Saturday, August 26, 2017

My Twelve Step Journey

Over these last few months I challenged myself to take this "Twelve Step Journey" and today as I was driving home from work I realized I started this journey in 1996.

The last few steps of this journey are:

Step 8:  Seeking Forgiveness:   for me that was me learning first how to forgive myself and then as I continued to grow how to forgive those whose actions or words hurt me.  
To this day I finding myself seeking forgiveness and trying to be more Christ like with those around me.

Step 9:  Restitution and Reconciliation:  1998 the year I took care of my poppers was my step 9

Step 10:  Daily Accountability:   For many years I was one who pointed my finger outwards.  
The day I learned to point that finger inwards was a hard day;  but each day since I am responsible for my actions, my words and my mess ups which believe me are many and it is up to me to apologize when I have stepped out of line.  No one else is accountable for my actions or deeds.
The Spirit has given me some strong reminders of that. 

Step 11:  Personal Revelation:  I have had many over the years but the thought I want to share here and now is this.  Step 11 is the reason I became a nurse and it is my greatest blessing when things start going awry.  How grateful I am that "I have ears to hear."

Finally my most favorite Step

Step 12:  Service

I love these words found in Mosiah:

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."

As I was driving home tonight this song started playing on the Christian radio station I listen to:

Josh Wilson Lyrics

"I Refuse"

Sometimes I
I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone's all right
When I know they're not
This world needs God
But it's easier to stand and watch
I could say a prayer and just move on
Like nothing's wrong
But I refuse

Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh I could choose
Not to move
But I refuse

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of You, Oh God
So if you say move
It's time for me to follow through
And do what I was made to do
And show them who you are

Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh I could choose
Not to move
But I refuse

To stand and watch
The weary and lost
Cry out for help
I refuse
To turn my back
And try and act like all is well
I refuse
To stay unchanged
To wait another day
To doubt myself
I refuse
To make one more excuse

Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh I could choose
Not to move
But I refuse

I refuse
I refuse

I love the lyrics!!  Each time I hear it I'm singing along with heart a pounding because I too:

 "refuse to sit around and wait for someone else, 
to do what God has called me to do myself,
 I could choose not to move 

My greatest joy has come from serving others.

I look back at the woman I was when I started this journey in 96 not having a clue how my life would be changed.
I look at the woman I have become and I am excited to meet the woman I have yet to meet.

This 12 step journey for me continues and will continue because it has been my greatest adventure in truly coming to know me and coming to the realization not only am a Child of God but I truly do have a Divine Nature and Destiny.

What a wonderful day it will be on that day when we stand in those royal courts on high and look into

"Her eyes and behold Her countenance, any question you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich celestial air, because at that moment you will see standing directly inf front you your Divine Nature and Destiny."
(Glen L Pace 2010)``````````

Thursday, July 6, 2017

My Twelve Step: Step 7 Humility

I have been hearing this song on the radio station I listen too and it has really touched me.  I can so connect with the lyrics.

Image result for humility images and quotes

"David Dunn - I Wanna Go Back Lyrics

From the album Yellow Balloons

When I was a kid
I was sure
I could run across the ocean
And I was gonna be an astronaut

When it was You and it was me
I had everything I needed
Faith could even move a mountain top

And then I grew up
And then I got older
Then my life got tough
And we grew apart

I wanna go back
To Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me
For the Bible tells me so
I wanna go back
To this little light
Gonna let it shine
Gonna let it shine
I wanna go back

When I was a kid
I didn't care to keep up with the Jones's
I was just happy that they lived next door

When it was You and it was me
I had everything I needed
Your hands were big enough to hold the world

And then I grew up
And then I got older
Then my life got tough
And we grew apart

I wanna go back
To Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me
For the Bible tells me so
I wanna go back
To this little light
Gonna let it shine
Gonna let it shine
I wanna go back

I wanna go back, back to
Yes, Jesus loves me"

{Publishing: Songs From the Penalty Box(BMI) Word Music, LLC, Howiecowie Publishing (ASCAP) Be Essential Music, Bentley Street Songs(SESAC)}

{Writer(s): David Dunn, Benji Cowart, Hank Bentley}

I remember as a little girl going to my Aunt Alzora's and helping her set up for her bible study group and singing "Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so..."

