De-complicating Discipleship

uchtdorf

As a result of a recent talk at Sacrament meeting, I carefully reviewed President Uchtdorf’s conference address called

It Works Wonderfully! President Uchtdorf spoke to those who feel their experience as a member of this church has become less than fulfilling.

He shared a piercing story about a woman who had the perfect idea of a visual she could use in her Relief Society lesson – a quilt. Making this quilt would require a significant effort. Life has a way of rarely cooperating with our good intentions. Each time she tried to work on her quilt, stuff happened.

Now, she found herself on the eve of her lesson with a partially completed quilt. So, she stayed up well into the night to complete it. Of course, she was fatigued when it was time to present her lesson — but the quilt was done.

simplicityWhen it was time to teach, she hung the quilt over the chalkboard and there in its center read the carefully embroidered word that she painstakingly stitched late the night before – Simplicity.

This tale took me back to my own brush with complicating my discipleship.  I, too, was guilty of looking beyond the mark of the simplicity of the gospel by adding layers of self-satisfying sediment that became an obstacle to my own personal growth.

2000On my first day at the MTC, we were told the key to a close companionship with the spirit, which was necessary to be successful in all things, was obeying with exactness. I committed that day to be as obedient to all the rules as I felt that 2,000 stripling warriors would have been had been in the MTC. I was determined that my personal pursuit of perfection would allow me to baptize the thousands of converts who were waiting for me — in Germany. (Yes, I lacked a grasp on reality.)

So, I became a rules fanatic. I got up on time. I studied exactly as long as I was supposed to. I had personal prayers as often as was recommended. At first, things went well. I adapted quickly to the rigors of missionary life and quickly grasped the German language. Then I hit that huge grammatical obstacle called reflexive verbs. (I know, we all have our personal stories of struggles with reflexive verbs…)

All of a sudden, my progress stopped. I couldn’t memorize any more sections of the discussions. I couldn’t remember any vocabulary words. My mind went blank. No mattered what I did, I stopped learning.

shoesI remembered that our ability to work with the spirit was directly related to our personal obedience. I took a quick look at where my obedience flagged. It came to me. For some odd reason, I wasn’t shining my shoes every night was we were instructed.

That had to be it!!!!

So, to make up for past sins, I polished my shoes twice a day. Still, those crazy reflexive verbs alluded me.

In time, I mastered the concept of reflexive verbs, but it had nothing to do with my polished shoes. Rather,it had more to with practice and asking for help. But, for a time, my complicating the simplicity of discipleship became an impediment for I relied more on shoe polish than I did on the hard task of learning.

For the next few posts, I will more closely examine what President Uchtdorf taught to see how we can all better de-complicate our discipleship.

I look forward to your comments.

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