General Women's Meeting: Love of Christ
24 September 2016
Last night I went to the General Women's Meeting at our stake center. Being over 7.5 months pregnant, I was shifting positions every two minutes to attempt another weird angle of getting comfortable. I'm sure the people behind me were like, what 3 year-old is this? I am so glad that I stayed, even though I could have coddled my back on the couch at home and still watched the broadcast. But I just like being keen to all the energy of women observing and engaging in these words together, wondering if the same sentences are penetrating them as they are me. And of course, Elder Uchtdorf. He is my favorite favorite favorite! That man, I swear, spies on my thoughts and my conversations, and then speaks on them at the next General Conference.
I was really struck by Sister Oscarson's talk. She speaks of how Moroni could see our day. He observed the happenings of our time - the strangeness, the vanity. And he observes us, as declared believers and followers of Jesus Christ. And he asks, perplexed, "Why are you ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ?" Whoa. He can see that we're trying to play it a bit soft. I'm actually reading the book of Moroni today in my personal study, and so I paid closer attention to how he approached his faith. He lived his last days in hiding because he would have been murdered for his faith, but he was definitely open about what he believed, even though it meant utter aloneness for him. And in our day, there's not really a risk of murder, but there is definitely a risk of what I call -- shame-biting. Satan loves to get inside people and drum up their wedges, insecurities, offenses, cynicism, SHAME and aim people to bite at one another. Any truth spoken, especially truth of the Gospel, Satan will do his best to rile up some level of shame in people towards God's principles, and get them to bite back. So, we learn to tread lightly. Please don't bite me.
And Sister Oscarson said these words that were ringing so loud and clear, "I worry that we live in such an atmosphere of avoiding offense that we sometimes avoid teaching correct principles." She expounds more on this and says, "Sure, we need to be sensitive to others, but we also need to be bold and straight forward when it comes to teaching our children and our youth."
I came home and talked to Ryan about this, because YES.
I heard an analogy recently that Satan has a shed of his "tools," and he decided to hold a yard sale because he found all of them to be useless, except for one. He sets up tables in his yard, and other devils come to see his goods. "You're selling your Hammer of Aggression? What? Your Saw of Sensuality? Your Wrench of Malice? What kind of devil are you? You have nothing left to destroy people."
"Oh yes I do," Satan says. "I have found I only need one tool, and I can destroy populations of people! Just this wedge right here. This Wedge of Discouragement and Shame. It's all I need."
Yep, that divisive demon. He's got us figured out. "Tighten the shame layers, boys".is what he tells his minions daily. And I wish everyone could ease their shame layers daily in active defense. It makes us sooo destructive towards one another. People, outside the chains of their shame, can listen openly, without such a lash and a bite. Maybe say, "yes, I could use this. Or beautiful for you, not for me right now." But I can't push the side of a ship and make it turn, but I choose for my own little row boat - I set up a boundary line on shame. No to that. And I choose no to offense and judgment and reactiveness.
As Sister Oscarson says, "Sometimes we just need to have a greater vision of what is possible." What is possible without all those elements coming between us?
Upward and onward,
Labels: Spiritual Refresh