Take a broken jar of spaghetti sauce, a massive toy mess, or a stubbed toe.
It's not just Laman, Lemuel, and Nephi. I can experience these same situations with completely different responses. How about you?
What is the key difference that determines how you will respond - freaking out and blaming, or calmly and with positive action?
The big difference I notice is if I'm filled with the Spirit or if I'm not. If I'm not filled with the Spirit a broken jar of spaghetti sauce is a catastrophe worth yelling over, blaming, and getting mad. If I am filled with the Spirit, the mess is really no big deal. I might even laugh over it to lighten the mood as I get to work cleaning it up cheerfully. Big difference.
Check out this list that a BYU professor and his students came up with to describe the difference. (See Don Norton, "I Have a Question," Ensign, August, 1978.) Can you relate?
This reminds me of two of my favorite quotes about the importance of having the Spirit with us and learning how the Spirit speaks to us.
Julie Beck said, "The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life" (Ensign, May 2010). "Without personal revelation, we cannot succeed. If we heed personal revelation, we cannot fail" (Ensign, November 2008).
President Boyd K. Packer said, "These are sobering times. ... You won't survive spiritually, unless you know how to receive revelation. ... I don't know if you know how to receive revelation, but you're not going to survive without it" (BYU-Hawaii Graduation Speech, Dec. 2005).
It also reminds me of my favorite Elder Holland quote about murmuring, which is NOT a good way to invite the Spirit.
“I have often thought that Nephi’s being bound with cords and beaten by rods must have been more tolerable to him than listening to Laman and Lemuel’s constant murmuring (see 1 Nephi 3:28–31; 18:11–15). Surely he must have said at least once, ‘Hit me one more time. I can still hear you.’ Yes, life has its problems, and yes, there are negative things to face, but please accept one of Elder Holland’s maxims for living—no misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Tongue of Angels,” Ensign, May 2007).
Notice the liahona worked for Nephi the same way the Holy Ghost works for us.
- According to our faith, heed, and diligence we give to it (See 1 Nephi 16:29).
- "By small means the Lord can bring about great things" (1 Nephi 16:29)
- The power of small and simple things is great, but is easy to overlook. When the Lord sent poisonous snakes to the Israelites in the wilderness, He gave them a simple way to be healed. All they needed to do was look at the brass serpent, but because of the easiness of it, many wouldn't do it and they died.
- The same can be said of the small and simple holy habits that invite the Spirit - personal and family scripture study and prayer, family home evening, temple worship, service, and kindness. These things are so small that we can overlook their great power. Yet they invite in the Spirit to be with us, which fills us with God's power, perspective, purpose, and peace. What could be better than that?
When I presented a class about the importance of the Spirit a couple years ago, I noticed what a striking difference there was between two plants in my home. They are the same exact kind of plant, but the one on the left gets lots of light, and the one in the middle does not. The dead leaves on the right are from the plant in the middle. Isn't that a perfect example of how our own spirits thrive and grow when they get lots of light from the Spirit, and how they wilt and wither when they do not?
What are your favorite ways to invite the Spirit into your life every day? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Click here for a printable handout about liahonas for our day, and how we respond to broken bow challenges in our life. (Update: I fixed the formatting so so it should print correctly now.)
Just print it on both sides, fold, and cut it if you want to glue it into your Book of Mormon like I did. You just slide a stick glue onto the folded edge of the handout and tuck it in between the pages.
|Pages one and two: Liahonas for our day|
|Page three: How do we respond to broken bow challenges in our life?|