So, I really needed General Conference this past weekend. Like REALLY needed it. Like laying on my bed in the dark with my shoes on last Friday night thinking, " I cannot possibly go on for one more day." I needed inspiration, I needed hope, I needed strength, and I needed the will to continue in spite of the fact that life is, well, life ... you all know how that is.
So I watched conference this weekend and waited for my miracle. I watched, I prayed, I paid special attention so that I could hear that message that was meant just for me. I was uplifted and I was inspired, but I ended the weekend thinking that I had not really found that one certain message that I needed in my life. I felt that I was a parched stone on a dry river bed caught in a Spring shower. I was blessed to feel the much needed moisture that came from each and every word that was spoken. But once it ended, the sun came back out and each drop evaporated as quickly as it had fallen. There were many messages that were meant to give hope. Follow the prophet. Fear not. Adveristy comes to all. We are not alone. Each one was greatly needed and appreciated, but I still felt somehow empty and very much alone.
However, as the week has progressed, and I have had time to ponder and to seek and to pray, I have started to feel very differently. I feel that the same sun which came and seemingly dried up the much needed moisture that I received has also melted the snow on some far away mountain top. I am still that stone, only now instead of feeling withered and alone, I have felt first the trickle and then the absolute torrent of water washing over me as it floods the once dry river bed that I am laying in. I don't know when it hit me exactly, but different parts of the messages that were shared have been brought to my mind throughout the week until I feel absolutely saturated with peace and solace.
I know that everyone receives their own inspiration and takes away their own perspective of the different talks and messages that are shared, but for me, the defining moment came in Elder Dallin H. Oaks' talk about unselfish service. I admit, I was only paying cursory attention as he spoke of how we should be willing to sacrifice and offer service to those around us. It's the same message we have been hearing forever. When we lose ourselves in the service of others, we find ourselves ... blah, blah blah (no sacrilege intended.) We know we are supposed to serve, we know that we are supposed to be filling the needs of others, and feeding the sheep as it were. However, when he read the exerpt from his friend's letter, something must have subliminally sunk in for me. He talked about how people sometimes don't want to attend church because they don't always feel they are being fellowshipped or uplifted or they feel they have been offended by others. His friend said that he no longer attends church expecting to be uplifted, but to uplift others instead.
Now, for me church attendance is not a problem. I know exactly why I attend church. I do not always feel fellowshipped or uplifted. On the contrary, I am often relieved just to make it out alive with all 3 kids still intact. Over the years, I've been offended, I've been thrown up on, I've spilled countless containers of crayons and Cheerios alike. Whatever. I don't have a problem going to church. BUT, the past few days, I have really been thinking about applying the concept to my life, not just to my church attendance. The overwhelming thoughts I have had this week have centered on one integral theme. It's not about me. None of it.
I don't think of myself as an innately selfish person; I try to look continually for opportunities to help and to give. Lately, though, many of my thoughts have been focused on myself. I am too tired. I can't depend on anyone. I don't have enough support. I need a bigger house. I am tired of working. I am tired of my calling. I am tired of laundry. I need peace. I need comfort. I need chocolate (I just threw that one in to see if you were paying attention.) :) Anyway, you get the point. Over the last week, though, different thoughts and messages from conference have been brought to my remembrance and I think I've figured it out. The Secret to Life. It's not just to serve or just to help those around is. It is to be so focused on others that we do it to the complete exclusion of ourselves. Complete. Exclusion.
We are to follow the example of the Savior, not just because He was good and perfect and kind, but because He took no thought for Himself. None. This life was not meant as a test just to see if we would be faithful and obedient and grow through our trials. It is a test to see if we will help others be faithful and true through their trials. I feel like I have been working on the wrong homework assignment all along. Apparently, in my haste to get through, I did not read through the instructions thoroughly and completely. That sounds about like me.
For the last two days, my new mantra has been, "It's not about me." It's not. About me. At all. I want to change my focus completely so that everything I do is for someone else. A clean house so that the Spirit can dwell there for my family. A good job in Young Women because that's what these girls need and deserve. A strong testimony so I can share it with others. You get the picture. I hope it will change my life.
Just don't look for me to be transfigured or translated anytime soon. I am absolutely positive that it will take an entire long lifetime for me to get it figured out.