Then on Sundays in my Primary class I would sing "I am a child of God and He has sent me here..."
I had such a deep love and reverence for my Heavenly Father.  I knew He loved me.

Then as the artist states, "then I grew up..."

When I grew up, I  lost my way.  I became a child who knew better then my Heavenly Parent what I needed.  I had lost my humility and let my pride take over.
I found myself many miles away from my one true friend.

There were two people who knew me pre-temple and they both would say I was pretty messed up.
But after I first entered those hallowed doors my life was changed and those same two people would tell you that I am a different person.  
I know I am a different person because on that day I found my way  to "I want to go back."  

That change happened in 97 and yet I was still a ways of from having true humility.

A few months ago I had what I call a mental meltdown.  
The Spirit had been whispering some things that frankly I just did not want to hear let alone change but after months of resisting I found myself tired of fighting and mentally exhausted.  
I remember saying out loud "I'm done.  I'm tired of fighting."  
A story from the Book of Mormon started running through my mind where some converted Lamanites had "buried deep in the earth their weapons of war."  
A beloved institute teacher words came to my mind as we were discussing above story, 
 "write in your scriptures at that verse rebellion."

I then found myself felling vulnerable and insecure, I had just laid down my rebellious attitude.  

Since that day I have been taking it one day at a time one step at a time and with each day I am in hopes that one day I will be one with my Heavenly Father and once again be called friend.

On the website one can find all the steps with some suggestions on how to get through each step.  
In closing I would like to share their thoughts on Step 7.

"All the steps require humility, but step 7 requires it most explicitly: “Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings.” The humble heart we developed in step 6 brought us to our knees in step 7 to ask the Lord to remove our shortcomings. When we had progressed to this point, we were ready to pray without any other motivation but our desire to become one in heart and in mind with Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. No longer were we satisfied with a change in habits or even in lifestyle. We were finally ready to have God change our very nature.
Step 7 represented for each of us such total surrender to the Savior that many of us could not help but cry out in our hearts, as Alma did, “O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me” (Alma 36:18). Genuine remorse filled our hearts, not only because we had suffered or made others suffer but because we regretted that even in recovery we still could not remove our own shortcomings.
Having felt a portion of the love of God, we desired to give up all our sins, even all inclination to sin, so we might know Him better. Finally, voluntarily, with all our hearts, we offered our whole souls to God and asked Him to forgive us and make us in His image. We had finally come to realize that no other name, no other way nor means, can give us a complete remission of our sins. Holding nothing back, we pled with the Father that He, in His infinite mercy, would forgive us for all our pride, transgressions, and shortcomings. We asked that He would grant us grace, that through Him we might maintain this new way of life.
The Lord did not begin such a revolutionary change of our entire character until we allowed Him to do so. Step 7 was our decision. We had to humble ourselves deliberately. We had to surrender every particle of self-sufficient pride and admit that our efforts to save ourselves had been insufficient. We had to feel and live the truth King Benjamin taught—that we are all beggars before God and have no hope of salvation by our own efforts but only through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 2:21; 4:19–20).
Each step comes with a warning, though, and step 7 is no exception. We who have embraced these principles must warn you that you cannot expect to take this step without sacrifice—and rightly so. In Doctrine and Covenants 59:8, the Lord commands, “Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in righteousness, even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” This offering is the essence of step 7. Even as you feel the pains of your own rebirth, remember that His suffering, not yours, ensures your redemption from sin. Your sacrifice is only a humble reminder of His “great and last sacrifice” on your behalf (Alma 34:14)."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Twelve Step Journey Steps Four and Five

This journey for me has given me some insight and has reminded me the many blessings that have been given to me.

