Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Look Not Behind Thee"

"The perfect place to start is exactly where you are now."
Happy New Year everyone! I hope your Christmas went well and you've made a good head start on some of those New Year's Resolutions!

This new year gives us a chance to reflect on what happened last year and make goals for how we want to improve this year. But just because we reflect on the past doesn't mean we dwell on it. If you had a crappy year, don't focus on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what went right and how you can make this year even better!

Whether you have a good year, however, depends entirely on YOU. Everything depends on your attitude and choices. You chose whether you're going to be happy or not, whether you're successful or not, whether you're going to be better or stay the same. You can't sit back and wait for happiness to fall into your lap just because you expect it. You have to make some effort first. Just a little bit every day will help you in the long run.

This new year I have a new companion and lots of great advice about how I can make this next 6 weeks, and this year, the very best of my life. I'm following my own advice. I'm not going to let the things that held me back before my mission or even during my first two transfers continue to impede my growth. I'm starting this year with a fresh and strong determination to make this next six weeks, and this entire year, better than ever.

I'm not only going to be trying to teach more effectively, but I will do my best to completely overcome my character flaws--or at least turn them over to the Lord so he can make up for what I can't. Don't get me wrong--I don't plan to be perfect, nor can I be because I am mortal. Because I'm mortal, I can't reach perfection in this life. But I can be perfect at trying. I want to be perfect and using the Atonement in my life to  improve every day. I want to be perfect at being a little better every day. And I know that is possible with the help of my Heavenly Father and my Savior.

In the last two weeks since New Year's, I've begun already my journey toward perfect trying. And what a change I've already seen! Before January 1, I was too afraid to go out of my comfort zone and talk to everyone we saw on the streets. I didn't have the confidence in my ability to get people initially interested in the gospel. But my new companion has been pushing me and leading me by example, and I've been doing what she asks me to to step outside my box, and we have seen so many miracles! I'd have to do an entirely separate post to describe them all! And I still have so much room for improvement!

I know that the success and the changes I've seen in myself aren't the result of my own abilities. There is no way I could have changes so quickly without the help of Divinity. I have seen these changes because I have prayed for my Heavenly Father to strengthen me and give me the confidence to do His work, and I am willing to surrender my will and my comfort zone in order to be an instrument in His hands to bring His children back to Him. And I know also that anyone can have these experiences and see these changes in their lives. All you have to do is pray for strength from Heavenly Father and Christ will grant it if you are sincere.

So, I invite you all to do this simple thing: Set a goal to improve yourself (or really any goal), make a plan to accomplish it, and then ask your Father in Heaven for His help in achieving this goal. I know He will help you. But you have to take the first step.

Tender Mercy: Where do I start? I've seen so many since my last post, most of them in the last 10 days. But in short, every time my companion and I have been having a hard time with our investigators, with appointments falling through and people deciding not to listen to us, Heavenly Father has given us just one person who kept their appointment or led us to just one person ready to hear the gospel, and blessed us with spiritual experience after spiritual experience. And each one I know is my Heavenly Father telling me, and my companion, that He is proud of us and He appreciates our efforts, so He gives us little successes.

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