I have a hard time preaching or teaching things I don't practice, so in the weeks before my lesson, I work extra hard to apply and get better at the principles I'm planning to cover in my lesson. It makes the lesson more authentic, and helps me to grow and be a better person. I definitely get more out of my lessons than anyone else in the process!
This particular lesson was to cover what Elder M. Russell Ballard said in his General Conference address last fall, titled "Put Your Trust in the Lord." You can watch the whole thing here. Or maybe I can even get it to appear here and it will work. Maybe.
It's a good talk. But the challenge is that *I* don't talk to people about my church. I mention it, I live it, sure. But I don't go doing the missionary thing. I hardly talk to other people about anything. Ever. I'm just an introvert like that. And after decades of feeling like something was wrong with me because I'm not more outspoken, I'm finally at peace with myself. I'm just not a social talker person.
And why would I feel like I want to share my beliefs? Religion is a highly personal subject, I know. And it's supposed to be taboo at social gatherings and Thanksgiving dinner. But I have so many blessings that I believe have come to me and my loved ones as a direct result of living the principles that are taught at church on Sunday. I love my Lord. My faith in him in more comforting than anything else I have.
If I am having a really rotten, nobody-likes-me-I-think-I'll-go-eat-worms day and tell my kids about it, before I know it they are all having bad days too. If I unload on my poor, patient husband, he dutifully listens as much as he can before falling asleep. I can go to the cemetery and cry out at the graves of my mother and Jay (they are neighbors there - how convenient!), but I just get more depressed. I can meditate and mentally search for peace, but through experience I know that this is the best way to make myself mad. But if I kneel in prayer, my broken heart is always comforted. Always. This is the best balm I know of - the best set of rules for living a happy and fulfilled life. I do believe in God and in Christ. I believe that they love me. I believe that living the principles taught by these wise men and women will help me to live the best life I can. I believe that some Gospel messages every day will help me keep going. I believe that this is the best set of guidelines for raising children. I believe. And it makes me happy. How would I not want to share the good stuff?
I tried Elder Ballard's challenge to ask the Lord for a missionary moment, trusting that He will give me something I can handle. And He did. I had a beautiful opportunity to comfort a friend with an aching heart - a moment that would not have happened if I had not been actively looking for it. I'm so glad I was. Spreading the Gospel cheer is so much more than teaching a set of lessons. It's about loving people, and helping them be more happy. That's what Christ did.
By the way, my Sunday lesson went amazingly well, which I was not expecting when I first started looking at it.
And that is why I want to share my faith. And that is why I send my boys off on missions. It's not to brainwash anyone. It's just to share what makes us most happy, in the hopes that it will help someone else be more happy, too. It's to share a bit of Christ's love. You can learn more about it here.
And that is why I'll be having Mission Mondays - to chronicle some of what this mission stuff is all about.