For these two steps I have to go back a few years. 
During my dark days of inactivity I found a trusted Bishop and "Confessed" my sins to him.  
Now I visit with my Heavenly Father on a daily basis and share with Him where I have fallen short and have asked Him to help me do better.
Sundays seem to be the day I am able to do my deepest reflections and check myself.
How grateful I am to have a Father who truly loves hearing from His wayward child and how quick He is to offer hope and forgiveness.  
I will never forget how light my burdens felt once I got them off my chest.
There was finally a glimpse of light in my dark and dreary world.

Step five is "A Change of Heart."
I'll never forget the day I experienced my "Change of Heart.  It was my birthday in 1997.
And since that day my heart continues to be changed and molded by the Master Potter.
On that day I had a true desire not to commit any sin but in Mosiah 4:29 we find:

 "And finally, I cannot tell you all the things whereby ye may commit sin; 
for there are divers ways and means,even so many that I cannot number them."

but he continues with this counsel:

"But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, 
and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, 
and observe the commandments of God,
 and continue in the faith of what ye have heard 
concerning the coming of our Lord,
 even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. 
And now, O man, remember, and perish not."

Over the years since my change of heart I have noticed significant changes 
My swearing diminished, my choice in music changed, my choice in movies changed
and I've found myself developing attributes that have given me an increase in confidence;
and some amazing talents that I never dreamed I could develop.

Because this journey is so personal and each person has their own journey I have found that one mold does not fit all.  But I have found that our Father in Heaven will place in our path fellow brothers or sisters who journey parallels yours and your able to share insights which helps build a weakness or solidifies a strength you never knew you had.

One last thought I would like to share is found in Alma 5:

14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
15 Do ye exercise faith in the redemption of him who created you? Do you look forward with an eye of faith, and view this mortal body raised in immortality, and this corruption raised in incorruption, to stand before God to be judged according to the deeds which have been done in the mortal body?
16 I say unto you, can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you, in that day: Come unto me ye blessed, for behold, your works have been the works of righteousness upon the face of the earth?
17 Or do ye imagine to yourselves that ye can lie unto the Lord in that day, and say—Lord, our works have been righteous works upon the face of the earth—and that he will save you?
18 Or otherwise, can ye imagine yourselves brought before the tribunal of God with your souls filled with guilt and remorse, having a remembrance of all your guilt, yea, a perfect remembrance of all your wickedness, yea, a remembrance that ye have set at defiance the commandments of God?
19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?
27 Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?
28 Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of envy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare quickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
30 And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?
33 Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.

34 Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely
I love reflecting on these questions Alma poses.  
I use them as my ruler and where am I with my change of heart.
How grateful I am for finding the courage to step forward and start the journey which  changed my heart.

Friday, May 26, 2017

To My Own Self be True

I started participating in the 12 step program of the church I guess to try and find some deeper insights into me and why I'm me.

The fourth step is "Truth"
I have been reflecting on this step for several weeks and one of the first thoughts that came into my mind was a conversation I had with an adopted Grand Pa many years ago. He was sharing an experience with me about how he came to know God.  The one thing that stuck with me all these years was when he looked me right in the eye and said "I know truth when I hear it."
I remember telling him, so do I, so do I.

But today a friend made a comment that we all have our own journey here and there are times we just have to let go and focus on those who matter the most,
As she was sharing her insights with me the thought ran through my mind
"To Thine Own Self Be True" and I knew what thought I wanted to share.

My whole life I have found myself trying to be what others expected me to be.
I so desperately wanted to be a part and not be so "different."
Ever since I can remember I was labeled as the "different one."
But in trying to be what others expected me to be took me down a dark rabbit hole which brought me much pain and sorrow.

And I found myself so very alone.

I found a BYU Devotional entitled "To Thine Own Self Be True "
given by Sister Bateman, Sept 9, 1997.

This comment jumped out at me:

"Each of us is unique and in our own special way different from everyone else.
We have been given gifts and talents by the Spirit of God that makes us distinctly who we are.
As we share our talent with others, we bless them--and they bless us with their gifts..."

