Monday, July 25, 2016

Are You an Eagle In a Chicken Coop?

Whatever our personal Destiny, we can compare it to being an eagle that was born to soar through the skies.  But what would happen to an eagle and its Destiny if it was raised as a chicken?  Watch the following video to see.

We may end up in the chicken yard because of our own choices or because of the choices of others.  Usually it's a combination of both. Our caretaker may be like the kind old man in the video who only had good intentions or it may be someone more like Mother Gothel in the Disney move Tangled

When we develop numbed AND scattered Effect Sensors it's like being trapped in a chicken yard without any way to escape.  And we may not even have a desire to escape because we have no recollection or idea that our life could be any better.  When we have continuously chosen to ignore the guidance of Causes who want to assist us in becoming the eagle we were meant to be we also numb ourselves to their sustaining comfort.  They are always there and always trying to help us get out of the chicken yard but we want to do things our own way, the way we have always done them.  These choices cut us off from being able to sense Real Effects. 

"Our responsibility is to ‘receive’ that which our Father offers. ‘For unto him that receiveth it shall be given more abundantly, even power’: power to receive all that He can and will give us—now and eternally; power to become sons and daughters of God, to know ‘the powers of heaven,’ to speak in His name, and to receive ‘the power of [His] Spirit.’" ~Elder Kent F. Richards

We scatter our Effect Sensors when we continuously go to multiple conflicting Causes for comfort and guidance without choosing one to remain allegiant to.  Even as we refuse to listen to our eagle trainers, our ears are wide open to listen to all the chicken yard trainers.

"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" ~Ephesians 4:14

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." ~2 Timothy 4:3-4

When we numb our Effect Sensors, we are left in a vulnerable state.  We may have made it so we don't have to feel the trials and adversity of an eagle but more intense adversity is always on its way.  With numbed Effect Sensors we're blind to it until it hits us.  Pseudo forms of comfort and guidance have a limited protection.  When Adversity surmounts them we'll be left defenseless.  That's when the fear sets in and we start scrambling for other Causes and their Effects like chickens fighting for food or a pecking order.  When confronted with this kind of challenge and we still don't return to God, we will be forced to rely on Causes that conflict with him, who have their own pecking-order reasons for offering their support.  Relying on Conflicting Causes for extended periods of time scatters our Effect Sensors and creates pecking-order chickens out of us. 

When our Effect Sensors are both numbed and scattered we feel like we're trapped in the chicken yard and have no recollection of the sky and the mountains where eagles soar. We forget that we were born to fly.  There's no way to break out...unless we repent.

"Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;" D&C 19:15-17 

"The captive exile hasteneth, that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail." ~2 Nephi 8:14

"Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?" ~Isaiah 49:24

"As I pondered the history of Dresden [a city in Germany completely ruined by bombing in World War II] and marveled at the ingenuity and resolve of those who restored what had been so completely destroyed, I felt the sweet influence of the Holy Spirit. Surely, I thought, if man can take the ruins, rubble, and remains of a broken city and rebuild an awe-inspiring structure that rises toward the heavens, how much more capable is our Almighty Father to restore His children who have fallen, struggled, or become lost?" ~President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Now I know that the word repent has a negative connotation in the chicken yard because it is assumed that if someone tells us we need to do it, they are accusing us of sinning.  This was the case in a story from the Book of Mormon when a missionary named Aaron was trying to teach a group of dissenters about Jesus Christ and his Atonement. The following scripture verse is the dissenter's response to Aaron's invitation to repentance (his invitation to become the eagle he was meant to be).  So even as he sits in the chicken yard trying to maintain his pecking order, he says:

"Thou also sayest, except we repent we shall perish. How knowest thou the thought and intent of our hearts? How knowest thou that we have cause to repent? How knowest thou that we are not a righteous people? Behold, we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all men." ~Alma 21:6

The issue is all of us who know better have the need to repent continuously.  It's part of learning how to fly.  We're always drifting to one side or the other of the balance of purity. That's a fact.  Repentance is good news!  It's how we can break out of the chicken yard.  It's the means by which we get out of the pecking order game the world and its Conflicting Causes are playing.

