And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.
And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.1 Nephi 8:7-8
When you pray remember that the Lord is full of tender mercy. Don’t be afraid to ask Him for some if you recognize you are surrounded by darkness – even if it’s self inflicted.
Remembering this principle throughout my day softens my heart toward Heavenly Father every single time and when I pray the feeling of being at odds with Heavenly Father or that we are not in competition with one another fades. In a way I feel very much like a two year old who begins to realize that what his or her parent is doing is because of the love the parent has for the child and because of this the two year old no longer has to fight against the parent. This is what I feel happening between me and Heavenly Father. I realize He and I are on the same team and I feel desires to begin working with Him instead of against Him to accomplish His goals and His purposes in my life.
. . . and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.1 Nephi 8:15
Desire to partake of the fruit of God’s love more than you desire to have all other fruit.
One of the true joys I experienced as a teenager was the sweetness of God’s love and His Spirit. Each and every morning I arose early in the morning and spent as much time as I needed to read a full chapter of the scriptures, primarily the Book of Mormon. Those early hours – usually quite still and quiet because it was 5 AM and I was preparing to go to seminary – were full of the sweetness of God’s love that is so tender and delicate Elder Scott once compared it to eating a grape as I attempted to connect with Heavenly Father to hear His message to me, as I fully believed He had something to tell me each and every day.
This past week I had a rare evening to myself in which I set all other distractions aside – some of which the Lord has been whispering to my soul I need to let go of for a while now – and simply focused on the scriptures and my blog. That night I felt that same love, that same stillness, that same peace, that same connection I enjoyed so frequently in my scripture study as a young man – a beautiful reminder that when I choose to sacrifice what I want for what Heavenly Father wants He blesses us with His love.
. . . after my father had made an end of speaking the words of his dream, and also of exhorting them to all diligence . . .1 Nephi 10:2
Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all diligence.
We can’t be perfect in this life. This is a concept I have to keep reminding myself of otherwise my perfectionism can creep in and get in the way of seeing and accepting reality. But . . . we can try. Every. Single. Day. It’s tough. I try so hard some days and others it just seems so elusive. Part of it – I realize now – is the process of learning. Just as a 2 year old stumbles on occasion when learning to walk, we are learning. I am learning. God gave us a body to learn how it works, how it functions, why it functions – and then to subdue it to the will of the Father. This takes time and daily repeated effort. That is diligence. The process of continuing to try and never giving up.
I was going to be hard on myself in talking about various struggles (such as listening to the Spirit and obeying personal instructions), but as I write this post I realize that though I am not perfect I still try – every day. I haven’t given up yet – though honestly sometimes it feels like a truly plausible solution – and I don’t intend to. He doesn’t ask for perfection. He only asks that our striving changes us into the beings He is trying to help us become. As I consider the daily diligence with which I am attempting to live life I see that there is a steady onward progression toward my Heavenly Father. And I am reminded that I can be happy about that.