good morning my bright and shining humans!
** first off! tweedledee and tweedledum left me with 25 minutes to fill for the remainder of sacrament. so i was panicking hard core.**
so here’s how the story of how we got asked to speak in church… taylor (my roommate) got asked to come 30 minutes before church because she was getting a new calling. so jos (other roommate) and i thought we’d be nice roommates and just go early with her. well come to find out that’s a bad idea. we were totally ambushed, when the bishop came up to us and asked us to speak, i immediately jumped to asking if i could sing instead. he shut me down real fast and continued with the topics we could speak on. so in shear panic when i heard the word faith i jumped to picking that topic without really thinking it through. the rest of the day i kicked myself for picking faith because boy have i had to have faith lately.
my topic was the shield of faith, and in ephesians 6:16 it reads, "Above all taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."
as i sat there over the week trying to ponder what in the world i was going to say… i kept thinking about the different situations in my life where i had to use my faith.. like... having faith that when my parents said that going to college, alone, was the most logical thing to do instead of dancing professionally.. or... telling myself that i wasn't absolutely insane for quitting the dance team after 18 year of dancing and doing something new. i had to have faith that mine and other’s choices were sound choices, and had to believe something good would come of it..
awesome enough, i'm here to say that i'm okay! i'm alive. i'm graduating college in three months, and even though i miss dance terribly... not being on the team led to some really great opportunities, changing my major, and meeting some amazing people. so this topic is very near, and very dear to my heart and i now am more than ever, extremely grateful to speak to you today. (or have you read my talk)
if there is one thing i hope to give you from this talk is something that you can relate to. my talk may be a little different but i don't want to sit here and tell you a time old story about the faith that joseph smith had, or lehi, nephi, or anyone else far and in between. times have changed and to be honest... they will only get harder and harder. through the hard times of family, friendships, relationships, school, church and whatever else life throws at us we need faith.
so i am a communication PR major at uvu and as PR students we are taught “the crisis plan” so we discuss things like a call to action, strategies, difficulties, opportunities, and tools… or armor, if you will, to safe our clients from bad media, a company crashing or in this case… the adversary. i have found that, for myself, there has been three steps to building my personal crisis plan… aka my shield of faith.
1. trust those that have faith. you can't have your own faith unless you have trusted in someone else's faith. when you were a little kid you were told things like: the stove is hot, or noah built and big boat and put a bunch of animals on it. and you said, okay! fair enough! but sometimes fair enough, isn't good enough and you have to find out for yourself. there will be times when you are burned.. by a stove, scorching pizza, or even people. there will be times when a big boat with a bunch of animal on it just doesn't quite seem right... which leads me to number two.
2. exercise faith... even when you don't have it at the time. these are the primary things we do. saying your prayers, even when you have to roll yourself out of bed. going to church even though you just can’t seem to find a great outfit for those cuties in the ward, or swinging by f.h.e even though you're not hungry. it's the little habits we create by exercising faith that will strengthen our shield over time. james e. faust said "to sustain faith, each of us must be humble and compassionate, kind and generous to the poor and the needy. Faith is further sustained by daily doses of spirituality that come to us as we kneel in prayer. It begins with us as individuals and extends to our families, who need to be solidified in righteousness. Honesty, decency, integrity, and morality are all necessary ingredients of our faith and will provide sanctuary for our souls.”
3. the first two steps are more guided to faith in our even day lives but my third step is more geared to our heavenly father. this last one might seem a little weird, or hard to do at times.. but it has honestly been a make it or break it building block in my faith towards my heavenly father... back story: one night i was talking to tommy wells (a kid in my ward) about "woe is me." then a few minutes later he said something that has stuck with me ever since. he said "god has scarified SO much for us, we all know that... but maybe YOU just might have to sacrifice for him for a while. at first i thought, okay, ouch! did you just call me selfish? and honestly i just looked at him and shook my head. but later that night when i went home i knelt to pray and quite literally told my heavenly father, i will sacrifice for you.
by swallowing our pride and humbling ourselves you begin to see the light of christ and more fully realize that everything will be okay.
so! with it being a new year... make yourself some goals to build your faith. russell m. nelson tells us to be patient with ourselves, that perfection doesn't come in this life... but in the next. try not to demand things that are unreasonable. BUT! to demand of yourself improvement. let the lord help you! and through that.. he will make the difference.
my favorite quote is a simple one: "human kind... be both." faith is such a broad, large, and overwhelming topic. one that we might never fully understand until much later into eternity, so we must remember that we are human. we will mess up. we will get down on ourselves. we will be unkind, frustrated or even lost at times. but i promise you that if you remember that you are human, to be kind to others, and have faith (even if you don't believe it at the time) everything will be okay.
with that id like to bare my testimony… i believe that the mind is a very powerful thing. whatever you begin to tell yourself, will eventually become your reality. so tell yourself good things. surround yourself with good people. people who love you, care for you and about you. people who trust you and expect that trust in return. make goals and challenge yourself. remember who you are and what you're capable of. you have a purpose in life! lift up and empower people. we are all going through something. take the time to be more aware of your surroundings. learn to love yourself, and through that you will love other people. i know that my heavenly father live. he is my lighthouse, my silent night, my reminder that everything will be okay, and that he is watching over me. choices i make good, better, bad, or simply just seeing what will happen, i know that he is there. "he grabbed me, he held me, and he refused to let me fall." i know that those experiences have shaped me into the person i am today. i know that the people who pass by, stay, or leave my life were meant to teach me something. i have learned to love more than i ever thought i could. i have learned to forgive indefinitely. i have learned that all people have good inside of them. and i have learned to protect not only myself but those that i love around me. i know his hand is in all things. for the pain i feel i know he has felt, and for the happiness i receive i know he gives me. i have never been so close to my father in heaven and that is what i am truly grateful for. i know my savior lives. i know that i am a daughter of god. i know he loves me.
in the name of our loving savior, jesus chirst, amen.