Today, I’m studying We Are Children of God, by Russell M. Nelson. He gave this talk in the October 1998 General Conference.
Sometimes, I like to think where was I when this talk was given? Ogden, Utah. I was just married (my first marriage, not to Homey). I was living in a basement apartment at the time. I don’t remember this talk at all. I’m not sure if I remember the conference.
This point in my life might have been the closest I was to inactivity. I was going through some major changes in my life. I was still going to institute, though, and I know that’s what saved me, spiritually.
In any case, this isn’t about my life in 1998. This is about the talk, which is really great
We Are Children of God
President Nelson closes his talk with a question and a profound statement:
“Who are we? We are children of God. Our potential is unlimited. Our inheritance is sacred. May we always honor that heritage—in every thought and deed—I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” – Russell M. Nelson
I love this. We are children of God. It’s true! And imagine if everyone on this planet would simply accept this fact. I think the world would be a different place.
I have known this fact my whole life – that I’m a child of God. When I was a kid, I would sing the song…(watch the video – it’s good!)
I’ve known this my whole life, and yet…there are times I still struggle with the profundity of this fact. It is so easy to forget. It is so easy to become afraid. It is so easy to look at another person and forget that they, too, are a child of God.
Because we are children of God, our potential is unlimited and our heritage is sacred. Isn’t this amazing! I know that I’m rehashing exactly what President Nelson stated, but think about it for a minute! And believe it.
Several years ago, I wanted to begin working on a project. However, before I even got started on it, I was a little stumped about how to proceed. If I tried to do it one way, I might “succeed” in a way, but I knew that it wasn’t the ultimate path I wanted to take. How could I do this project another way? Was it even possible?
I felt like, yes there has to be a solution to my dilemma. I just needed to keep thinking. I have learned that the best way to solve problems isn’t necessarily what we think. Often, real problem solving isn’t a “nose to the grindstone” kind of thing. Instead, it is a combination of “nose to the grindstone work,” along with sleep, exercise, doing the dishes (or some other simple task), and intuitive awareness.
In other words, problem solving doesn’t happen only in our conscious brains. We have to let our subconscious work on the problem, too. Then we have to invite experiences where our subconscious can communicate with our conscious mind. So we need to be well rested and healthy.
This might sound foo-foo. I don’t care. All of religion is foo-foo if you really think about it, and I happen to be a spiritual person! Besides, I have seen it work too many times to worry about what seems “rational” or not.
Well, back to the story. I knew that there had to be a solution to my problem. I didn’t know how I knew it, I just felt it in my soul. So I kept thinking, and then doing the rest – eating good food, getting good exercise, praying, sleeping well.
And within a few days, I found the perfect solution to my problem.
You might be wondering what was the problem? and the solution? I’m purposely leaving them out because I don’t want to get bogged down on those details. The problem and solution didn’t matter, and as soon as I figured out the solution, I realized that it was neither the problem nor solution that I was supposed to learn. As soon as I figured out my solution, and saw the elegance of it, I realized the true lesson:
There is no problem that cannot be solved.
Put another way: Our potential is unlimited and our heritage sacred.
Or – put yet another way:
“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” – Luke 1:37
As long as we seek to do something that doesn’t break a law of the universe (whether spiritual or physical), then we can rest assured that it is possible. And this is because – we are children of a loving Father in Heaven.
Now, this is important. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean that it magically happens. We have to apply the laws of this universe – God’s Universe (so, both physical and spiritual) if we want to find solutions to our problems.
For example, we can’t lie to ourselves and say, “I know that with God nothing is impossible, so I’m just gonna jump right off this cliff and nothing will happen. (That’s not with God so it’s not possible!)
Laws must be kept.
Human beings didn’t learn to fly because they pretended gravity didn’t exist. Instead, they understood gravity so well that they realized what must be done to counteract it. Only then they were able to accomplish their goal – flight! And still – airplanes land. We are subject to gravity. We may have solved a problem, but we are not exempt from the law.
The point is, and I’m not sure if my illustrations here are great or not, it’s true that with God, nothing is impossible. God will give us the knowledge that we need in order to understand how to solve our problems in a way that will work. We really do have unlimited potential. Truly our heritage is sacred. And when we understand more about who we are, then we will better honor our heritage and reach our potential.
President Nelson explains:
“We are dual beings. Each soul is comprised of body and spirit, both of which emanate from God. A firm understanding of body and spirit will shape our thoughts and deeds for good.” – Russell M. Nelson
He then goes on to talk about each facet of our souls. (REMEMBER a soul is BOTH BODY AND SPIRIT!!!
