Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Pleasant Voice

30 ¶ Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord.
31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
(Old Testament | Ezekiel 33:30–32‎)‎

I was surprised to find this in the Old Testament. It really got me thinking. I worry that I frequently do this. I love hearing talks from church leaders. But do I love doing what the church leaders say? And even if I love doing it... do I ever actually do it? Do I treat spiritual instruction like entertainment or a concert?

President Uchtdorf spoke somewhat about this in the April 2011 General Conference, to the men. He said:

The words written in the scriptures and spoken in general conference are for us to "liken them unto [ourselves]," not for reading or hearing only. Too often we attend meetings and nod our heads; we might even smile knowingly and agree. We jot down some action points, and we may say to ourselves, "That is something I will do." But somewhere between the hearing, the writing of a reminder on our smartphone, and the actual doing, our "do it" switch gets rotated to the "later" position. Brethren, let's make sure to set our "do it" switch always to the "now" position!

Then I ask, how can I do it "now" if I'm in a meeting right now? I struggle to make the bridge in my mind, to understand how to do what he's saying I should do. Do I do it first thing when I get home? Or do I wait until it comes up in my life, a time when it would be relevant to do it? Should I have a mini-planning session after each meeting and schedule in on my calendar the things I've been asked to do, so that I remember, when it's a more relevant time, to do it? What about things like "love others"? It's harder to put that into a calendar than "Read more in depth in 2 Nephi 2 tomorrow."

(This is me just thinking out loud, and sharing it with the world. I'm trying to get myself thinking, but I'm also trying to help anyone who reads this to get thinking about it as well.)

Here's my plan. I'm going to take my "Daily Planning Session" each day more seriously. I have it scheduled on my calendar, every night at 10:00. Do I do it? Not very often. So, for things that I can't do immediately after a meeting, I will save them for my daily planning session, right before I go to bed, and review the things I wrote down to do, and put an event or reminder in my calendar, or make a cryptic note on my window. (I write on my windows. I bought some sweet window crayons, and I love them!) And then the next day, I'll review whether I actually did it, and make plans of how to improve.

In addition, if I don't want to follow something I heard in a meeting, I'll pray for the desire to do it. And pray for the strength and faith to do it anyway.

That's my current plan to solve this. Please share any ideas you might have as well, of how to switch your "do it" switch to the "now" position.


Michaela Stephens said...

Excellent words to ponder. I sometimes wonder if I'm making the teaching into entertainment. It's just that I feel like there is so much I want to change that it is overwhelming.

Aliandria said...

Thank you so much for commenting! =)

That's true! It can be SO overwhelming, especially considering how often we're taught!
As I was thinking about that, it helped me realize I forgot about an extremely important factor. The Holy Ghost! We can't do everything now, so I guess that's where the Holy Ghost comes in and says to us personally "You're doing okay in this area, you can leave this switch on 'do it later'." Or "This particular change is something you need to do as soon as possible, and with your full energy." Or somewhere in the middle. God knows our weaknesses better than anyone else, so I guess it makes sense to ask Him which ones might be best to work on now, and which ones to save for later.
The take-home point for me, from this conversation, is to make sure my planning is guided by the Spirit instead of pride or despair. I can't do everything, so which would the Lord have me focus on right now, and I'll do it, with His help. =) I'm so grateful for your comment!

Gerry Baird said...

Loved this blog entry, thanks for making me think! Personally, I am of the opinion that if your "love" switch is in the "always" position, it follows that the "do it" switch will be in the "now" position :)

Aliandria said...

Profound, Gerry! Thanks so much for sharing that, it's so true. I think I need to keep praying for more charity, in that case... =)