I believe I owe an explanation – to myself, to any current or future readers of Latter-Day Disciple, to God.
I created this platform in January 2017 as a space where members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints can find uplifting, inspiring and honest messages relevant to the challenges and opportunities we find as we diligently and faithfully live our covenants and follow the Savior. This is a message I believe in. However, as you can tell from the dates of the two posts I wrote in the past year, I have not had integrity when it comes to living that belief.
In attempting to write and create meaningful content, I encountered (and still do encounter) gross opposition from the adversary. His lies echo in my mind whenever I feel a determination to put fingers to keyboard. They sound like this:
You aren’t qualified to produce this kind of material.
You don’t have the proper life experience.
No one will find value in what you write.
You are going to fail.
There isn’t space for your thoughts.
Your desires are irrelevant.
The list goes on. Satan can be remarkably creative in the ways he seeks to tear down the Kingdom of God even on the level of the individual.
It had gotten to the point where I had to exert concerted effort to combat these thoughts:
1. I started small.
I started writing for myself. It made me examine my day-to-day, seeing multiple touch-points of the Lord’s hand in my life. The more I saw, the more I believed that I may in fact have something worth writing about.
2. I went back in time with the intent to remember.
That all-important word comes up so often in the scriptures. It was to remember the Savior and the deliverance he provided, in mercy, time and again, that historical records were sought after – even when lives were at stake seeking it – and diligently kept by Kings and Prophets alike.
I remembered by reading my old journals. I have many, dating back to Junior High (those being particularly entertaining). In those journals I found not only a record of my memories but value in my life’s story. Part of why Satan’s lies stuck was an undervaluation of this very story. It’s ironic, because in the purpose of this blog I specified that EVERY saint’s story is worth telling. I believe that – and yet again I wasn’t showing integrity in that belief by failing to live like I believed it.
3. I pondered on what it is to be “qualified of the Lord”.
I recall my experience in the MTC. It was a refiner’s fire if I have ever been in one. I remember feeling that although I had been called and set apart as a missionary I was not yet one, truly. I still was in the process of being qualified.
In Doctrine and Covenants Section 4, we find the process by which God establishes his disciples:
First, there is a desire.
In the Book of Mormon, we read that God “granteth unto men according to their desire whether it be unto death or unto life…” (Alma 29:4)
I believe I must have had a desire to write from a very young age – at least my journals suggest so. Not only do I want to write, but I want to glorify God. I believe writing is a talent that He has blessed me with and I would be an unwise steward to not use the gift on His behalf. That’s nothing to be said of the fact that I love the Gospel and can think of nothing more important to voice in this world.
Second, a call is extended.
The work spoken of specifically in this section is that of missionary work. Part of the mission of the Church is to preach the gospel to the world, preparatory to the second coming of the Savior.
But is there other work that these scriptures indicate?
Each son and daughter of God was placed on this Earth for a reason. There are general purposes that are spoken of in the scriptures. We come to Earth to receive a mortal body; to be tested to see if we would choose God even being absent from him and having no memory of our time with him; and to prepare to live eternally with our Father.
But we also each have individual purposes. These are spoken of primarily through personal revelation to each of us. I personally believe that God would call me to strengthen and uplift his children as much as I am able through using the talents he has blessed me with – writing in particular.
We are, finally, qualified.
It speaks volumes that qualification is NOT listed before having a desire or being called to do God’s work. And this is what I have failed to retain in remembrance even as I have soul-sought and pondered on how to overcome the objections of the adversary.
The fact is that we need not be qualified before embarking in the service of our God.
I may not have the degrees, the prestige, the clout that others do that may establish them as more qualified to speak to topics related to the gospel.
I have not had every experience that befall faithful Saints.
I may be considered too old or too young by some in my audience, making my message seem less relevant to them.
But none of these or any other considerations matter than this:
I have the desire to service God.
He has called me to do a work among my sisters and brothers.
I have striven to develop “faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 4:5).
These are my qualifications.
My goal is to remember this more fully and to live with increased integrity by actively, regularly creating content for this blog.
Its reception is secondary. For if I can but influence one person “how great will be [my] joy” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:16) – and I believe that one person needs to be myself.
With all this in mind, I ask you the following:
What work has God called YOU to do that you have previously felt under qualified or inadequate to perform?
How can you strive to live with greater integrity and serve him in the capacity he requires of you?
Thank you for joining me on this journey. I pray for the continued presence of the Spirit that I may be more accountable to Heavenly Father and to myself.