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Conference Thoughts - Being Accepted of the Lord

I taught RS today.  I was assigned the talk by Erich W. Kopischke entitled Being Accepted of the Lord.  It is a bit out of the order I was going in, but I wanted to comment on it anyway.  I will also post an addition blog for last weeks Conference talk.  I was traveling with family from camping and didn't record my thoughts.  I'd better get on that.

"The feeling of being accepted by someone we love is a basic human need. Being accepted by good people motivates us. It increases our sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Those who cannot find acceptance from desirable sources often seek it elsewhere. They may look to people who are not interested in their well-being. They may attach themselves to false friends and do questionable things to try to receive the acknowledgment they are seeking. They may seek acceptance by wearing a particular brand of clothing to generate a feeling of belonging or status. For some, striving for a role or a position of prominence can also be a way of seeking acceptance. They may define their worth by a position they hold or status they obtain."

Nothing could be more far from the truth.  The first people we all seek approval from is our parents. Even when we differ in our method, opinions or interests we continue to seek the approval of parents and family members.  I think this is an example of the wisdom of our Father in Heaven.  Family units are His unit, His organisation, designed to help us feel Him and remember His unconditional love for us.  What we do in our earthly families should reflect our heavenly family.  Thus, seeking our earthly family's approval mirrors seeking our Father in Heaven's approval for us as individuals.

As we get older we branch out.  We seek the approval of friends and peers.  We seek out people with similar interests.  We seek to belong.  

Now I have never read the book about love languages.  I just try to observe what ways the people who are important to me feel loved the most... and then I do my best to to that action, even if it isn't my style.

Sadly, I often feel criticized for how I choose to show love to people who are difficult.  I often feel judged for how I choose to teach others, especially my children.  I often feel the disapproving eye of those, even those who are close to me, as I choose to interact with those that have made choices that are not in line with my core values.

Yet, I feel peace.  I was taught to pray about my problems and that God would inspire me how to handle them.  I was taught that answers will come.  I was taught that answers are found in the scriptures.

I may feel sad that many don't understand what I choose to do.  I may feel lonely on my journey.  Yet I feel peace because I know that I have received answers and I am doing my best to follow the promptings of the Spirit.

I am far from the best parent in the world, but I give it my best shot.  That shot includes honoring agency, even when the choices sting.  That shot includes serving, even if it appears I am a door mat.  That shot includes avoiding contention.

This talked help me put me feelings into perspective.  As I seek the Lords approval I will feel the Spirit more strongly in my life and I will be guided as to what actions I need to take to guide my children and those around me to seek the Lord as well.

The key to return to seeking the approval of the Lord.

"Alma counseled his son Helaman, “See that ye look to God and live.”1 The ultimate source of empowerment and lasting acceptance is our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They know us. They love us. They do not accept us because of our title or position. They do not look at our status. They look into our hearts. They accept us for who we are and what we are striving to become. Seeking and receiving acceptance from Them will always lift and encourage us."

I take great peace in the examples of loving parents that are found in the scriptures.

Lehi never kicked Laman and Lemuel out of the camp... even when they were rude... when they were selfish.... when they only wanted their FATHER'S money and weren't willing to work for their own means... even when they were terrible to their younger siblings.  Lehi continued to believe in them.  Lehi continued to teach and to counsel them.  Nephi and Sam demonstrated the teaching of their parents as they forgave their brothers   Lehi continued to INVITE.  Lehi continued to INCLUDE.  Lehi continued Love. His love trickled down to other family members and generations later they were still inviting, including, and loving those family members that had left.

Alma the older also followed this pattern.  Let's face it.  Alma the Younger made life hard for his parents.  I imagine that he was a stinker!  I imagine that he was rude and disrespectful  and lazy.  That did not stop his father from praying for him.  That did not stop the teaching and the loving.

"I will share a simple pattern which, if applied, can help every one of us find ultimate acceptance. This pattern was given by the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me.”2
This pattern consists of three simple steps:
  1. 1. 
    Know that our hearts are honest and broken,
  2. 2. 
    Know that our spirits are contrite, and
  3. 3. 
    Be willing to observe our covenants by sacrifice, as commanded by the Lord."
Simple patterns are often the hardest patterns to follow.  We like to make them complicated.

See.  That is where the problem lies.  Making the process of feeling god's love so darn hard.  But it is not hard.  Start with yourself and then let that light you feel help those around you that you love.
"We need to know that our hearts are honest and broken. How do we know that? We begin by engaging in sincere self-reflection. The heart is the center of our feelings. As we look into our hearts, we screen ourselves. What no one around us knows, we surely know. We know our motives and desires. When we engage in sincere, honest reflection, we do not rationalize or deceive ourselves.
There is also a way to judge if our hearts are broken. A broken heart is a soft, an open, and a receptive heart. When I hear the Savior say, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock,”3 I hear Him knocking at the door of my heart. If I open this door to Him, I am more responsive to the invitations of the Spirit, and I am more accepting of God’s will.
As we sincerely and prayerfully ponder the extent to which our hearts are honest and broken, we will be taught by the Holy Ghost. We will receive a sweet confirmation or gentle correction, inviting us to act."
Being honest with your self takes work at times.  However, I am confident that if we are doing our best we will know where we stand with God.  The mere fact that we ask will be the key to opening the flood gates of all the love God has to offer us.
"We have to know that our spirit is contrite. The word contrite in the Oxford dictionary is defined as “feeling or expressing remorse at the recognition that one has done wrong.” If we have a contrite spirit, we acknowledge our sins and shortcomings. We are teachable “concerning [all] things pertaining to righteousness.” We feel godly sorrow and are willing to repent. A contrite spirit is willing to listen “to the enticings of the Holy Spirit.”
A contrite spirit is manifest by our willingness and determination to act. We are willing to humble ourselves before God, willing to repent, willing to learn, and willing to change. We are willing to pray, “Not my will, but thine, be done.”
Perhaps this step is the hardest.  "Oh Lord it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way...." comes to mind.  I often catch myself in a "my way or the highway" mentality.  The Lord is definitely teaching me that His way is the only way.  Yet, I often catch myself bucking the very plan I fought for... agency... choice... accountability... family... love... repentance... forgiveness...
"The third step to being accepted by the Lord is a conscious decision to observe our covenants through sacrifice, “yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command.”  Too often we think that the word sacrifice refers to something big or hard for us to do. In certain situations this may be true, but mostly it refers to living day-to-day as a true disciple of Christ."
"When you are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

See... I choose to do what I do because I know that service is the way to reach my heart  as well as the hearts of the people I love.  Just because I serve does not mean I did not teach.  In serving I am hoping to teach a greater lesson.

"Seeking and receiving the acceptance of the Lord will lead to the knowledge that we are chosen and blessed by Him. We will gain increased confidence that He will lead us and direct us for good. His tender mercies will become evident in our hearts, in our lives, and in our families."

I love that promise.  My family needs the blessings!

“Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;
“And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.”
I know that the Lord is there.  I know that He is knocking.  He wants us to know that we are approved of.  He wants us to know that we are loved... unconditionally.  He wants us to know that He answers prayers.  He wants us to know that we are beautiful and lovely.  He wants us to know that we matter.  He wants us to know that we have value... great value as jewels in His crown of glory continually reflecting His light.  He wants us to know that He will forgive.
All we have to do is open the door.

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