Saturday, January 25, 2014

Divine Nature #1 - Personal Progress

 What are some of the divine qualities of a daughter of God?

When I read through the Proclamation on the Family, 2 Peter 1, Alma 7:23-24 and D&C 121:45 I was a bit overwhelmed.  The qualities of a daughter of god are numerous.  I felt a bit like this poor woman trying to carry and ballance everything in her arms and life but getting tripped up on the way.

The list is rather daunting when looked at as a laundry list of the qualities you need to have. How can I be faithful, hopeful, virtuous, diligent, patient, gratious, temperate, full of knowledge and charity. It feels like a lot of things to be. I couldn't help but think I could be more patient, more hopeful. I certainly could show my gratitude more. And what about charity? I am not nearly as kind to others as I probably should be. I often get bogged down in the daily list of chores that I need to complete and don't abound in good works toward others as much as I should. 
What I need to remember is that God isn't asking us to be perfect at all these things. He knows I have challenges and limitations but I like to think all these qualities are in me somewhere. I am a daughter of God, I am made in his image, therefore I do have these godly qualities within me. My job is to develop them and help them come out and show themselves more.

This week Sophie's leadership class needed to write about success. Sophie had a really hard time coming up with any ideas. She doesn't feel she is a very successful person. She struggles with math, unlike her brother who flies through his. She says her reports aren't nearly as good as the other kids in her class produce and present. She was rather hard on herself and was in tears when we sat to discuss the topic of success so she could write. I tried to explain to her that we will never be successful when we compare ourselves to other people. We will always find someone who does "that thing" better than we can. We can only measure our success against ourself. Are we improving. Are we having favorable outcomes when we attempt things that are hard? Are we getting more math problems right than wrong? Are we getting less wrong each time?  Soon the tears stopped as she got excited as she thought of (with some help from her mom) about some of the small successes in her life. 

The assignment she was given was to tell the teacher what success looked like, what it felt like, what it smelled and sounded like. After our discussion she wrote a great essay about success. She described success as looking like a checklist with everything complete. Success felt like a kitten cuddled up with her that she takes the chief care. It smells like chocolate chip cookies that aren't burnt because she remembered to set the timer this time. And sounded like a new piano piece that she has practiced and can now hit the correct notes. It was a lovely essay and I hope she understands success in a different way now. 

When I read that long list of qualities that a virtuous woman is supposed to embody, rather than get discouraged that I don't already exhibit them all perfectly, I need to remember to not measure my success against perfection. I should see that I am improving and becoming more and more like the woman I want to see and that I know I have the potential to become.

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