Vertically Connected Blog
Years ago, a student of mine named Becca was having a cooking party with some of her Chinese friends. They were going to make some authentic Chinese food, and Becca was going to make them some authentic American food: chocolate chip cookies.
As she was carefully following her mom’s tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe, Becca’s Chinese friend came over and, pointing to the piece of paper she was looking at, said, “Becca, what is that?”
“This?” she asked. “It’s a recipe.”
“What is a recipe?” he asked.
“It’s the instructions I use to make my cookies.”
“Do you always use one of those?”
She told him she did. And then he said to her, “Oh, in my country, we don’t use those. We cook by feel.”
“I thought that was interesting,” Becca shared. “But I went back to making my cookies the way I always do — measuring everything carefully, leveling the flour with a knife, making sure I was adding the ingredients in the exact order they were listed on my recipe. I know that if I want my cookies to turn out like my Mom’s, then I have to follow the recipe exactly.
“A moment later my friend came back over to me and asked, ‘Can I ask you another question, Becca?’
“I said, ‘Sure.’
“‘Do you live your life that way, too?’
“I was so surprised at his question. But I found myself half-smiling and answering, ‘Um . . . yeah . . . maybe I do.’”
Becca then shared with me, “As I thought later about his question, I realized that is how I live my life. I couldn’t believe it. I want to be in control of everything, making sure I can control the outcome. I hate surprises. And so, I plan things out in my life, ‘measuring’ everything carefully and in the exact order, trying to make sure that things happen exactly the way I want them to. And I do this all the time. I don’t have a clue how to live ‘by feel.’”
As I have thought more about Becca's experience, I have discovered that her approach to life could be one reason all of us might struggle at some point in our lives.
Sometimes, we try to live by a “recipe,” much like we would carefully follow a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I call it being “recipe-driven,” and it usually involves this mentality: “If I do A then B then C, then surely I will get D.”
In other words, we expect that a certain and specific investment of our time, energy, ability, or even faith will produce a certain and specific outcome.
There's only one problem with this mentality.
Besides being an incredibly frustrating way to live, being recipe-driven actually hinders our growth and happiness in many ways – including socially, emotionally, professionally, academically, and spiritually.
Before we dive into how, let's look into what being recipe-driven might look like.
In all honesty, when it comes to being recipe-driven, the process is usually a little different for each of us, but the premise is largely the same.
We can be recipe-driven in relationships, jobs, and even callings. “I’ve got to be assistant manager by 28 and manager by 30, so I can take over the business at 35.” or “The girls have to have a spiritual experience on the night hike at camp.”
We can create recipes for gaining a testimony, repenting, or finding a spouse. “We have to visit all the church history sites or our children won't gain a strong testimony of the Restoration.”
Michelle and I have even recognized a recipe-like mentality in some of our parenting, thinking that there’s only one acceptable path of success or righteousness. With this mindset, a parent’s good intentions become a calculated effort to make sure a son is in baseball, student government, the honors society, and choir, or a daughter is popular, athletic, artistic, and spiritual — activities or character traits that almost become checklists for good parenting (or good kids).
One husband even shared: “I’ve figured out that somewhere in the back of my head I had a ‘recipe’ for a good marriage. I had very specific ‘ingredients’ that I thought had to be part of a marriage. They were silly ideas like if we truly had a good marriage, then we would discipline the same way, always be happy to see each other at the end of every day, or agree on how to invest our money. My wife and I have a great marriage, but often I have been frustrated with it without knowing why. I now realize it is because I thought that, without certain ingredients, my marriage wasn’t good or would possibly fail.”
It may already be obvious by now, but being recipe-driven robs us of many things including joy, peace, and gratitude.
Because life isn’t just about simply adding “ingredients” together in the right order to produce the results we want, trying to live by a recipe sets us up for a lot of disappointment, frustration, and even struggles with faith.
Our plans just don’t always go as planned.
We get sick on our mission and must come home.
We can’t figure out what to major in and it takes us seven years to finish college.
We don’t get the promotion we thought we would.
We’re 32 and still not married.
Our children won’t follow our “recipe” like they’re supposed to.
Our marriage has problems we never imagined it would.
We suffer from health problems that we never expected.
And then, just like when a batch of cookies doesn't turn out like we expected, we assume we must have done something wrong along the way!