President Nelson does an amazing job succinctly discussing the wonder and divinity of our physical bodies. Really – you should read this talk just for this section!
President Nelson poses:
“The marvel of our physical bodies is often overlooked. Who has not encountered feelings of low self-esteem because of physique or appearance? Many people wish their bodies could be more to their liking. Some with naturally straight hair want it curly. Others with curly hair want it straight. Occasionally some ladies, believing that “gentlemen prefer blonds,” become “decided blonds.”
Your body, whatever its natural gifts, is a magnificent creation of God. It is a tabernacle of flesh—a temple for your spirit. A study of your body attests to its divine design.” – Russell M. Nelson
As I read that, I felt like I should raise my hand: 🙋 guilty!
I have overlooked the marvel of my physical body so many times that I feel ashamed to think about it. And always for stupid reasons! I enjoy relatively good health. I don’t have chronic pain or illnesses. I’ve had my fair share of physical trials (endometriosis that ended with a hysterectomy, shingles, kidney stones), but all of these were healed – which is, in and of itself another marvel!
Yet, I get caught up in this world we live in – created by marketers who are banking on us feeling badly enough about ourselves so that we will buy what they are hawking…then we’ll be happy!
It’s so silly. It’s a trap to get us to forget who we are – divine creations. Daughters and sons of a loving Father in Heaven.
Read the rest of what President Nelson said about the body. It’s pretty cool, and I think that it will make you feel grateful, too.
Not only are we physical beings, but we are also spiritual beings. President Nelson quoted the Book of Mormon where Jesus explained the spirit body to the brother of Jared:
“The spirit of man [is] in the likeness of his person.” Jesus so explained, as the brother of Jared viewed the Lord’s premortal body:
“Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.
“… This body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.” – Doctrine and Covenants 77:2 and Ether 3:15-16, as quoted by Russell M. Nelson
Of course, because this is the realm of mortality, there are many physical and spiritual limitations experienced by all in this world. President Nelson addresses some of those limitations. And we have hope – through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we will not have to suffer these limitations into the eternities.
When we understand more about ourselves – both physically and spiritually, we should become more grateful. We should understand the blessings that God has entrusted to us and become wise stewards.
President Nelson states:
“We should gratefully acknowledge God as our Creator. Otherwise, we would be as guilty as goldfish swimming in a bowl, oblivious to the goodness of their provider.” – Russell M. Nelson
I’ve been thinking about gratitude and stewardship a lot lately – the link between the two. How having gratitude (true gratitude!) should engender a deeper desire to be a good steward. And a good steward really can only be a good steward if she has gratitude.
For years now, my family and I have been on this crazy “journey” of sorts. We started our own business and it has required a lot from us. We have given up most of our material possessions. We have had to make sacrifices that haven’t been all that easy.
Somehow, in giving these things up, I have been taught an important lesson on stewardship. I understand that there were many material goods that I took for granted (dishes! socks without holes in them!) in the past. And I think – what a joy it will be to vacuum a room, to clean a fork, to do some chores. I feel more grateful for my current things, too. What a blessing to have what I have – I will fold my beautiful quilts nicely now, rather than leave them crumpled up on the floor. Anyone who knows me knows that this is a major shift. (God is a God of miracles!)
Additionally, I think about my body – what kind of steward am I, what kind of gratitude do I show if I just eat junk food all day and sit around? I can move and walk and jump – without pain! with relative ease! What a blessing! I know that not everyone enjoys this kind of fortune.
And that extends to spirituality. So many people come to this earth without the knowledge of their Father in Heaven. So many people have no idea why they are here. They don’t know the plan of salvation. They don’t know they have a Savior or why they might even need one. So many people don’t have the blessing of the constant companionship of a comforter – a gift I received at the young age of 8.
Am I a good steward of these spiritual blessings? I hope to be. This is why I hunger and thirst after more spiritual knowledge and direction from God. I know that I can’t do anything on my own. I know that I need Him. And I am trying to be less like a dumb little goldfish and more like a grateful and good steward.
I feel like this blog post is long and meandering. But I really liked President Nelson’s talk. I know that he is a prophet of God. I know that there are a lot of things changing with our church. I know that it hasn’t been fully restored but is still being restored which means we can expect more to change (eat those vitamin pills!). I know that President Nelson has been prepared for this moment.
I’m grateful for President Nelson’s background, education, experiences, and faith. He is a good example to us all, but more than that, I’m grateful he has chosen to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands. It is the Lord’s church. We are His creations, His children. What a comfort it is to know this!