesians. Isn't Ephesians one of the most magical books in the Bible? I love it. It's the Armour of God people!!! We talked about the Plan of Salvation, and the organization of Christ's church, and, my favorite, the verses in chapter 3 that say:
'May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge'
Doesn't that make you feel a hug from the Spirit? The love of Christ is so immense that no brain, no matter how smart it is, can even understand it. It's beautiful. I needed that today too.
At this point, my burdened heart was feeling a bit lighter. But wait. It gets so much better.
THEN, someone, I can't remember who, brought up a talk from general conference, the one by Carl B. Cook. He opens his talk by saying that when he was first called to be a general authority for the church, he was feeling very tired and over loaded and was asking himself "Can I really do this???"
And then he got on an elevator.
And then this happened:
Everyone wave hello to the thing I needed to hear more than anything today.
When that was brought up, I felt like I could go hug a rainbow or a tree or something. (That might be because of all the Anne of Green Gables reading I've been doing lately)
It was just... it was so nice to leave church feeling like a completely lighter, different person. Oh! OH!!! Also, I successfully, for the first time in my life, sang the alto part for the chorus of "Let Us All Press On" and kept up with it.
And then, in other news, Mike has been at drill all day, so I watched 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' which I haven't watched in years and can someone please tell me what makes that movie so great? I don't... I just didn't like it.
In closing, I would like to share a final thought from Elder Cook's talk. (You can read the whole thing here, as well you should)
President Monson’s encouragement to look up is a metaphor for remembering Christ. As we remember Him and trust in His power, we receive strength through His Atonement. It is the means whereby we can be relieved of our anxieties, our burdens, and our suffering. It is the means whereby we can be forgiven and healed from the pain of our sins. It is the means whereby we can receive the faith and strength to endure all things.