It Isn't All About Me...
But here’s how it works for me…very personally.
I have a conscience. I was born with it. It was a freebie that came along with the package deal of being a human being and not a mollusk. Having a relatively normal brain and relatively normal psyche, I know and understand what the rules of humanity are (Kaycee spelled those rules out for us quite nicely). I will know when I have done well by the good feelings I feel. When I have crossed the line, I will know it by the bad feelings, the guilt I feel. But for me, it goes a step deeper.
When I was eight years old, I received the gift of the Holy Ghost (the Spirit) through an ordinance that was performed by someone who I feel had the authority to do so. I was promised that as I came upon choices I had to make, I would be shown the correct answers or that after I had made a choice, I would know if it had been the right or wrong thing to do.
I would “know” these answers to choices in several ways: I might have peace of mind, I might feel happy, the choice might have natural positive consequences, I might feel like I want to hide or be secretive, I might feel guilty, the choice might have natural negative consequences…
Through extensive experimentation, I have been able to hone my skill of “listening” to the Spirit. Sometimes I listen, sometimes he speaks and I pretend that I am busy and I didn’t hear him.
And Cameron’s dinosaur story provides the perfect segue into my next and more difficult point… I know that I have a father in heaven. He has blessed me with things that I cannot even begin to count nor do anything to repay.
I had a BIG decision to make last week. So first, I called my dad. We spent almost an hour talking on the phone about ME, and my question. I talked, he listened, he talked, and I listened. He had a lot of good things to say. I didn’t necessarily agree with everything, nor did his single opinion sway my choice, after all, it’s up to me…but I was really thankful for his input.
Then later that night, I took the same question to my other father. I knelt and thanked him for sending me to such great parents. I thanked him for my health, my husband, my home, and my life of leisure. I knew that I could ask him my big question, and that he would care, he would have an opinion, and maybe some advice. I don’t always agree with what he tells me, nor did his single opinion sway my choice, after all, it’s up to me…but I always appreciate his input.
The next day was Fast Sunday, the slowest Sunday of the month (especially when you have early church). I thought about my question a lot. I thought about what dad had said, and I listened for hints of what father was trying to say to me (through his messenger, the Spirit). I eventually got my answer. No angels or lights; I got my peace of mind. And I haven’t doubted that I made the right choice.
And now the toughest part of all… My father loves me so much. He is always there whether I want him to be or not. Sometimes (so often!) I don’t even kneel because I feel so unworthy of everything that I have been given at his hand. I can’t even bare to speak to him. And worse of all, he gave me the most precious gift he had, the life of his own son, so that I shouldn’t ever hesitate to come back to him.
When I make a bad decision, my dad doesn’t always know about it (thank goodness). NOTHING is worse than disappointing Mom & Dad. Except, Father knows… every time I make a bad decision, it hurts him as much as it would hurt my mom & dad, and then some. Not because I went contrary to his advice, his authority, his tradition, or his “rules”, but because I took one step away from him. I gave him the cold shoulder in the midst of all his generosity.
Now a lot of people don’t like to feel guilty. I don’t like to feel guilty. Sometimes we feel guilty for really stupid reasons: we think people are judging us, we ate too much at dinner, we aren’t living up to someone else’s standards. But I have slowly learned to tell the difference between earthly guilt, the kind I can usually shake off when I realize that it is my own insecurity causing it, and what I call true guilt; the guilt I feel when I KNOW that I have gone contrary to my truest self. (Sometimes I forget who that “true self” is, and I get terribly lost and really unhappy….)
But it isn’t all about me. It’s not all about how I feel. Like most people, I am not making decisions that only consider MY consequences. We all make decisions daily, often selflessly, so that the people that we love are taken care of and feel loved. We don’t just make decisions that will give us pleasure and comfort. So I am trying to make decisions that don’t hurt or turn away the ones I believe in and love. Including my father…he is at the core, he is my compass…