Archive for November, 2013


Finding Success

Success is so fickle. No matter what we do it seems someone else is mores successful than us. When you think you measure up in a certain category you’ll see yourself falling short in another. That’s the natural man trying to show us we can never measure up.

All of us humans we want to be successful. I doubt there has ever been anyone born who has no goals, accomplishments, or things they want to achieve. no matter how small or short sighted we all have that desire to achieve.

Problem is things don’t always work out. People go against us, fate doesn’t work with us, the odds just are not in your favor. And yet we press on with faith that we will eventually achieve.

For me this happens all the time. I have some goals, something I want to happen and I work towards it butt life just gets in the way and it doesn’t happen. I want that taste of success in making my goals but sometimes fate just goes the other way.

In  high school I wanted to make the high school boys soccer team. There seemed no better way to find success than to be on a “real” team.

So for four years I tried out in the hopes that I would find a spot on the roster.

I tried out all four years, I never even made it past the first cuts.

Now some might say it was because I didn’t put my heart into it, I didn’t practice, prepare right or get in good enough shape for the team.

Thing is every year I went to every conditioning session for the team. I played on multiple soccer teams each year diligently going to practices to get better,  always trying to improve my skills, become the best I could.

Now I’m not saying that I was better than the boys who made the team, I’m simply stating that I did do everything I could to make that team.

But it simply wasn’t meant to be.

Every year when I was cut I  promised myself I would make the cut next year. Next year I’d be on that soccer team.

Looking back I realize now how dangerous that thinking is.

I will be eternally grateful though for one of my good friends, John who in senior year invited me to come run track with him.

It took until senior year to realize I didn’t need the soccer team to find success. Thanks to Johns invitation I had ran track with John for nearly all of the year and as a result I was able to learn and grow so much by being on the track team.

I had found success.

Not the success I thought I’d find, certainly not the success of being on the Northridge soccer team. But rather I found the success of finding a love I never would have found otherwise, I found friends who I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Now it to a purely worldly outsider it doesn’t sound like I found success.

I mean come on, I never could make the lousy high school soccer team.

But, I learned how to run, which will probably help keep me in shape for the rest of my life if i use it. I learned self confidence that I can do hard things.

I went from taking 21 minutes to run 3 miles to just under 17 minutes. That’s a success for me.

I have learned that really it doesn’t matter what achievements we receive on the outside, its really all about what you learn.

So yeah, success it doesn’t come from the outside, it comes from within.

So all of you, I challenge you to find something, anything, that you’ve been trying to achieve and it has just never worked out and find why. It doesn’t matter if the world tells find from our Heavenly Father his plan and go for it.

I know you’ll all be amazing and find the success best for you.

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Children of God

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and famous?”

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us.
It’s in everyone, and as we let our own light shine,
we consciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

a poem by Marianne Williamson

 

This poem is powerful, it has truth and to me it is inspiring.

 

What stands out to me the most is the second stanza. Its so common in life for people to take the easy way, or to take the backseat in life and to just go through the motions. Rather than using the talents their Heavenly Father has blessed them with they prefer to be comfortable and just do the minimum.

 

This is especially huge in pianists in the Church.

 

So some background, in the Church music is an integral part of life. We sing hymns in nearly all our meetings and so what’s needed is people to lead and accompany the music and its the leaders responsibility to find those people.

 

However that is something far easier to say than to do.

 

For many Bishops and other leaders though finding ward musicians can be a challenge to say the least. To begin with there usually are only a handful of people who can play or know enough to lead the music.

 

And out of this handful there are those who don’t feel comfortable using their talent because their afraid to make a mistake.

 

So all this accounts to making it very hard to fill those callings.

 

Back at college my bishop when he learned I played the piano immediately asked if I was willing to play at church. I responded I was but I didn’t understand why.

In our ward there were several music majors, all far more talented than me. Why did I need to play when I make common simple mistakes while accompanying when there were those who will one day be master pianists in the same congregation.

 

In response to my question Bishop Hall responded, “You are needed to play, because you have the ability and the will, its not about who is more accomplished than you, all that matters in a calling is whether you will do your best.”

