Many of us here on earth, it turns out, are living on completely different planets. Funny how that is. Within the roads we travel are many who are definitely following the rhythms different drummers. The pounding staccato that seems to be thundering loud and clear across our country is that of entitlement and self-gratification. Many of us and our children were raised with the notion that everyone wins, there are no losers (difficult on the self-esteem), and we should protect our kids from any disappointment.
As a result we are now part of a generation that is myopically focused on themselves. We have been and are being conditioned that it is not necessary to excel. What ever we do is good enough. And it is unrealistic to expect anyone to sacrifice time and comforts to do something outstanding. Of course, there are countless exceptions, but I am talking in generalities. Then on the opposite swing of the pendulum, there are those that are so obsessed with perfection that they live fearful lives that they may ever get an A-minus or not be chosen first. Their lives, even as children, have been run and managed like a high-powered executive with Swiss clocklike precision.
Too many of us are living on the planet, I will call, Good-Enough. We justify that we are "Doing Okay". Lives are used up on serving our selves. Caught up in addictions and behaviors that we justify are really not that bad, after all, so many others are living likewise. Compared to the standards that are set for our society and the world (which is ever lowering), we are doing okay. Minimal effort is expended because that is all society requires of us and anyway why should I bust-my-butt for someone else. It is too easy to pursue comfort, entertainment, selfish pleasures and recreation than to sacrifice in building a life of service that is truly great. For many, life on the planet Good-Enough is just fine. If that is your chosen life, keep it up - you're heading right where you will end up.
However, I suspect there are a few of you, who may sense that you are living beneath their true potential. You sense, within your soul, that you may be off track heading in directions that will not bring you the joy and happiness your spirit craves. Behavior, apathy, lusts and addictions may feel justified, but seriously, who are you really fooling.
[Side note: Too be honest with you, I don't know who I am really writing this to. All I know is that I was thundered out of bed at 2:00AM and told to write.]
Life is not about adhering to a bunch of rules of minimum behavior so that we can function in society. Your life, and mine, must be about Transformation. It is about taking the challenges and circumstances that have been placed upon us and transcending above them. Neal Maxwell said: Trials and tribulations tend to squeeze the artificiality out of us, leaving the essence of what we really are and clarifying what we really yearn for.
Ezra T. Benson said:
"Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He can deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, and pour out peace."
Boyd K. Packer said:
Perhaps the greatest discovery of my life, without question the greatest commitment, came when finally I had the confidence in God that I would loan or yield my agency to him-without compulsion or pressure, without any duress, as a single individual alone, by myself, no counterfeiting, nothing expected other than the privilege. In a sense, speaking figuratively, to take one's agency, that precious gift which the scriptures make plain is essential to life itself, and say, "I will do as you direct," is afterward to learn that in so doing you possess it all the more.
This is hard doctrine that few of us are ready for. I remember reading this two statements for the first time, years ago, and feeling within my heart - "Oh, I am not ready for this. I hope to be someday, but no, not yet". Understand that life is not about just getting by. Your life and my life is so much more. It is about becoming.
Steps to Becoming who God truly intends you to be
1) Listen - we are each blessed with a conscience or inner voice. This is the voice of God or the Light of Christ in your life. Listen to it.
2) Follow your Inner or Spiritual Promptings. This takes great courage and persistent practice, but will yield blessings, opportunities and happiness.
3) Cast Out and Cast Aside. There literally are forces both seen and unseen that would drag you down, if you allow them. If you are involved in behaviors, addictions, or habits that are harmful, selfish or unholy, you need to cast them out. When confronted with a trigger or thought, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, you have the right to cast it out in His name. Do this 20 times a day if needed. Then ask for strength, protection and courage to stand strong against your demons. With time your impulses will diminish. That bag of cookies or Diet Coke will no longer have power over you. For some of the more difficult issues, plan on about 7 months to get through the worst of it, understanding that thereafter a lifetime of diligence will still be required.
4) Stop Living For Yourself. Great power will come into your life when you get out of yourself. For those who have taken the courageous step of giving their life to God, whether you call it Stewardship or Consecration, you will begin living on a new and different planet. A few weeks ago, I challenged a friend, who had some money to spend at a Preparedness Expo, to treat her money - not as her own but God's money. "How does God want you to spend His money today?" She accepted the challenge and at the end of the weekend reported and showed to me her purchases. Items that would directly improve her life. We are to become Wise and Faithful Stewarts over the resources and people God has placed in our lives. You may be fearful that living a life devoted to blessing others will somehow diminish your own happiness, comforts or prosperity. I have found just the opposite.
5) Promised Blessings. Express gratitude for the miracles and blessings that will enter your life. Understand that the journey you embark on will not be an easy one. It is said, "that the pathway to Heaven goes right through Hell". I bear witness that this is true. However, traversing the rough and rocky terrain does bring with it beautiful vistas and breathtaking heights. Just don't dwell too much on your bruised and bloody knees, elbows and hands.
So whose life are you living? A life influenced by God, spirit and guiding angels, or one influenced by the temptations of selfishness directed by mean, angry and lustful demons? Understand that as a Christian, accepting Christ puts you on to the pathway that will transform and sanctify your divine and eternal spirit.
So what's it going to be? Which planet do you want to live on? The planet of this is "Good Enough" or the planet of Selfless Service and Transformation? Are you up for a real adventure in life? What will it be? Transformation and Enlightenment or will you continue to be like the bull with a ring in his nose being pulled along by a selfish master. It doesn't really matter what our issues are, addiction to sugar, diet coke or porn, it is time to come to our senses, man up and draw on the powers of heaven to see life as it really is and really can be. The good news is that each of us can start right where we are, no matter our problems or circumstances.
Freedom - True Freedom - is the ability to choose and direct your will in such a way that you do not become enslaved by appetites, peer pressure and passions. Giving your will or your agency to God opens you to more freedom and joy that you can imagine. After all, who is really in charge, your physical body or your immortal spirit? I pray that we can all make the course corrections necessary so that we don't get left behind.
Dr. Kyle Christensen
May 21, 2013