She then went on to share these thoughts,

"our daughter, Michele, has an egg collection.  I am amazed at the variety of eggs she has assembled.  I find the variety and uniqueness of each egg intriguing...Each egg is different from the rest, but each is appealing in its own way.  I have often thought how like people her eggs are.  We are all children of our Heavenly Father, yet, like the eggs, we are different from one another--different in size and shape; different in coloring; different in decorativeness and in plainness.  Some of us are hard and others fragile.  Some people, like some eggs, look alike.  We have twin daughters....In appearance they are quite similar.  Some people think they look just alike.  When they were younger they were often treated as one.  But they did not want to be treated the same.  They wanted to be appreciated for their differences rather than for their sameness..."

"There are two important pieces of knowledge that we need to understand and internalize to be happy.  The first is that we are children--spiritual children--of our Heavenly Father.  There is divinity within us,  Every person on this earth is a child of God.  Everyone!"

"Second, our Heavenly Father loves us.  He has endowed us with gifts of the Spirit that makes us uniquely who we are.  Our challenge is to know our real self--to live lives congruent with the Spirits inside us..."

"One of Satan's aims is to distract us from being successful.  He would have us believe that success if something that it really is not.  Satan's plan is full of half-truths, and he tries to lure us into accepting his counterfeit interpretation of life.
For instance, Satan would have us measure our worth and that of others by the standards of the world. He would have us believe that we should all be cast from the same mold--we should look alike, act alike, and even think alike to be in style--to be correct.  Consequently we become preoccupied in trying to measure up to the fads and thinking of the day.  We become more concerned about whether our clothes are in vogue than if they are modest and appropriate..."

"The world would have us be more anxious about how we look and what we weigh than how healthy we are.  A proper diet, appropriate exercise, and plenty of rest keeps our bodies, our minds, and our spirits in the best of health.  Anything else robs us of our full potential.  Eventually a price is paid if we do not take care of our bodies."

"We are often more into "political correctness" than "Spiritual correctness."  The world would have us believe that our happiness comes from other people's reaction to us.  We use radar like signals to measure how we look, how we act, and what we think and say.  We send out signals--feelers--to others.  These signals bounce back.  When others find our actions congruent with their thinking, they send positive signals.  We interpret those signals to mean that we are of worth.  Our interest in others often depends on the signals we receive rather than on genuine feelings within."

"In contrast, gifts of the Spirit, especially charity, are like a gyroscope.  They are internal.  Like a gyroscope they are steady and sure amidst the changing fads of the world.  As a part of our education for eternity, we must seek a principle-centered life.  This is a life where the gyroscope--our real self--maintains an equilibrium and direction based on eternal truths rather than on the signals generated by others.  Knowledge of our inner self lifts us above criticism, above discouragement, and above failure--"This above all:
To thine own self be true" (William Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 1, scene 3, line 78)"

My journey to getting to know the real me started in 1997 and with each passing year I have come to know and love the real me.
 I have been blessed with some amazing gifts from our Father in Heaven which is a big part of me.

The last two years I have felt that it was time to let go of a big piece of baggage that I have been carrying  since childhood.  Until today I did not  understand or know what that piece of baggage was.
But Thanks to a wise friends loving comment and Sister Bateman's inspired words I now understand what I am letting go off.

Many years ago I found a picture of a young man with his suit jacket hanging over his shoulder walking down a dark pathway lined with trees.  There was a saying about having to journey alone.
I had placed that picture on my brothers grave the day after he had been buried.
In my grief stricken mind my brother was on his journey alone.

In 97 that image came back into my mind and that sweet sweet whisper came into my mind
"You must go this road alone."
Now mind you I have this issue  about being alone, (among my many other issues)
I have been questioning that thought ever since.
But today as my fingers are running across my computer key board I realize the truthfulness of those words and that it is time to face my issue of being alone and start my journey by placing my trust in my Heavenly Father who honestly has never left me alone and who has blessed me with amazing friends who will always continue to cheer me on.

As my wise friend stated, "each and everyone us are on our own private journey."

Yesterday I met a nice gentleman and as we were visiting he made this profound comment,
"You've had an interesting life.  I'm excited to journey with you for awhile and to see where it takes us."