In fact, an underlying factor in many of our recipes are our expectations: We expect our spouse to react a certain way; we expect a child to make a certain decision; we expect our conscientious efforts planning a family vacation will produce a perfect, stress-free, bonding experience for every member of our family. These unwritten, often unspoken, ideas can get in the way of reason. They can get in the way of our relationships. And they can certainly get in the way of revelation —especially if our expectations about others are actually about us.
One mother shared this interesting story about being recipe-driven:
“A few years ago when our oldest son came home from his mission, I was surprised to find myself feeling hurt, frustrated with my family, and even a little disappointed with my missionary. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. It should have been such a glorious reunion. We were all so happy he was home. And yet I had all sorts of insecure emotions in my heart. I later realized that I had created expectations of the experience. I expected our reunion to go a certain way. I expected our son to act a certain way. I even expected our family to shape up a little bit and behave better than normal so that we could be one big happy family. And I didn’t even know I had those expectations!
“However, because it wasn’t quite happening the way I expected, I felt incredibly disappointed and frustrated with the whole experience. I also later recognized that because of those expectations, I was missing out on the other wonderful experiences our family was having. I wasn’t noticing the ways he had grown and changed. I was also not as in tune as I could have been to what I might need to do or say to help our son transition after his mission the way he needed to. I was just hung up on what wasn’t happening.”
Being recipe-driven is a mentality that focuses far more on outcomes and outward successes than on experiences and the benefit of a process. It causes us to become so set on the way we think things should be done — on our “recipe” — that we don’t want to consider another plan or that we might be wrong. And sometimes, because of this mindset, our spiritual efforts become rote checklists that are disconnected from genuine efforts of the heart such as patience, compassion, learning how to be guided by the Spirit, and faith in the Savior.
In fact, there’s really no room for mistakes, learning experiences, or even personal revelation in these recipes we create for life, all of which seems so contrary to the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In our efforts to control and organize our lives, we, instead, create rigid parameters and even bondage.
This is a brief discussion on what being recipe-driven looks like.
Have there been thoughts that have come to your mind about your own life?
Have you recognized ways you may have created a recipe for a certain experience?
Or can you maybe now see reasons you might be feeling frustrated with something in your life or struggling with your faith because a situation didn’t turn out the way you expected?
When we recognize our recipes, we recognize much more than our unrealistic plans.
We begin to recognize reasons our relationships are suffering.
We begin to realize why we are feeling hopeless.
And we even begin to understand why our faith is wavering.
And I have discovered that it's often not because of something we are doing wrong or something wrong in our lives, but rather these unrealistic outcomes we are expecting in our lives.
Once we start to recognize these expectations, we can begin the process of rewriting the hopes and plans for our lives - which usually involves having (or praying for) the humility to ask the Lord to refine our expectations, broaden our understanding, open our eyes, and educate our desires (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “According to the Desires of Our Hearts).
It is an incredible journey to go on and so worth taking.
I am often asked by young single adults, “How do I know if I’m really in love?”
Today’s discussion shares one way young people – and anyone really who is in a relationship – can with more surety know if they are really in love.
And it has to do with understanding the connection between the doctrine of the body, the law of chastity, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Let’s start with a question:
What would have become of us had Christ not atoned for our sins and granted us a redemption and resurrection?
The Book of Mormon prophet Jacob gave a pretty clear answer: “If the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more. And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself . . . “ (2 Nephi 9:8-9).
In the simplest terms, without Christ’s Atonement, we would have become devils: without a body, miserable, shut out, hopeless, and angels to the devil.
Now, as horrible as all of that may sound, that “no body” part is possibly the most important.
God sent us here to be tested in order to learn and progress. And we are able to be tested because we have bodies. Those bodies can bring joy and they can also bring pain. The Savior’s Atonement assured that we could keep these bodies and have them perfected in the next life on the conditions that we understand their purpose, take care of them, and use repentance when we sin, among other things.
Because Christ paid that ransom from death and hell and subjection to the devil, He became the owner of our bodies.
Paul reminds us: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Thus, our bodies are not our own. They are Christ’s.
That may seem logical on paper.
But how does that work in real life?
Let me give a quick analogy.
The computer that I am typing on is my computer.
Why? Because I paid for it.
If I decide to loan it to someone, then as the owner I have the right to set parameters on how this computer can be used and for what purposes. I can say I don’t want a certain program on it. I can say I don’t want it lent to someone else. I can also ask for an accounting of how it is being taken care of by the person I lent it to. Those are all realistic expectations if it is my computer.
