This devotional was a gold mine of ah-ha! moments for me this week. Watch, and then we'll talk:
My family and I have had countless discussions about the "Abrahamic trials" in our lives, meaning the trials wherein we suspect Heavenly Father wants us to put things we love dearly, things we hope for fervently, or things we are addicted to, symbolically on the altar and just... let them go. Just like Abraham did with Isaac. It is a lot easier for us to understand Abraham's experience when it's our own careers, our pride, or sometimes even our hope for our future families that we're being asked to sacrifice. Rough stuff. Refreshingly, Heavenly Father was very clear how that story ended for Abraham. One word: Blessings! And so it will be for us. But, as Brother Moody reminds us, they often aren't the blessings we hope for, or dream of, or want... but we do know that with those blessings that Heavenly Father sees fit to send us, we will be exalted.
Lately I keep thinking about the value of having spiritual vision (they mention it in general conference in this talk and this talk). If you find yourself unable to deal with the sight of things you hope for seemingly being taken from you, just try, TRY to keep in mind a vision of your marvelous eventual exaltation. Being with a glorious God who loves you, and a family who loves you, and your own spirit, at peace, forever.
Brother Moody reintroduced me to the story of Gideon's army, which I thought makes a fantastic "Part 2" to the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham wanted kids, but was asked to kill his only son. Gideon wanted to live, to see the glory of a triumphant Israel, but was asked to GET RID of his army, in order that that Lord might fight his battles for him. What an incredible amount of faith it must have taken for Gideon to do so, to be game when the Lord asked him to send away his men and to trust in the mental vision of the army of angels that the Lord planned to employ in Israel's defense.
I read a blog post from Harvard Business Review this week that asked, "What are you willing to ignore in exchange for success?" We all have lists of things we are willing to work on in order to achieve our goals, but it's equally important to conceptualize what we are willing to forgo for those same goals. The things that distract and dilute us-- they must be identified, and we must prepare to turn away from them.
Despite the somber tone of this post, my life has been pretty ok lately. Therein lies my special challenge. In times of self-sufficiency, I feel Heavenly Father asks me to put my ability to focus on the altar for him. I feel the prompting to buckle down and read my scriptures, to pray fervently with real intent for others (even if I don't feel much need to pray for things in my own life). I'm grateful for little reminders over the last two weeks to forgo and forget the little distractions, like tv and facebook, that creep in during these times of complacency. I am reminded that these little bad habits wreck what might otherwise be an important time of rest, learning, service, and preparation for me.
Even if I don't know who you are, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do. Talk to them. They can lighten your burden and broaden your vision. Good things await. Safety, joy, peace, and prosperity have been ordered. Just gotta run the rest of the race first, one step at a time, like we all are.