Becoming Like Christ--Identify and Act
In the last post, I talked about how I need to resolve and commit to change, and how the first steps might be having the desire to change, and choosing to repent.
Since this is the third post in the series, if you haven't had a chance to read the first two but would like to, you can find those posts here:
Once we've done that, the next step is going to be identifying what I should do and then acting on it.
Which attribute is the Spirit inspiring me to work on?
There is a great video put out by the Church that shows scenes from Christ's life that exemplify His attributes, and watching that video is a great place to start! You can find that video here, and it's only about 3 minutes long.
I also asked myself how these attributes of the Savior had manifested in my life or relationship with Him lately. I feel like seeing Him working in my own life is a good way to begin to understand how I can emulate Him.
Identifying the One
In Elder Whiting's talk Becoming Like Him, he talks about the process of identifying and acting on what we learn, and I love this counsel:
After watching the video and seriously pondering the attributes and feeling the Spirit guide you in a direction, choosing just one to focus on is important. Trying to do everything at once might lead me right to where my goal to give up sugar left me--defeated.
Approximately five weeks before I was supposed to present this workshop at the Stake Women's Conference, I had to go to a dermatologist to have some skin cancer removed from my nose with MOHS surgery. It was a small dot, nothing alarming, but it left me with a fairly obvious and nasty looking wound right on my nose. I was told it should be healed within a month enough for me to cover any remaining signs of the surgery with makeup. Sadly, that didn't happen.
First I ended up with a small infection somehow, and then the skin graft the doctor had put on the wound detached and died. Needless to say, my healing wasn't going so well. And it was more than just how it looked...I was still having issues with swelling and pain, not just in my nose, but in my eyes also.
When I found out the skin graft had failed and it would be at least another three weeks of just putting Vaseline on it and waiting around, I questioned whether or not I could do the workshop at all. I was struggling to prepare, my time wearing glasses was limited because of the swelling. And I'll be honest, my ability to stand up in front of anyone was hampered by how terrible it looked.
There were still two weeks to go, so I figured I could cancel and there would still be time to replace me, but I decided to sleep on it one more night before I decided.
The next morning, I got up and prayed, again, that my nose would heal. But this time my prayer changed, and I asked the Lord to help me know what to do about the Women's Conference if healing was not in the cards for me.
Then I studied my scriptures.
I just happened to be reading in 2 Corinthians where Paul was talking about his 'thorn in the flesh' and how he'd asked the Lord three times to remove it, but the Lord said no. Instead, the Lord told him that He could make his weakness strong, and His grace was sufficient for Paul to rely on Him in spite of the thorn.
I don't know if Paul's thorn was anything like my nose, but I would definitely call this MY thorn in the flesh. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to continue, relying less on my own strength and ability and more on the Lord's help.
That day, I went back to my preparations and realized everything I had done was... not good. I deleted it all and started over. And WOW, did the Lord help me! He stepped in, and because of Him, the whole presentation became something completely different than what I had planned. It was better, and I knew it was what He wanted it to be.
My one attribute I needed to work on was pride. But it turned into two, because along with it came humility. As strong or capable as I might sometimes think I am, I am nothing without Him, and sometimes I need to be reminded of that.
Translating Action into Identity
Once we've identified the 'one', next comes action.
One of my favorite books of all time is called Atomic Habits by James Clear. The things he teaches in this book fall right in line with our goal to become something.
He calls it atomic habits because his entire premise is about how the habits we repeat over and over again are the building blocks of who we become--much like atoms are the building blocks of, well, everything.
Rather than setting goals with a definitive beginning and ending, he recommends concentrating our efforts on what type of person we want to become and then building habits that make us that type of person.
As I've thought about what type of person I want to be, one of my definitions is to be a person that loves spending time in the scriptures. I could set a goal to study all four of the standard works, which would be a good goal, but the book helped me see that it would be better to develop a habit of spending five minutes each day studying scripture.
The first step to any new habit you want to build is simply to show up. I have established a specific time and place every day when I do this habit, and since I am only doing five minutes, and I've tied it to another activity, it has become so natural that I don't even need to remember to do it anymore.
Follow the Prophet
I'm not sure which General Conference it was when I first heard the prophet counsel us to spend time every day in the Book of Mormon, but I remember really well the feelings I had while listening to that counsel and I knew in that moment that I needed to follow it. I'm sure it wasn't the first time it was mentioned, but it was the first time I was prompted to act. That was where my five minute a day habit began.
Following that counsel has made a huge difference in my life. It was one tiny act that required nothing more than a few minutes every morning, but has become such a habit that my day feels incomplete until I do it.
Plus, just as Elder Whiting said, this one small act of obedience has also helped me to be more diligent because I have committed to making it a part of every day. I can also firmly say that spending time in the Book of Mormon has helped me become so much more hopeful than I used to be.
Committing to Act
I love that my little five minute habit has helped me in so many ways, and I tell you this story not to toot my own horn, but to point out how truly easy it can be to find someplace simple to start.
The first step is showing up.
Once we've done that, it's time to Record and Sustain!