One insight that I think that is really important in this analogy is that the borrower of the computer has an accountability to the owner of the computer. And the way that computer is treated often reflects, at least to some degree, how he feels about the owner. If the computer is misused, lent out without permission, or even broken, the relationship between the lender and the borrower can become damaged.
And that’s not necessarily because the owner has done anything wrong.
It is usually because of how the borrower misused the computer. Maybe he feels bad that something happened to it, or guilty he didn’t take better care of it. She might avoid the owner or begin to dislike him because of how she feels about herself when thinking about the damaged computer. Some even become angry with the owner for having such ridiculous expectations about his computer.
Again, notice the owner has not done anything but loan out his computer with some requirements.
Can you see how this analogy can be applied to what we have been talking about?
Because our bodies are not our own, because they have been bought with a heavy price by the Savior, we are not only given expectations of how we should care for them, but we also need permission from Him on what can be done with them.
In this context, the law of chastity is directly connected to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The most precious blood was sacrificed so that can have a body and have it perfected like our Father's.
And we don’t own it. He does.
And He must be the one that gives divine sanction for its use. This divine sanction not only applies to how we personally care for our own bodies, but also to what we allow others to do to our bodies and to what we do to other’s bodies.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught:
“We declare that one who uses the God-given body of another without divine sanction abuses the very soul of that individual, abuses the central purpose and processes of life. . . . In exploiting the body of another—which means exploiting his or her soul—one desecrates the Atonement of Christ, which saved that soul and which makes possible the gift of eternal life. And when one mocks the Son of Righteousness, one steps into a realm of heat hotter and holier than the noonday sun. You cannot do so and not be burned.” (“Personal Purity,” Ensign, Nov. 1998)
This leads us to the initial question about love.
Love has much more to do with respect for our bodies – and Whose they are – than we may realize.
The Savior taught through His prophet Alma: “See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love” (Alma 38:12).
Notice the verb used in this sentence. It doesn’t say ignore all your passions. It doesn’t say remove them, nor does it say extinguish them. It says bridle them.
These passions are good. They have a divine source, for they were placed inside of us by our Heavenly Father. He even commanded Adam and Eve to become one flesh; He gave divine sanction for them to become one. When divine sanction or command is given then the fullness of the blessings can also be received.
These passions just need to be contained.
They need parameters.
They need permission.
Elder David A. Bednar says it this way. “Love increases through righteous restraint and decreases through impulsive indulgence.” (“We Believe in Being Chaste,” Ensign, April 2013)
I am 100% convinced this is true.
The way we can tell if we are really in love is to contain or set parameters around our passions. Love increases through restraint borne of respect, understanding, gratitude, and obedience.
Let me share a real-life example.
One day I was substituting for one of my colleagues, and I decided to teach this lesson about the connection between the law of chastity and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We talked about our bodies not being our own and that we do not have the right to share them nor use other’s bodies without divine sanction and permission.
We then talked about kissing. I shared with my students that the real purpose of a kiss – and I think what it’s divine purpose has always been - is to express love or affection for another person. The purpose of a kiss is not to be selfish; it’s not meant to only satisfy the one initiating the kiss.
I then challenged any students who were currently in a relationship or dating someone exclusively to take a two week break from kissing and see how they feel about each other during this time.
Well, about a week after the class, I was sitting in my office and I looked over and there was a note sliding under my door. I jumped up and opened the door and there was a young man standing up to walk away. I invited him in and asked what I could do for him.
He said, “Do you remember subbing for my class the other day?” I said yes.
He then shared, “I sat there and listened to the things that you taught and I wondered if I really love my girlfriend. We have been dating for about 5 months and I know that I like to kiss her, but I wondered, ‘Do I love her?’ I decided that I was not going to kiss her for a while and if I really felt I should, that it would only be a peck on the cheek or on the forehead. Well, I had to come and share with you what has happened. I have felt more love for her in the last week than I have in the last five months combined. I can't believe it. It works! This really is how it works.”
I was so grateful he had "experimented upon the word" (Alma 32:27) for himself.
And I was so grateful he came and shared it with me. It was such a powerful example of how true love is borne from something more than physical pleasure. And so, the next week, I decided to share his experience in my own marriage preparation classes.
A few days later, a young lady came to talk to me. She sat down and proceeded to tell me that the story I had shared in class was about her boyfriend.
I had no idea! And I immediately thought, “Oh no, maybe I shouldn’t have shared it.”