I had never thought of my life as interesting I'm just me a silly knob.  But you know what He is right.
I have faced some trials which has allowed me to open my heart and accept the wonderful gifts and tools that Heavenly Father so graciously has poured on my head.
And because of my great love for Him my greatest desire is to be called His friend,
I want to be an instrument that He can count on when one of His children needs a smile, a reassuring hug, a listening ear or a friend I want to be the one who steps forward and states,
"Here I am send me."

Because that is truly who I am.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Step Three my 12 step Journey

Related image

Step three is entitled "Trust in the God"
Throughout my life I have found myself in a situation where I had no one else to trust but the Lord.
I have also had my moments when I attempted to "Trust in the flesh of men" and not the Lord.
I have found myself on a roller coaster of whom I was going to trust.

I have had great spiritual moments which has solidified my foundation in trusting in the Lord.
He has never let me down when I put all my trust in Him.   But learning to trust in His timetable with me being impatient and impetuous has been my stumbling block as I continue to place my trust in Him.

I love General Conference and I love DVRS.  I can watch those conference talks which spoke to me over and over until the time comes I need to delete them.
One night after a long and emotional day at work I found myself listening to the Priesthood session when President Uchidorf began his talk.
His words touched me deeply.

In 2008 after a many years of neat Spiritual experiences the Spirit whispered,
"It's time for you to step back and quietly serve and let someone else step forward."
After that whisper my world as I knew it totally changed. (No, I was not trusting the Lord during this period)  I found myself at a loss and wandering aimlessly.
I threw myself into my new career doing what I did best running.
There was some fulfillment yet I was losing sight of me and the promises I had made to the Lord.

I then found myself trying to "Force" doors that were not opened and was gently reprimanded through a BYU devotional.  For many years I stumbled along as I tried to regain my bearings
it wasn't until I laid down my weapons of rebellion and opened my ears and heart to the Lord that my troubled soul once again felt that wonderful peace.
Image result for images trust god

I'm still unsure what the Lord has planned but He is guiding me along one day at a time 
one step at a time.

One of the first things that spoke to me during President Uchidorf's talk was "the members of the Church are gracious to the General Authorities.  They will treat you kindly and say nice things about you...Dieter, always be thankful for this, but don't ever inhale it."
I learned that during my years of great Spiritual experiences I had been "inhaling" the kind comments which were directed at me.

Here in 2017 I received my understanding about "it's time for you to step back and quietly serve...." through the inspired words of one his chosen servants,

"In God's kingdom, greatness and leadership means seeing others as they truly are--as God sees them--and then reaching out and ministering to them.  It means rejoicing with those who are happy, weeping with those who grieve, lifting up those in distress, and loving our neighbors as Christ loves us.  The Savior loves all of God's children regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances, race, religion, language, political orientation,  nationality, or any other grouping.  And so should we!
God's greatest reward goes to those who serve without expectation and reward.  It goes to those who serve without fanfare; those who quietly go about seeking ways to help others; those who minster to others simply because they love God and God's children."

I am grateful for all the gifts the Lord has blessed me with.
I am also so very grateful that during my darkest challenges He was always there and He always will be there if I continue to keep my heart and ears open and continue to look up and follow Him.

Here are President Uchidorf's inspired words I hope they speak to others as they spoke to me

