Monday, September 30, 2013

Avoiding Whales

So there I was, minding my own business, when an irritating inner nudge began to pester. I did my best to ignore it, coming up with all kinds of reasons to reject the prompting. No one needs to hear from me today. Others will share the message that needs to be contributed. It won't come out right anyway--and then I'll be mocked.

As these thoughts and others plagued during Fast Sunday, I continued to sit on my nice, comfortable seat, squirming in place until my husband inquired if I needed to make use of the facilities down the hall. =)

I found myself thinking of others who had felt a similar way. Take Moses, for instance. He was told that he needed to journey back to Egypt and have a chat with Pharaoh. I'm sure his inner struggle went something like this:

He won't listen to me anyway. Other people could do a much better job of sharing this message. It won't come out right--and then I'll be mocked. 

Then there was Jonah: They won't listen to me anyway. Someone else could do a better job of sharing this message. It won't come out right--and then I'll be mocked. Plus, I'm a tiny bit scared of these people. 

So on and so forth. In the case of Moses, he was given the reassurance that all would be well, and he was provided with a spokes-person in the form of his brother, Aaron.

Having a gifted spokesperson would be real boon. If I had such a thing, I could merely gesture to him/her and let them take over the conversation, testimony, talk, fireside, etc. whenever things get difficult. "And now, a word or two from someone who actually makes sense . . ." The pressure to strive for perfection would fade, since my personal spokesperson would see to it that the message I desire to convey is done so in the best way possible. I would LOVE that. ;)

However . . . I'm sure there could be a downside. For instance . . . what if my spokesperson had different ideas about how to present my message . . . and what if the message changed, based on their perspective? Then it would cease to be what I felt prompted to share. Hmmmm.

Let's reflect on Jonah. Maybe he had the right idea. When in doubt, run away. =) At times, I can see when this is preferred to standing up in front of people who judge you when something is stuck between your teeth, your shirt is buttoned wrong, or you're wearing two different shoes. These occasions tend to inspire creative mockery from the audience.

Upon further reflection, it didn't do Jonah any good to run away. He nearly caused the drowning demise of an entire shipload of people, not to mention the fact that he was swallowed by a whale. I can think of more enjoyable pastimes. I suspect Jonah was so relieved to be spit up on the shore, that suddenly, talking to the scary group of people seemed to be a better option. And we all know how Jonah's story turned out--an entire city was saved because he finally found the courage to share God's message.

I guess what I am attempting to say is this . . . when we receive promptings to do something . . . and it's a good thing . . . (one has to consider where the prompting is coming from) do it. As Nephi discovered, a way is provided for us to accomplish those often overwhelming "assignments." And as Joseph Smith learned, great things can come from small and simple acts of obedience. (See D. & C. 64:33-34 &; Joseph Smith History 1:7-19, not to mention, D. & C. 123:16).

Did I heed the prompting I was given yesterday? Grudgingly at first . . . but, yes, I finally did. I'll admit that I dragged my feet every step of the way up to the pulpit . . . but after gathering my courage, I did my best to share what was in my heart. Did it come out perfectly? No. After I returned to my seat, I was hit with "Dang it! I meant to say, this and this and this." Sigh . . .but then a quiet sense of inner peace indicated that I had done the best that I could do and all was well.

That's all our Father expects from any of us. We are given opportunities to do good things in this troubled world. We simply need to listen to the Still Small Voice, gather our courage, and faithfully strive to do our best. We may never know why we felt prompted to do some items--but I can testify that if it's a good thing, it's important to simply do it. Do it without questioning: "Why," "How," or "Me? Really?" If we will give heed to positive promptings, we will receive the guidance and help we need, one step at a time.


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