But then she said, “My boyfriend didn’t tell me about the lesson you taught in his class. He just stopped kissing me. And so I thought for sure that he didn’t love me anymore and that he was going to break up with me.”
She then shared this powerful thought: “Part way through the week, he walked me to the door and gave me a simple peck on the forehead. I felt so loved at that moment. In fact, I have felt more loved in the last couple of weeks then in all the months we've been dating!” She had no idea that her boyfriend had said almost exactly the same words to me a few days before.
President Spencer W. Kimball taught that “even if timely courtship justifies a kiss, it should be a clean, decent, sexless one like the kiss between mother and son, or father and daughter.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 281).
Now, as you read this, that may seem kind of weird or even gross. Or maybe you are thinking, "Well, none of us will ever get married if we kiss like that!"
But consider this: I have six daughters and I love each one of them with all of my soul. They mean everything to me. I would do whatever I could to make sure they are safe, loved, and taken care of. All throughout their lives, before they went to bed or left the house, I would give them a kiss on the head. It has even become such a routine that when I come over to give them a kiss, they just automatically put they head towards me.
Why do I give them a kiss?
Because I want them to know that I love them with all of my heart and soul.
Because I want them to know I would do anything for them.
I wonder if that may have been what President Kimball was talking about: that when a kiss is given, it should be out of this kind of love, a true love not just to satisfy one’s own desire, but to express these kinds of genuine, tender feelings.
To know if you are really in love – and not what the world calls love but the kind of love that has divine sanction – is an important thing to know.
And you are more likely to really know if you are in love when you understand the gift your body really is, the price that was paid for it, the love your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ not only have for you but want you to experience for yourself, and the power that will come into your life when you keep passion within the divine parameters established for it.
Sister Wendy Watson Nelson testified: “Personal purity is the key to true love. The more pure your thoughts and feelings, your words and actions, the greater your capacity to give and receive true love. . . . Do whatever it takes to keep your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions pure. Invite the Spirit to guide you. . . . As you work to become more pure, you will have the Holy Ghost with you more and more. Your ability to receive personal revelation will increase, which means you’ll have clearer direction for your life. You’ll feel more peace and more joy, less lonely, and more hopeful about your future. . . “ (“Love and Marriage”, Jan. 8th 2017, Devotional for Young Adults)
Indeed, the purer your relationships are, the more peace you will feel, the more revelation you will receive, and the more true love you will experience.
To read more about this and other issues facing LDS Young Single Adults, click here.
In lieu of Valentine's Day this week - or what many of my students call "Single Awareness Day" - we are going to talk about relationships today.
For many years, I have watched young single adults ride the roller coaster of relationships. In the process of trying to find someone they want to spend not only the rest of this life with, but the rest of eternity, there are many ups and downs involved - indeed, some great highs and some pretty bad lows.
And for some, the dating ride lasts a whole long longer than they expected it would.
As crazy, exhilarating, and sometimes painful as that ride can be, I believe it is all part of the incredible learning experiences found in dating and courtship.
And, to be honest, I think that's really one of the purposes in all of it: there is so much to learn - about life, about others, about relationships, and especially about ourselves and our Creator - as we pursue and form genuine, meaningful relationships with other people. Indeed, all of our experiences can teach us something!
So in that spirit of learning, I will share some of the questions that I have been asked over the many years I have taught the "Preparing for an Eternal Marriage" class:
How do I know if I am really in love?
Those are all very sincere and important questions to be asking.
And there are definitely some answers.
In fact, there are many truths that can help young single adults with these questions that have to do with agency, revelation, trust, and eternal perspective.
However, I believe there is another truth that, if understood better, would help these young people - and all of us who raise, teach, and guide them - to have greater understanding, a more positive experience, and much clearer direction and purpose during the dating, courtship, and engagement journey.
And it has to do with the doctrine of the body, the purpose of the physical part of relationships, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Now, to really begin to answer these questions, there are a few foundational truths we need to lay.
The first is that one of the greatest blessings we could have in the relationship journey (and in life in general, for that matter) is to receive revelation throughout it. The ability to be guided, inspired, warned, and assured as we make the most important decisions of our lives is indispensable! It really is, as Sister Julie B. Beck taught, "the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life."
President Boyd K. Packer taught that "true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior." When the doctrine of the body and physical intimacy is understood better, we choose better and we change our choices for the better. And when we choose better, revelation flows much better.
