Being a disciple of Christ has many promises, promises that seem far away from where we are in our daily struggles. We pray for loved ones to be safe, and sometimes they are injured. We pray for their strength, and they have weakness. We pray for health but sickness seems a dominant experience. Where is the promise that if we ask we shall receive? Our understanding and actions of faith seem inadequate among the loud summons of the world. How do we accept our perfect imperfection? Being present in living the gospel, continuing obedience and faith despite being perfectly imperfect will bring more feelings of happiness in walking the path of discipleship.
A Place of Nurture
“And do you hear and answer every child’s prayer?”
As perfectly imperfect disciples we often feel out of place at church at some time in our lives. Perhaps that is due to our point of view. President Uchtdorf describes Church as a service center, “where vehicles in need of repair come for maintenance and rehabilitation…We come to church not to hide our problems but to heal them.”2 We can start with whatever strengths we have now and grow in our discipleship by applying and practicing gospel principles everyday. As we follow the Savior’s example and serve, we are humbled in focusing on the needs of others, even if we too are in great need.
When a young mother struggled with her faith, her ward became a place of nurture where she was counseled to focus on what she knew. prayer, reading the book of mormon, thinking about her children and serving in the church nurtured her spirit and guided her through her doubts and questions until she came to peace and clarity. She felt wanted and that what she gave was enough. The words of Mosiah inspired her, ” Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things…; belive that he has all wisdom, and all power both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” Sister Wixom said, “I was reminded that ‘it is upon the rock of our Redeemer’ that we all must build our foundation.” Reaching beyond limits of reason, faith allows us to feel the Lord answer our many please. “We are all pilgrims seeking God’s light as we journey on the path of discipleship,” quoted Sister Wixom of President Uchtdorf, “We do not condemn others for the amount of light they may or may not have; rather, we nourish and encourage all light until it grows clear, bright, and true.”3
Seeking the Lord
“Some say that Heaven is far away.”
Elder Jose A. Teixeira of the Seventy said, “the more we understand the extraordinary role of Christ in our lives, the more conscious we become of our purpose here in mortality, which is to have joy. That joy, however, does not preclude s from experiencing trials and difficulties, even some so great and complex that they may lead us to think that happiness is not possible in such circumstances.” He explained that simple gestures and acts daily will help us deepen and share our understanding of the Lord and His gospel. Three healthy online habits include:
- Visit Church Official Websites for Resources
- Subscribe to the Church’s Official Social Networks
- Make Time to Set Aside Your Mobile Devices 4
Bishop Causse’ reminds us that the Book of Mormon describes periods similar to our own between the signs of Christ’s birth and his death. People were amazed at the signs of his birth and then they were less faithful and began to doubt. In order to have ” eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that perceive the wonders of this marvelous gospel, ” Bishop Causse’ invites us to do three things:
- Never Tire of Discovering/Rediscovering the Truths of the Gospel; Hunger and Thirst Everyday After Spiritual Knowledge
- Anchor Faith in Simple Truths of Gospel; In Purity of Covenants and Ordinances, and in Our Most Simple Acts of Worship
- Seek and Cherish the Companionship of the Holy Ghost 5
Can we seek the Lord any more than through accepting His Grace? “With the gift of God’s grace, the path of discipleship does not lead backward; it leads upward” says President Uchtdorf. “Many people feel discouraged because they constantly fall short…
“As we walk the path of discipleship, it refines us, it improves us, it helps us to become more like Him…[the Spirit of God]…brings about such “a mighty change in us” …our obedience to God’s commandments comes as a natural outgrowth of our endless love and gratitude…this form of genuine love and gratitude will miraculously merge our works with God’s grace.” 6
Puzzle Piece Perspective
“But I feel it close around me as I pray.”
Elder Pino shared an experience about his children enjoying jigsaw puzzles. One of his children
would get frustrated when a piece did not fit where he thought it should as he would focus on individual pieces. He was able to do the puzzle when he learned that each piece had a place in the bigger picture. “The Lord knows where each piece belongs…It is important that we do not make decisions of eternal value from the perspective of mortality (one single puzzle piece).” 7
“We have taken His name upon us,” says Elder Neil L. Andersen, “His cause is the greatest in all the world.” He continues, “Brothers and sisters, seeing and believing the Lord’s miracles in establish
ing His kingdom on earth can help us see and believe that the Lord’s hand is at work in our own lives as well…As we are spiritually awake and alert, we see His hand across the world and we see His hand in our own personal lives.”
“And in nothing doth man offend God…save those who confess not his hand in all things.” 8
Elder Zeballos pointed out “four key principles that will help us fulfill our desire to be responsible to our Father in Heaven:
- Learning Our Duty
- Making the Decision (whether we act)
- Acting Accordingly
- Willingly Accepting the Father’s Will 9
The Lord accepts our imperfectly perfect discipleship as we daily show our love by accepting His grace and keeping His commandments. There is a painting in one of the foyers of our meetinghouse of the Savior knocking on a door. I love this painting and point it out to any little children I am blessed to care for. It reminds me to open the door and let Him in. I can do that, as can you, by being present in the gospel, obedient and faithful,despite our perfect imperfections.
- “A Child’s Prayer,” CS 12.
- President Uchtdorf, Dieter F. “On Being Genuine.” Ensign May 2015, 83.
- Wixom, Rosemary. “Returning to Faith.” Ensign May 2015, 93-95.
- Teixeira, Elder Jose A. “Seeking the Lord,” Ensign May 2015, 96-98.
- Causse’, Bishop Gerald. ” Is It Still Wonderful to You?” Ensign May 2015, 98-100.
- Uchtdorf, President Dieter F. “The Gift of Grace.” Ensign May 2015, 107-110.
- Pino, Elder Rafael E. “The Eternal Perspective of the Gospel.” Ensign May 2105, 117-119.
- Andersen, Elder Neil L. “Thy Kingdom Come.” Ensign May 2015, 119-122.
- Zeballos, Elder Jorge F. “If you Will Be Responsible.” Ensign May 2015, 123-126.