Friday, November 15, 2013


Much of what we experience today is based on our perceptions of how we see ourselves and how we want to be seen by others. And while many of us readily acknowledge our divine connection as sons and daughters of God, we are too strongly influenced by false notions that discourage and distract us. 
     For example, because we are so subject to the constant barrage of the media and the world, we can easily confuse worldly worth and divine worth.  The allure of fame, recognition and wealth has become a powerful driving force for too many.  Yet, few if any of us can list the 5 wealthiest people.  It is much easier to name those humble folk who have influenced your personal life for good.  Fame, prestige, wealth and all that the world has to entice us with is hollow and fleeting without a true and firm foundation and a divine perspective.  Just look at the messed up lives of so many of the Rich and Famous.
     Another worldly trap that seems to undercut our sense of self worth is Comparisons.  It is said that comparisons can become a thirst that cannot be quenched.  There will always be someone who is smarter, faster, skinnier, sexier, better, more beautiful, more spiritual, etc.  Often we end up comparing our weaknesses with others strengths.  Boy, that's a recipe for feeling crumby.  Pride is a sin of comparison.  Looks, wealth and fame truly do not matter.
     Another trap is mistaking worthiness for worth.  Our status of being the spiritual offspring of God never changes.  However, all of us have made mistakes and few of our lives have unfolded as we would have liked.  We have all fallen short.  Many of us, who are Christians are striving on the path to become true disciples.  Yet we misjudge Christs life and Atonement as something limited to forgiveness of shortcomings, failing to realize the true transformation discipleship offers.  The Atonement is fundamentally a doctrine of human development, not just erasing black marks. It is more important that we become something, rather than just check items off of our spiritual or daily to-do lists.  The Atonement is not just about paying debts but about transforming debtors. 
     Who you have been is nothing does not need to determine or even strongly influence who you may become. Each new day can become a new starting point.  Our lives will become the summation of our thoughts, desires, aspirations and activities.  It is through our experiences and how we allow them to affect us that truly shapes what we become. Read Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning.
     The pathway to heaven will lead each of us right into and through hell.  None of us signed up for the easy life, rather we enlisted in one fraught with heartache, hardship and challenge.  It is up to each of us to decide if our experiences will purify, refine and ultimately sanctify us or cause us to shrink into bitterness, apathy and distractions from our real mission and purpose in life. 
     As you have progressed through life, are you filled with more compassion, forgiveness and love for others or do you find yourself easily getting frustrated, angry and irritated at others? 
    I guess my message here is that no matter where you are in life, no matter what your past has been, you can become more and better and happier.  Of course, each of us are called to trudge through tribulation, failure, and sorrow.  Of course, we notice most those who seem to get all the lucky breaks, blessings and live lives of apparent comfort and ease.  But be assured that the plan and path of happiness is one of becoming.  It is about becoming more Christ-like.  It is about becoming less self-centered and less self-driven by the praise found in worldly pursuits.  It is about listening to the quiet subtle impressions and promptings that come from within and mustering the courage to follow them.  And it is about finding Joy in the Journey.
     I challenge each of us to plant within our hearts the notion that we can become better.  That we can have the courage to cast out the empty ambitions of wealth, looks and fame.  To truly set our hearts on developing our inner sacred life.  To Become.
     Becoming must be more than a passive desire or good intentions.  It requires action.  But the action I am talking about can be so subtle that most people in life overlook it.  The action is this:  Listen to and obey that inner voice which speaks from your heart to your mind.
       Arise each day with a prayer that you will be inspired to serve, help and bless the life of another.  Then set about your day, seeking ways that you can be used as God's hands touching someones life.  It may be as simple as a smile or a brief text.  Or it may require changing your plans to preform inconvenient acts of service. As you listen to and follow these promptings, your life will be blessed.  And bit by bit, you will be transformed. 
     As you supplant your desires to be in harmony with the will of God, you will discover that the life God has planned for you is infinitely richer and filled with more joy than going it alone seeking and working toward your own ambitions.  This is a difficult concept and few understand or can comprehend it, but it is true.  Give it a try.

Dr. Kyle Christensen
March 25, 2013

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