Moreover, when the physical part of a relationship is appropriate, then the physical part of the relationship isn’t getting in the way of revelation; it doesn't taint one's ability to truly tell if they are in love or if this person is the right person.
I often say to my children and students, "Just because you like to kiss someone or feel good about that person when you are snuggling next to them on a couch doesn’t necessarily mean that's a confirmation from the Spirit you should marry them. That is, instead, sometimes simply "hormonal revelation."
President Packer warned that the "spiritual part of us and the emotional part of us are so closely linked that it is possible to mistake an emotional impulse for something spiritual. We occasionally find people who receive what they assume to be spiritual promptings from God, when those promptings are either centered in the emotions or are from the adversary."
This is just one example of the "misunderstandings" I find young people have about physical relationships. There are a few others.
But I can say this: I don’t believe that the misunderstandings out there about the physical part of a relationship is completely their fault.
Because of the adversary's incessant efforts, there is so much confusion, deception, and misunderstanding regarding our physical bodies and physical attraction.
We live in a world that so publicly and constantly displays sexuality, we are literally bombarded with it. This constant presence of sensuality and sexual content causes great confusion and false perceptions. And the lines between appropriate and inappropriate, healthy and unhealthy, can become incredibly blurred for even the conscientious and faithful.
From this literal immersion in blatant immorality, some may also mistakenly begin to believe that sexuality, in and of itself, is bad - something to be hidden, completely avoided, or used as rebellion - because they do not feel good when they see or hear it around them. When really it is that kind of sexuality – the world’s unbridled, promiscuous sexuality outside of covenants – that is wrong.
We also as parents and leaders might make the mistake that because the world is talking about sexual things so openly, we shouldn’t talk about them at all. Or when we talk about sexual relations to our children and teenagers, or teach about it to the young men and young women, we group it with other things like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and pornography – things that are not good for us no matter what the circumstance is.
And yet physical intimacy, unlike any of those things, is part of God’s plan for His children. Unlike any of those things, it should be part of our lives because it is part of the marriage covenant. It is the power through which the Father brings to pass the immortality and eternal life of man!
And so we must be careful which lens we use to show it and teach about it with those we love.
Elder Lynn G. Robbins gives this great insight:
"Youth often grow up with an incorrect understanding of intimacy and an unhealthy attitude toward it because it is often treated as a taboo topic rather than as a sacred one. Because intimacy in marriage is beautiful, sacred, and ordained of God, it is important to understand that sexual sin isn’t the use of something inherently bad but the misuse of something inherently good and beautiful.”
Whether or not we, or our young people, fully understand or appreciate just how inherently good and beautiful this power really is, Satan surely does. He understands exactly what it is and its importance in the eternal scheme of things. And thus, it would seem, that of all his evil efforts, he would cause as much confusion, deception and misunderstanding about this power and blessing as he can. Indeed, it would seem that one of his greatest goals for that confusion, deception, and misunderstanding would be for them to eventually lead to fear, insecurity, and even sexual sin.
President Gordon B. Hinckley shed some light on this point:
"And now just a word on the most common and most difficult of all problems for you young men and young women to handle. It is the relationship that you have with one another.
Think about that: such a powerful God-given instinct that only the will to live possible exceeds it. It can be beautiful and, yet, deadly. And Satan already knows this, too.
With all of this in mind, it would seem incredibly beneficial to understand better the purpose and sacredness of our physical bodies and of our physical, intimate relationships so that they can be a great blessing in our lives and not a downfall.
Next week, we will continue our discussion and learn more about the doctrine of the body, how the Law of Chastity and the Atonement of Jesus Christ are connected, and how all of this has everything to do with love.
To read more about this and other issues facing LDS Young Single Adults, click here.
Several years ago I ran into a friend at the grocery store that I hadn’t seen in a while. As we got to talking, this friend shared with me the most interesting experience.
She said that a few months earlier she had been praying for ways she could serve her family better. It wasn’t that she hadn’t been serving her family. She is an amazing woman with four kids who does so much for and genuinely cares about her family. But she was just feeling that maybe there was more she could be doing or at least something that might make her service more meaningful.
She then said this: “And then I broke my leg! I couldn’t believe it!”
I couldn’t believe it either.
But my friend went on to say something like this:
“As I sat there at the doctor's office getting it casted, I remembered the prayer that had been ascending to heaven for several months asking the Lord to help me know how I could serve my family better. How was I going to serve my family now? I was very discouraged and felt that, with everything that was going on in our lives at that time, it was probably the worst timing possible.