"And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and encircles them in the arms of safety, while he that exercises no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption." ~Alma 34:16 

"May we choose to build up within ourselves a great and powerful faith which will be our most effective defense against the designs of the adversary—a real faith, the kind of faith which will sustain us and will bolster our desire to choose the right. Without such faith, we go nowhere. With it, we can accomplish our goals." ~President Thomas S. Monson

The word sin also carries a negative connotation in the chicken yard.  If we can think of sin as the mistakes of a repentant person, we can get around all the Toxic Shame and Blame of the pecking chicken society.  If we recognize what we have been doing wrong--what hasn't been working for us, and seek to rectify the situation, the sin becomes a past mistake.  If we deliberately continue doing what's wrong and seek to justify ourselves in it, it remains a sin.  

We're all just trying to learn how to fly.  We're not going to be doing it perfectly right now.  That means there are some things that, even as we speak, we can improve upon.  Imagine that!  Fearing to admit we're wrong (when we are) because we think it reflects on our worth is a dead end street.  Viewing the situation objectively is the key.  Dynamically being willing to be corrected where needed and holding steadfast where needed is the secret to the eagle's flight.  And it's about having the desire to continuously improve our technique while we still have a chance, instead of sitting back at the top of the pecking order in the chicken yard and thinking we've already gained all the knowledge and abilities possible to gain.  Maybe we have come a long way from the eggshell, but that doesn't mean we've come all the way. 

"However far we may wander from the path, the Savior invites us to return and walk with Him. This invitation to walk with Jesus Christ is an invitation to accompany Him to Gethsemane and from Gethsemane to Calvary and from Calvary to the Garden Tomb. It is an invitation to observe and apply His great atoning sacrifice, whose reach is as individual as it is infinite. It is an invitation to repent, to draw upon His cleansing power, and to grasp His loving, outstretched arms. It is an invitation to be at peace." ~He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Often times the reason we're spending our time pecking around the chicken yard and getting into chicken fights is because of the Adversity we have experienced.  Adversity can come from someone else pecking us to smithereens or it can come from random adverse circumstances.  While Adversity comes and indeed has the potential to cause us to respond like angry defensive chickens, there is a space between stimulus and response for eagles. We don't have to peck back.  That does not mean that whoever or whatever is causing the Adversity is justified.  They may or may not be.  It just means that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we have the choice to soar regardless of what is done to us.

"When trust is betrayed, dreams shattered, hearts broken and broken again, when we want justice and need mercy, when our fists clench and our tears flow, when we need to know what to hold onto and what to let go of, we can always remember Him. Life is not as cruel as it can sometimes seem. His infinite compassion can help us find our way, truth, and life." ~Elder Gerrit W. Gong

"God rarely infringes on the agency of any of His children by intervening against some for the relief of others. But He does ease the burdens of our afflictions and strengthen us to bear them, as He did for Alma’s people in the land of Helam (see Mosiah 24:13–15)...Through all mortal opposition, we have God’s assurance that He will “consecrate [our] afflictions for [our] gain” (2 Nephi 2:2)." ~Elder Dallin H. Oaks

We can become the eagle we were meant to be.  We can achieve our Destiny if we remain allegiant to our eagle trainer instead of defecting to Conflicting Chicken-Yard Pecking-Order Causes when the going gets tough.  It is up to us to keep our Effect Sensors sensitive to that trainer.  If we've developed numbed or scattered Effect Sensors, we have the option to repent because of our Savior Jesus Christ.  We have the option.

"And now remember, remember, my brethren, that whosoever perisheth, perisheth unto himself; and whosoever doeth iniquity, doeth it unto himself; for behold, ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves; for behold, God hath given unto you a knowledge and he hath made you free. He hath given unto you that ye might know good from evil, and he hath given unto you that ye might choose life or death; and ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you." ~Helaman 14:30-31