 

Wow, it doesn’t matter that I’m not the most skilled, it doesn’t matter that I make mistakes as we sing the closing hymn.

 

That was a new idea to me, I thought the most qualified were the best but that’s a common misconception.

 

One I had had for quite a long time.

 

Bishop Hall taught me right there. A wise man imparted the simple truth to an 18 year old boy that is true for every child of God no matter the situation.

 

Use the talents God has blessed you with to bring light to others.

 

By keeping that light hid we serve no one and we should want to serve everyone.

 

Just as Christ taught in Mathew 5:14, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”

 

So use that light, that talent that God has given you and inspire others. You might make mistakes but that’s okay because as others see you striving to be the best you can be you will be that example they need to let their light shine forth.

 

So no matter what you are asked to do, do it and know that as you strive to do your best and use the talents your Heavenly Father has given you you will be living to your potential.

 

Your potential as a Child of God.

 

So use your talents, be wonderful, magnificent, amazing and serve with all your heart might mind and strength. I can promise you it will be worth it.

 

After all you don’t want to just go through the motions in life, you want to live life to the fullest and that dear brothers and sisters is done by using all your talents and abilities, not just some of them.

 

So go be amazing. You are a Child of God.

 

Child of God

Being Exceptional

So when I first became a missionary in the missionary training center or the MTC, my group was headed by a branch president, someone who presides over meetings, offers us advice and keeps going in the right direction. Basically he oversees us. My group was lead by President Stice.

 

Now President Stice was in his early 50’s, like a coach who is extremely firm in his beliefs but doesn’t force them. He always would explain them and try to help us see why he acted the way he did.  He does it his way and tried to be the best example he could for all of us new missionaries. He would use enough fire to really get our attention and to motivate us but not enough to really hurt us.

 

So our first night in the MTC he asked us a simple question. “What type of missionaries do we want to be?”

 

Pretty simple question right?

 

Now this was our first night so keep in mind we were as timid as little rabbits still venturing into the great unknown of missionary life. So as you can imagine it was pretty silent for a little while.

A couple of the bolder souls started trying to give answers . “Good, obedient, diligent, the best.” were some of the answers.

 

President Stice looked at us in a loving but firm way and informed us of what answer he was looking for.

 

“Exceptional.”

 

“I want you all to be exceptional missionaries. It’s easy to be an average missionary but to be an exceptional one, that takes something special but it will make all the difference, I promise.”

 

Now this doesn’t just apply to being a missionary, it can go for everything. So think about what type of student you are, what type of worker you are, spouse, brother, sister, discipleship of Christ.

 

Just like its easy to coast through being a missionary. Doing what’s required what everyone else does, just going with the flow. Being average.

 

I however want to focus on being a follower of Christ.

 

Do we live as Christs followers at all times? Do we really do what Christ would do? Do what Christ wants done?

 

Of course the answer for all the time is no. We all make mistakes we’re human. The important thing is are we trying. Are we trying to be exceptional followers of Christ?

 

Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is being exception. During those hard times when everything goes wrong, when you feel you just can’t do it by yourself. When you feel you just can’t stop making mistakes.

 

Its during these times we need to remember, God gave us our weakness’s.

 

In Ether 12 we are taught we’re given our weakness’s by our father so that we can grow. We grow in the hard times because its in the hardest situations that we learn the most.

 

Just like the finest steel is forged in the hottest fire so are the strongest testimonies and strengths are forged in the hardest of times.

 

An apostle of the Lord taught this in his talk of Come What May and Love It. In this talk Elder Worthlin taught that when we are going through those hard times we can choose to be discouraged by it or we can choose to move on and learn from our experiences.

 

As we learn to love the hard times with the good we’ll be able to grow, in faith, in strength and in understanding of our Father’s plan for us. We will become exceptional sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Our father may have left obstacles in our paths, mountains to climb but I promise you, if you rely on Him you will be able to overcome.

 

In closing I would ask you all to watch this video, “Mountains to Climb” and try and relate with those in it. Think of a trial you’ve had or are having in your life and after seeing how these people overcome think how the Gospel can help you just as it has helped them. I promise that with the Gospel of Christ as the center of our lives we will be able to overcome our mountains.

We can be Exceptional.