Well, an interesting thing happened over those next 2 months as I recovered and healed. My husband and children had to do so much more in our home and for me than they had to do before. Everyone had to step up and fill in the many gaps created on a daily basis from my inability to do even some of my basic responsibilities.
And then one day it hit me.
Could this be the answer to my prayer?
"I have seen so much growth in my children. I’ve watched a greater compassion and love develop in my husband. There has been greater unity in our family as we all work together to make our family run.
It wasn't a cakewalk by any means. There were definitely some very difficult days and I felt discouraged and frustrated often, but as I look back on that experience I can see that, at that moment in our family, the greatest service that I could do for them was to teach them how to become more aware of and strive to meet others' needs.”
This experience that my friend shared with me years ago has come to my mind often and has caused me to ponder about how the Lord works in our lives. And I, too, have realized that sometimes the answer to our prayers just doesn't look like the answer.
And one very good reason for that could be because we worship a God who can see so much more than we can see and who knows so much more than we know.
This godly power and ability could be represented by a simple diagram.
Imagine that the little dot above the word “present” in this diagram is each one of us.
The triangle over us represents the limit of what we can see and understand as a mortal here on earth. This perspective could include the knowledge we gain, the experiences we have, the things we learn from others, the things we see and hear both first-hand and through media, our memories, our education, our opportunity, etc.
Simply put, that triangle could be the scope of our understanding.
Now imagine that the triangle starting at the top and coming down from God symbolizes what He can see and understand.
How much can we see? Not a lot. How big is our sphere of understanding? Not very big.
But, what can God see? Everything.
All things are present before His eyes (D&C 38:2).
The past, present, and future (D&C 130:6-7).
And not just of our lives, but of the whole earth and every person who has been or ever will live on the earth.
Thus, how big is His sphere of understanding? Bigger than everything.
He can see and comprehend all things. He has no limitations.
Indeed, the Prophet Joseph taught that "the past, the present, and the future were and are, with Him, one eternal ‘now.’” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 220; History of the Church,4:597).
So, when God says His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), He is speaking very literally.
Regardless of how much we believe we see and understand,
And that means that sometimes the answer we are looking for, the answer we are desperately seeking from the Lord, is found somewhere outside of our vision, somewhere outside of our current sphere of understanding, indeed, somewhere, outside of our triangle, and so we can't see or understand how it could possibly be an answer.
That's where trust comes in - something that is often difficult and somewhat foreign to the natural, mortal beings that we are. Faith and trust both involve believing in things hoped for and having confidence in things not seen or understood (see Hebrews 11).
Sometimes, we will recognize God's hand quickly, like my friend did when she broke her leg, and we will realize that He truly was listening and He truly did answer and bless us.
Sometimes, it takes us years to uncover why the Lord did or didn’t do something as we expected in that moment.
And sometimes, this realization takes what seems like a lifetime as one day we look back at our lives and see His divine signature consistently weaving its way through our journey.
However, we are promised that as we use our agency to sanctify ourselves more, to seek His Spirit more, to fill our lives with more truth, and to not only turn to God more in all the different facets of our lives but turn our praise and others’ praise to Him, our “whole bodies shall be filled with light . . . and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things” (D&C 88:63-68).
The closer we draw to God, the bigger our triangle becomes.
The bigger our triangle becomes, the more we can see and understand.
The more we see and understand, the more we are changed . . . until one day in the distant future, because of His atoning power, we have "become like Him . . . purified even as he is pure," even a completely "new creature" who knows and understands all things (Moroni 7:48; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Words of Mormon 1:7; John 18:4).
To read more about this and other topics relating to discipleship in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visit our other discussion pages by clicking here.
Stephen & Michelle Hunsaker
Stephen teaches at the Logan Institute of Religion for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has been teaching for over 26 years.
Michelle is a full-time mom who enjoys reading, writing, teaching, and anything and everything to do with musicals.
They are the parents of ten children and authors of the book : Boxing the Lord In and Other Ways We Hinder Revelation.
Their hope is that each week through the thoughts and ideas they share in this blog, you can become more "vertically connected" in your lives. They seek to see and share "things as they really are" and "as they really will be" (Jacob 4:13) by learning how to build more and more on the sure foundation of the Savior, Jesus Christ and the doctrines and principles of His gospel.