The Greatest among You

God’s greatest reward goes to those who serve without expectation of reward.
My dear brothers, dear friends, how grateful I am to be with you in this inspiring worldwide priesthood meeting. President Monson, thank you for your message and blessing. We will always take to heart your words of direction, counsel, and wisdom. We love and sustain you, and we always pray for you. You are indeed the Lord’s prophet. You are our President. We sustain, we love, you.
Almost two decades ago, the Madrid Spain Temple was dedicated and began its service as a sacred house of the Lord. Harriet and I remember it well because I was serving in the Europe Area Presidency at the time. Along with many others, we spent countless hours attending to the details of planning and organizing the events leading up to the dedication.
As the date of the dedication approached, I noticed that I had not yet received an invitation to attend. This was a bit unexpected. After all, in my responsibility as the Area President, I had been greatly involved in this temple project and felt a small amount of ownership for it.
I asked Harriet if she had seen an invitation. She had not.
Days passed and my anxiety increased. I wondered if our invitation had gotten lost—perhaps it was buried between the cushions of our sofa. Maybe it had been mixed up with junk mail and thrown away. The neighbors had an inquisitive cat, and I even began to look suspiciously at him.
Finally I was forced to accept the fact: I had not been invited.
But how was that possible? Had I done something to offend? Did someone just assume it was too far for us to travel? Had I been forgotten?
Eventually, I realized that this line of thinking led to a place in which I did not wish to take up residence.
Harriet and I reminded ourselves that the temple dedication was not about us. It wasn’t about who deserved to be invited or who did not. And it wasn’t about our feelings or our sense of entitlement.
It was about dedicating a holy edifice, a temple of the Most High God. It was a day of rejoicing for the members of the Church in Spain.
Had I been invited to attend, I would have done so gladly. But if I were not invited, my joy would not be any less profound. Harriet and I would rejoice with our friends, our beloved brothers and sisters, from afar. We would praise God for this wonderful blessing just as enthusiastically from our home in Frankfurt as we would from Madrid.

Sons of Thunder

Among the Twelve whom Jesus called and ordained were two brothers, James and John. Do you remember the nickname He gave them?
Sons of Thunder (Boanerges).1
You don’t get a nickname like that without an intriguing backstory. Unfortunately, the scriptures don’t provide much explanation about the nickname’s origin. However, we do get brief glimpses into the character of James and John. These were the same brothers who suggested calling down fire from heaven on a village in Samaria over not being invited into town.2
James and John were fishermen—probably a little rough around the edges—but I guess they knew a lot about the elements of nature. Certainly, they were men of action.
On one occasion, as the Savior prepared to make His final journey to Jerusalem, James and John approached Him with a special request—one perhaps worthy of their nickname.
“We want you to do for us whatever we ask,” they said.
I can imagine Jesus smiling at them as He responded, “What do you want?”
“Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.”
The Savior now challenged them to think a little more deeply about what they were asking and said, “To sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.”3
In other words, you can’t get honor in the kingdom of heaven by campaigning for it. Nor can you “power lunch” your way to eternal glory.
When the other ten Apostles heard about this request from the Sons of Thunder, they weren’t especially happy. Jesus knew His time was short, and seeing contention among those who would carry on His work must have troubled Him.
He talked to the Twelve about the nature of power and how it affects those who seek and hold it. “The people of influence in the world,” He said, “use their position of authority to exercise power over others.”
I can almost see the Savior, looking with infinite love into the faces of those faithful and believing disciples. I can almost hear His pleading voice: “This is not the way it shall be among you. Instead, whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”4
In God’s kingdom, greatness and leadership means seeing others as they truly are—as God sees them—and then reaching out and ministering to them. It means rejoicing with those who are happy, weeping with those who grieve, lifting up those in distress, and loving our neighbor as Christ loves us. The Savior loves all of God’s children regardless of their socioeconomic circumstance, race, religion, language, political orientation, nationality, or any other grouping. And so should we!
God’s greatest reward goes to those who serve without expectation of reward. It goes to those who serve without fanfare; those who quietly go about seeking ways to help others; those who minister to others simply because they love God and God’s children.5

Don’t Inhale

Shortly after my call as a new General Authority, I had the privilege to accompany President James E. Faust for a stake reorganization. As I drove the car to our assignment in beautiful Southern Utah, President Faust was kind enough to use the time to instruct and teach me. One lesson I will never forget. Said he, “The members of the Church are gracious to the General Authorities. They will treat you kindly and say nice things about you.” Then he briefly paused and said, “Dieter, always be thankful for this, but don’t you ever inhale it.”
This important lesson about Church service applies to every priesthood holder in every quorum of the Church. It applies to all of us in this Church.
When President J. Reuben Clark Jr. counseled those called to positions of authority in the Church, he would tell them not to forget rule number six.
Inevitably, the person would ask, “What is rule number six?”
“Don’t take yourself too darn seriously,” he would say.
Of course, this led to a follow-up question: “What are the other five rules?”
With a twinkle in his eye, President Clark would say, “There aren’t any.”6
To be effective Church leaders, we must learn this critical lesson: leadership in the Church is not so much about directing others as it is about our willingness to be directed by God.

