Diligence 2010 update

“All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith.” – Doctrine and Covenants 103:36

This year, I kind of made up a theme or motto for myself: Diligence. (I admit, at first, I thought that my resolution was to be more “anal”, but then I realized that diligence had a better ring to it).

I can’t say that I’m diligent. I waver. I get tired. I work hard for a while, then I kaput for a second. Usually, I get back onto the wagon, and then try hard again. That’s good. I’m not a quitter. So I’m diligently working at being more diligent. But I do have a way to go.

So what is it about being diligent that I need to work hard on – working hard! Not tiring out. I like the fact that in the scripture quoted above, we are taught that the secret to having victories in life is by being diligent, faithful, and prayerful.

A secret, I think, to being diligent is to be more faithful. I need to have an eye of faith. When we can visualize our goals, then we will acheive them.

An example is given in Ether 12: “And there were many whose faith was so exceedingly strong, even before Christ came, who could not be kept from within the veil, but truly saw with their eyes the things which they had beheld with an eye of faith, and they were glad. ” (Ether 12:19). Here, we are told that those who beheld things with an eye of faith were then able to see spiritual things with their own eyes. First they exercised the faith, then they received knowledge. This is what happened with the Brother of Jared. Many other prophets received similar witness by first exercising an eye of faith.

How does this have anything to do with diligence? I think that we can help ourselves be diligent and have victories if we apply the same eye of faith on a small scale. For example, if I see myself, at some point, selling artwork in a gallery, then I’ll probably be more willing to do the work required to get to that point. If I see myself as a fit woman, then that vision will help me overcome the obstacles that stand in my way until I am that fit woman. The eye of faith is an attribute that can help us to stay determined until we reach our goals.

So – here’s to diligence. I’m trying again.


3 thoughts on “Diligence 2010 update

  1. Angela

    I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile now because that whole “eye of faith” just has this depth to it that keeps surprising me every time I think about it. I had a new little insight that I thought you might appreciate. We are in the first book of Nephi in family scripture study and we were reading in 1 Nephi 16:8-9 how Lehi had kept all the commandments of God and that it was time to move on. As I was talking with the girls, I asked them what are all the things that happened in the valley of Lemuel. We went over that they got the brass plates, they retrieved Ishmael and his family, Lehi was able to study the scriptures and increase his knowledge of God and then received the infamous tree of life dream. Last but not least, Nephi asked for greater understanding of his father’s vision and received greater insight. So how does this apply to the “eye of faith” idea. Well, I thought it was interesting that after the family had the faith to keep the commandments the Lord gave them in leaving Jerusalem and going back twice more, that the Lord expanded their vision. This vision not only gave them insight on where their current standing with God was on the strait and narrow path but it also gave them the whole picture of where they were going, how to get there and what to watch out for. How many times do you think Nephi, Lehi and those who were desirous to be on the Lord’s side reflected on this in times of trial? It must have been so important to have this vision (eye of faith) and to have it so early in their journey in that it gave them a tool that the Holy Spirit could use to recall to them in times of need, to enable them to keep their focus and see things as they really are, amidst all the trial and turmoil that was befalling them at the time.

    The eyes (or how we see things if you want to go a little more figurative) are (is) so important. I can think of two scriptural analogies that the Lord uses to warn us of having our vision impaired and how to stave off this attack from the adversary. In the dream of the tree of life, impairing our vision (aka mist of darkness) is the first attack Satan uses against those who are on the path, holding to the iron rod. How does one get through the mist? By exercising faith, in continuing to hold to the iron rod AND keep moving forward. The other analogy being the one of the putting on the whole armor of God that Paul talks about to the Ephesians. I’m not sure how familiar you are with warfare, but I always wondered to myself, if I was Satan and I was planning on attacking someone with a whole armor body suit, why wouldn’t I go at someone with a really heavy sword or a mace or something of that nature. To me, fiery darts did not seem that threatening. Well, come to find out, they use darts to aim for the eyes, the most vulnerable portion of the body. If they can blind the person, it is easy to overcome your enemy. So how do you quench the fiery darts of the wicked? With the shield of faith!

    So, from these two analogies, the Lord shows us that, as with the shield of faith, we can prevent the wicked from distorting our view or perception. I have a tendency to link this to having the faith to keep our baptismal covenants in promising to keep the commandments and to remember Him always. And if we do find ourselves in a mist of darkness where it is difficult to see which way to go, that the way out of it is through exercising faith to hold to the rod and keep moving forward.

    Thanks for the posts and the opportunity to organize my thoughts by commenting!

