Thursday, February 11, 2016

It All Starts with Humility

When we acknowledge our need for a Creditor on our Goal Achievement Journey, it is an act of Humility.  The acknowledgement itself creates a Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit inside of us.  Why would we want these conditions to be in our heart?

"And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings. And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit." ~3 Nephi 9:19-20

"But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." ~Matthew 13:8-9 

Broken Heart & Contrite Spirit
One Spring, I was studying the concept of a Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit to understand it better.  At the same time I was getting reading to plant some vegetables in the garden.  In Colorado the winters can be pretty long and cold.  By the Spring, the ground in the garden is hard.  The dirt needs to be dug up and loosened in order to create a space for the seeds and plants to grow.   
As I was turning it over with the shovel and breaking up the large clumps, I saw how this was like having a Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit.  If I had thrown the seeds on the hard earth, they probably wouldn’t have grown but instead would have been baked in the sun.  Same with the plants.  If I just put them on the surface, the roots would have been unprotected and the plant would have been more likely to dry up than to be nourished to growth.

By acknowledging our need for a Creditor, we loosen the soil in our hearts in preparation to receive.  The seeds or new plants that go into the ground are like the privileges we receive from our Creditor.  One day they will produce vegetables or fruits.  These are like the achievement of our goals.  So the achievement of our goals all starts with Humility!
When we acknowledge that it is because of our Creditor that we have these seeds, plants, and the eventual harvest, we experience Gratitude towards him.  The word Creditor means he is giving us these privileges before we are able to fully pay for them.  He gives them to us with the expectation that we will take on certain responsibilities that are within our means in regards to this privilege.  Evaluating the situation like this creates the feeling of Gratitude in our hearts.  When we recognize his sacrifice on our behalf that Gratitude just flows outward to him.

“...receive it from the hand of the Lord, with a thankful heart in all things.” ~D&C 62:7

“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” ~D&C 59:21
To voluntarily confess his hand in all things is what produces the feeling of gratitude inside of us.
When we receive privileges in advance, sometimes our responsibilities include making regular affordable payments.  They almost always include a promise to maintain the privilege.  A Creditor also hopes we will actually improve the privilege over time.  And lastly, the agreement includes a responsibility to be a Creditor to others, especially to our own children, using the strengths that we have.  We don’t expect them to pay us in full and up front.  We give them time and space just as our Creditor has given us.  We have reasonable expectations of them that they will fulfill their responsibilities.

“He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” ~Matthew 25:22-23

"Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest." ~Luke 10:2

Fulfilling our responsibilities returns a feeling of Confidence that can be obtained in no other way.  We don’t have to make believe that we are Confident.  We don’t have to wait for other people to judge us on whether or not we are fulfilling our responsibilities.  We don’t have to swagger or talk tough or brag of our achievements in any way in order to feel this Confidence.  It won’t come through those ways.  It is just in our hearts when we keep our commitments to our Creditor for the privileges we are already enjoying. 

“Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.” ~1 John 3:21

“Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God;” ~D&C 121:45

"Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." ~Hebrews 10:35
The more we keep our commitments the more sure our Confidence becomes.  And when our Creditor sees how steadfast we are in keeping our commitments, he values our Word.  Our Word is the certainty of our promise to do something.  When we say we will do something, when we commit to it, others know we will do it because we have demonstrated that fact over and over again in our past actions.  Our Credit History is based upon this principle.  It is a record of how well we have done keeping the commitments we have entered into.  Creditors who we petition for financial assistance to buy a house, a car, or anything can view our Credit History to assess whether or not it is safe to enter into a financial relationship with us.

“And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” ~Matthew 25:20-21
When we evaluate our own need for a Creditor with Humility and then experience a Broken Heart and Contrite Spirit because of it, we will look on others who are also in need of a Creditor with Empathy.  Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  We don’t have this feeling automatically.  If we refuse to acknowledge our Creditors, we’re not going to be very Empathetic with the needs of others.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors...For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” ~Matthew 6:9, 14-15

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” ~Luke 6:38

What Makes our Joy Sustainable

Our most general desire is to experience Sustainable Joy.  That's why we embark on any Goal Achievement Journey.  We believe that once we achieve this goal, we will have greater and more sustainable Joy in our lives.  We experience Joy when Peace and Energy are balanced and flowing inside of us.  We experience Peace when we receive what we desire from others and Energy when we’re able to give others what they desire.  Take for example the following scenario:  A husband is on his way home from work and is super hungry.  When he gets home he sees his spouse has prepared one of his favorite meals.  He then experiences Peace.  The entire sacrifice in selecting that particular meal, preparing it, and having it ready at just the right time carries an Energy from his wife that fills him with Peace.

We experience the flow of Energy outward when we sacrifice for others.  So the wife who prepared that meal has that feeling, especially if her spouse received the sacrifice with a thankful heart.

When we both receive the sacrifices of others and in turn sacrifice for others, we experience Joy.  In order for that Joy to become Sustainable, we need to add in Humility, a Broken Heart & Contrite Spirit, Gratitude, Confidence, and Empathy.

Humility is the husband’s recognition of his need for his wife’s sacrifice—her time and talents spent cooking dinner and having it ready on time.  In this strength, she is like his Creditor.  Because he doesn’t stop for food somewhere else, he experiences hunger, which is a form of a Broken Heart & Contrite Spirit.  There are probably plenty of opportunities to grab something to eat on his way home but he does not yield to the temptation and determines to suffer the hunger for a time in order to receive this blessing from his wife.

The wife is thinking about her husband and his dependence upon her.  She has previously committed to him to prepare dinner and have it ready at a certain time.  Because she continually keeps this commitment, she has Confidence.  Her husband also has Confidence in her Word.  She has a pretty good Credit History, which helps him withstand the temptation to go to other sources for his needs.  The wife also has Empathy for her husband because she knows he must be hungry.  She knows how it feels to be hungry and then to be able to eat.  It gives her pleasure to be the one who satisfies that need.

This may sound crazy, but just in that one consistent commitment-keeping process between this husband and wife, Sustainable Joy is developed.  The hope is that they strive to apply this general principle to all their other interactions with each other.

Find Your Way Back
This seems pretty simple.  So why aren’t we all applying this to our Goal Achievement Journey?  Why aren’t we all making and keeping commitments like this with those we love in order to achieve our goals?  I can think of a hundred things that happen to interfere with the above husband-wife scenario. Just to name a few: Kids, sickness, death, misunderstandings, disagreements, un-repentance, un-forgiveness, personal baggage, lack of communication, lack of faith, lack of knowledge, temptations, pride, and envy.  Adversity.

So the name of the game is acquiring the knowledge of what creates Sustainable Attraction...

...and then having continuous faith in it, while repenting and forgiving as soon as possible when adversity and temptation get us off track.  Because our Savior knows that life happens, we just need to always be striving to get back to that state of Sustainable Joy.

Listen:  "Go Back" by SweetHaven

Listen:  “Find Your Way Back” by Jefferson Starship

“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” ~Article of Faith 4

“And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.” ~2 Nephi 9:23

“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” ~D&C 64:10