Callings as Opportunities for Service

As Saints of the Most High God, we are to “remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.”7 Opportunities to go about doing good and to serve others are limitless. We can find them in our communities, in our wards and branches, and certainly in our homes.
In addition, every member of the Church is given specific formal opportunities to serve. We refer to these opportunities as “callings”—a term that should remind us of who it is that calls us to serve. If we approach our callings as opportunities to serve God and minister to others with faith and humility, every act of service will be a step on the path of discipleship. In this way, God not only builds up His Church but also builds up His servants. The Church is designed to help us become true and faithful disciples of Christ, good and noble sons and daughters of God. This happens not just when we go to meetings and listen to talks but also when we get outside ourselves and serve. This is how we become “great” in the kingdom of God.
We accept callings with grace, humility, and gratitude. When we are released from these callings, we accept the change with the same grace, humility, and gratitude.
In the eyes of God, there is no calling in the kingdom that is more important than another. Our service—whether great or small—refines our spirits, opens the windows of heaven, and releases God’s blessings not only upon those we serve but upon us as well. When we reach out to others, we can know with humble confidence that God acknowledges our service with approval and approbation. He smiles upon us as we offer these heartfelt acts of compassion, especially acts that are unseen and unnoticed by others.8
 Each time we give of ourselves to others, we take a step closer to becoming good and true disciples of the One who gave His all for us: our Savior.

From Presiding to the Parade

During the 150th anniversary of the pioneers’ arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, Brother Myron Richins was serving as a stake president in Henefer, Utah. The celebration included a reenactment of the pioneers’ passage through his town.
President Richins was heavily involved with the plans for the celebration, and he attended many meetings with General Authorities and others to discuss the events. He was fully engaged.
Just before the actual celebration, President Richins’s stake was reorganized, and he was released as president. On a subsequent Sunday, he was attending his ward priesthood meeting when the leaders asked for volunteers to help with the celebration. President Richins, along with others, raised his hand and was given instructions to dress in work clothes and to bring his truck and a shovel.
Finally, the morning of the big event came, and President Richins reported to volunteer duty.
Only a few weeks before, he had been an influential contributor to the planning and supervision of this major event. On that day, however, his job was to follow the horses in the parade and clean up after them.
President Richins did so gladly and joyfully.
He understood that one kind of service is not above another.
He knew and put into practice the words of the Savior: “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”9

Doing Discipleship Right

Sometimes, like the Sons of Thunder, we desire positions of prominence. We strive for recognition. We seek to lead and to make a memorable contribution.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to serve the Lord, but when we seek to gain influence in the Church for our own sake—in order to receive the praise and admiration of men—we have our reward. When we “inhale” the praise of others, that praise will be our compensation.
What is the most important calling in the Church? It is the one you currently have. No matter how humble or prominent it may seem to be, the calling you have right now is the one that will allow you not only to lift others but also to become the man of God you were created to be.
My dear friends and brethren in the priesthood, lift where you stand!
Paul taught the Philippians, “Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.”10

Serving with Honor

Seeking honor and celebrity in the Church at the expense of true and humble service toward others is the trade of Esau.11 We may receive an earthly reward, but it comes at great cost—the loss of heavenly approbation.
Let us follow the example of our Savior, who was meek and lowly, who sought not the praise of men but to do the will of His Father.12
Let us serve others humbly—with energy, gratitude, and honor. Even though our acts of service may seem lowly, modest, or of little value, those who reach out in kindness and compassion to others will one day know the value of their service by the eternal and blessed grace of Almighty God.13
My dear brethren, dear friends, may we meditate upon, understand, and live this paramount lesson of Church leadership and priesthood governance: “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” This is my prayer and blessing in the sacred name of our Master, our Redeemer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.