    1. Angela – those are great insights. I never realized that the fiery darts were aimed for a soldier’s eyes. It makes the analogy even more practical – that we must always be ready – spiritually prepared – so we can be attuned to these attacks and defend ourselves from them.

      Additionally, I love your insights about what the family of Lehi was learning in the wilderness – both in the scriptures, and in their practical lives.

      I’ve often thought about Nephi. I’ve thought about how he was commanded to kill Laban, and how this must have been difficult. Even though he knew it was the right decision, I often think that he must have been a little haunted by it from time to time. (For example, I was divorced. I know it was the right decision. I made it prayerfully. I knew that my survival and the survival of my children depended on it. However, there are times when Satan tries to make me feel down about making a decision that is typically “wrong”. I can only imagine that from time to time Satan would have tried to get to Nephi in a similar way). Anyways. There were other difficulties Nephi went through, too – fighting with his brothers, building a boat, etc.

      However, later in his life, when he is in the promised land, he is elected the leader. By then, as you know, the Lamanites and Nephites had separated, and the Lamanites were a constant threat. Nephi had the inspiration to use Laban’s sword as a model – so that he could arm his people to defend themselves. The wisdom of the Lord is evident here. 1. Nephi needed that sword as a model. 2. Nephi was able to use his boat and boat-tool making skills to make these swords. I bet Nephi realized that his past experiences came in handy in these times when he led his people. It was probably a neat experience for him to see that the Lord’s perspective is so much greater than ours, and when we keep the commandments of the Lord, we are blessed with that perspective (eventually).

      I also agree – usually this faith, for me, is linked to keeping my covenants. And that is what is most important. However, I’m also beginning to learn that Heavenly Father sees my divine potential. He wants me to be a better, happier person. I am beginning to see that faith can be both about my eternal goals, and in a personal way – my immediate goals. I am realizing that if I exercise my faith in seeing myself as a person who succeeds at her goals, then I will be able to develop my talents and succeed. All of this can help me to better serve the Lord and move forward in life.

      Thanks for the awesome comments/discussion. 🙂

      1. Angela

        Discussion? Is that an invitation to continue the topic? Whoot, whoot! I love that connection between the boat making tools and the sword. Wow! The Lord really does prepare us for what we are supposed to do help us complete our missions here on Earth. I often wonder how many preparation opportunities I missed when I wasn’t as valiant as I could/should have been that would have made me a more valuable instrument in the Hands of the Lord today. And although I am totally aware of the role of the atonement and how it takes care of most things (in that there are still consequences that I have to live with because of actions that are just inherent in the misstep) I seem to constantly wage this war with doubt knowing that I have lost precious time or made poor decisions and even in doubting correct decisions that I have made. As I have been grappling lately with the idea of how to make the transition from “how to survive” on to “how to thrive,” in essence, how to be happy now instead of just hope for happiness later. (Which I think you are right on about in using your ‘eye of faith’ to see yourself, your surroundings, and where you are going brings more joy and happiness to your life now…AWESOME!) I have found those negative patterns of thought that I was having are quite a hinderance to my progression. In fact, I was just reading in Alma 29 :5 when Alma was contemplating that he that “knoweth good and evil, to him it is given according to his desires, whether he desireth good or evil, life or death, joy or remorse of conscience.” So it really is a choice to be happy and it requires us to be aware of our desires! How do we acquire desires? I submit to you that they are thoughts that we dwell on. Makes ya kind of wonder what you really spend your time thinking about during a day, eh?

        What popped out to me in that passage was that the opposite of joy was “remorse of conscience” I equated that term out to guilt (sins of commission or omission) or second guessing ourselves. Now some decisions I have made were bad but some were good, in fact, in some, I was being strictly obedient to promptings but because of the fall out since the decisions didn’t go the way that I thought they should, I catch myself rehashing, doubting, second guessing them. Who would have thought that was robbing me of joy. Honestly, since I’ve read that passage it has gotten a whole lot easier to dismiss those thoughts (once I’ve learned what I could…not beating myself up for them) and in tandem be more diligent in keeping the commandments, remembering the Savior ALWAYS, and be more obedient to the promptings of the Holy Ghost because if I don’t, it just robs me of joy! Doesn’t it sound so simple? 😉 Now, this is obviously is a long way from perfection but I can’t wait until this idea of being happy now amidst anything and in spite of everything comes to fruition. That will be a very happy day for me. That talk by President Uchdorf on the “Infinite Power of Hope” is one I am constantly going back and reading. I would LOVE to hear your perspective on that talk in relation to the expansion of your ‘eye of faith.’

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