Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thoughts on General Conference: Obedience to God Brings Blessings!

This weekend was our 183rd annual General Conference, where we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints get to listen and watch as our living Prophet, Twelve apostles, and other leaders of the church speak messages of hope, happiness, peace, and inspiration to our hearts. I look forward to this every time, and know that after the weekend's over, I am left feeling a renewed conviction in my heart to be better, to live better, to act better, and to love better than ever before.
It's a powerful feeling to have in our home, as I know Micah and I are both feeling the Spirit touch our hearts, and both working towards the same goals.

Anyone who has access to a computer, television, or radio can partake of the messages from our church leaders. Many people who are not of our faith do, and many people are uplifted. It's an amazing world we live in, where we can share truth with one another so quickly; where we can click on a button and have access to the powerful messages our Heavenly Father wants us to know.

In our church we believe that we have a living prophet today, just like in the scriptures of old. We believe that messengers are still sent from God to teach, correct, and inspire us in this modern world. I think most people think of a prophet as an eccentric guy with a long beard, shouting on the streets about the end of the world; however, this prophet is a soft-spoken, loving, intelligent, scholarly, and kind elderly man, who has been called of God to lead the people of the world closer to Godliness. His intentions are pure. He isn't looking for money, and  he doesn't get paid. His desire is simply for people to come closer to God, so they can experience the immense blessings God offers them.

Some of the messages that really impacted my life this weekend were messages about absolute obedience to God and trust in the Lord. I feel that I have a significant amount  faith in this area of my life, but as my life continues to grow and change, I realize that I need to adjust to new levels of obedience. For example, when I was 21, I was newly feeling out my relationship with God, and just beginning to trust his guidance in my life. I had to trust him fully that coming back to church, keeping all of His commandments, forsaking drugs and alcohol, and living the laws of chastity were what He wanted me to do. Because of my obedience at that time, In return, He poured immense blessings into my life. I can still feel the sacred power of that time in my life--it was a beautiful and special time of recommitting myself to God, and believing fully that my obedience to Him would bless my life immeasurably. And it has. I have experienced blessings in my life way beyond what I ever imagined. I have God to thank for all that I have--my husband, my children, my internal feelings of peace and happiness, my integrity, and my ability to overcome challenges that I never thought I could overcome. He has showed me a path to greatness, and I will be forever dedicated to Him for that.

Yet now that I am 34, I find that He requires a new level of obedience from me. I am not a young girl anymore! I no longer struggle with chastity--I am a married woman! I no longer question the Word of Wisdom--alcohol, drugs, and chemical dependencies have no place in my life! I no longer push against  honesty and integrity--I am true to myself and what I believe! And I no longer treat His commandments like a buffet, picking and choosing what appeals to me--I know that I am blessed when I keep every last one of them, and especially when I repent for the ones I totally mess up on!

Because I am older and in an entirely different stage of life now, It's time for me to recommit to being more obedient. The rules have changed, and the bar has risen. I can feel this with all my heart.
My Heavenly Father has been patiently waiting for me to recommit to Him in the ways that I need to grow. For me this means having absolute faith and trust in the Lord that the things I am doing will result in happiness, and blessings, and closeness to God. For me this means faithfully attending church every Sunday, honoring and keeping the covenants I have made with God in His Temple, faithfully serving in my callings, reading my scriptures, and making time each morning and night and throughout the day to pray. This also means trusting the Lord that He is guiding me as a mother, believing that my calling as a mother is divine.
Yes, the levels of obedience have changed over time, and will continue to change as I continue to trust in Him fully.

In summary, the main message I walked away with from General Conference this weekend was that it's time to recommit to obedience. It's time to walk forward with even more faith, and watch as the blessings are poured out over my life.

God wants this for all of us and I know He is ever so patiently waiting for our understanding to come.

Here is a wonderful message from our living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, about the blessings of obedience, called Obedience Brings Blessings. Enjoy!


Utah Running Guide said...

So refreshing! A conference re-cap that doesn't center around the gender of the those offering the prayers!

I know what you mean - obedience and living the gospel means something different to me now, than during the college-age years. Sometimes, I feel like it was easier back then! And sometimes I think it wasn't - it was just different.
But now, not only do we have to live it ourselves, but we gotta teach a buncha little people to also! :) Such an awesome responsibility.


Da Denninghoff's said...

Conference was awesome! eloquently said Sally! and I do think youre right about our level of obedience increases throughout different stages in our life. One thing that stood out to me after conference was "to be of good cheer" with my new calling and being a mother to my kids life can get a little overwhelming that I forget that God REALLY wants me to be happy that he in facts commands it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Sally Jackson said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, friends. Chelsea, it IS an awesome responsibility-and one I don't take lightly! Funny about the gender prayer thing. I didn't even notice until my husband pointed it out (that a woman was saying the open prayer) Who really cares??
Coincidentally, I am saying the opening prayer in Sacrament today, and I hope everyone sees how female I am. snarf snarf
Nita, that is a wonderful phrase to remember! being happy is truly the "object of our existence" as Joseph Smith once said. I wholeheartedly agree!