Thursday, February 7, 2013

"The Path to Our Best and Brightest Self"

Today there's no cutesie picture to go with my post.  
Just a heart full of love and gratitude towards my Heavenly Father.
I've been feeling lately that something is about to shift in my life.
And boy was I right!
I have been on quite the journey this last week,
and I really want to share with you what I've learned
as it has been a big part of what is about to happen on Soulful Brilliance.

It all started on a Tuesday night in a seminary building.
I was at an Institute class.
We were discussing a talk by 
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (click here to read it).
I remember that as I was listening to him speak last October,
I was thinking how his talk essentially summed up
all that I had learned since deciding to shift my lifestyle.
But the awesome thing about life is that there's always more to learn!

My teacher pointed out a great paragraph from that talk that says,

"Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness.  It is the path to our best and happiest self."

Then she issued us a challenge for the week.  
We were to pick just three days over the next week and 
choose one activity we do during those days
and do it as a holy person would do it.
 I said to myself, "Well, okay, I can definitely do that."
I know I have a lot of tools to assist me with the happiness,
but holiness isn't something I'd really gotten down and dirty with before.

The next day I decided to try it out with driving.
It was very difficult for me.  
I really, really hate driving slower than the speed limit
and due to the weather that morning, there was a lot of slow driving going on. 
I kept catching myself complaining and not saying very nice things to the people driving in front of me,
but I would shift those thoughts and instead chose to speak some gratitude that we were driving safely.
It was quite the challenge!

The next day I decided to try it in my teaching.
It was amazing how much more smoothly things seemed to go than normal.
I still had my challenging friends doing their normal behaviors,
but I was responding in a way that helped all of us
stay more focused on what we were learning.
(And it just so happened that this was the perfect day for me to do this as the principal and the assistant principal both visited our class to do some observations on my teaching. lol:0))
 As I was working on all of this doing things as a holy person would do them,
I realized that I have been missing some things in my life
that would help me to become my "best and happiest self."

The next day was a super busy day for me.
I teach at a year-round school and was about to go off track (a three week break Yay!).
I get to pack up all of my students' stuff as well as my own.
This alone is enough to stress me out,
but I got to add to that getting to finish a couple of parent-teacher conferences
that I had had to reschedule a few times.
After all I had felt the day before, 
I knew going into this day with a "do it as a holy person" attitude 
would help me to be more calm and patient
(Two things that I most definitely have a hard time with
during SEP conferences and going off track.).
The kiddos and I had a great time writing some stories 
we had started earlier in the week and one of my conferences went great!
Then the kiddos and I got everything packed up to go
and the room cleaned up for the next class to be using it.
My last conference was after school.
I'm not going to lie I was anxious to get out of there.
A three week break that would begin as soon as I was finished with this meeting.
I waited....and waited...and waited...
They never came.
Now, the past few months I've been struggling with being a complainer.
I apologize to anyone who has crossed my path when I was in that mindset.
If I was still choosing to be that way you would have heard something like this,
"I can't believe they didn't show up! I rescheduled them three times!
I could have left long before now to start my break!" 
and on and on.
But because I was trying really hard to keep my 
"do it as a holy person" attitude,
it came out more like this,
"I'm sure they are doing the best they can.  
Maybe something came up and they weren't able to come.  
I'll just get to schedule something for when we get back on track."
Wow! In this instant I was reminded that 
we are all in our own perfect growth process, 

What a great few days of learning I had!
Little did I know there was more to come!

That night and the next day I got the awesome opportunity 
to go to something called Time Out For Women.
It is basically a big conference for women put on by Deseret Book.
They had some amazing speakers and singer/songwriters 
there teaching us about the gospel and life.
One of the speakers, Dean Hughes, a favorite author of mine,
talked about how we need to practice holiness.
Ding! Ding! Ding!
My brain was like, "Wow! That's what we've been thinking a lot about this week!"
Here's what I wrote down while listening to him speak.
"Holiness is not that you do it.  It's how you do it and why you do it!
Doing things with holiness is doing them with love. 
True love.
The love of Christ!
We don't work towards holiness by giving up our trials, weaknesses, etc.
We do it by working together with those things.

I wrote it down and thought a little about it,
but then I moved on to the next speaker and what they were sharing with me.
Sunday as I was preparing my lesson for church
a scripture about the City of Enoch being called
the "City of Holiness even Zion" (Moses 7: 18-21, 69)
caught my eye.
That got me thinking about what makes a holy person holy
and what attributes a holy person possesses.
I mean if I'm truly working on being a holy person
I should know more about what I'm trying to be, right?
What I found was that LOVE was a big part of being holy.
Love of others and love of our Heavenly Father.
When we focus on doing things with love because we love,
Both for us and for the people we are showing love to!

Here's one last thing that I wanted to share about what I learned.
 In the Bible Dictionary it says that when something is "holy"
it is "set apart for a sacred purpose".
That had me asking myself if I was set apart for a sacred purpose.
Heavenly Father most definitely has a sacred purpose for each of his children.
We were each given divine gifts to use in our lifetime
to lift and serve others along our way.
We all have a spark of the divine in us.
We just get to look inside ourselves
and fan the tiny spark until it becomes a burning fire--
a light for all to see!

All that I've shared with you has been just the beginning
of all that I've learned this last week.
I'm excited to share the rest with you!
But what comes next needs its own post!

I'm so very grateful to my Father in Heaven for his hands of mercy and his goodness and grace.
All of which have been extended to me this week.
I have truly had a big shift in my life,
an awakening to more of what my Soulful Brilliance includes!
I'm excited to share a new (or continuing) journey with all of you!
Look for a big announcement tomorrow
as I share a shift that will be happening with SB!
(You can see some clues in the new look of SB:0))

In conclusion to this post, I would like to invite you to take the
challenge to just take three days in the next week,
pick an activity that you do regularly, 
and do it as a holy person would do it.
I promise that amazing things will happen!

AND PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share your thoughts and ah-has here on the blog so we can celebrate with you and maybe you can touch the life of someone else!


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