Monday, March 14, 2011

Strength and Humility

I come from a long line of very strong personalities. Not that all of them were without grace or tact, some of them had those gifts in abundance. But many of my progenitors were type A, Red, opinionated, leader type people. As you can imagine these genes have been passed down in varying degrees to my generation and I can even see them in my some of my children.

For the most part, I am grateful for this streak of genetic strength. I am grateful to read accounts of my ancestors sticking to their beliefs in the face of great trial. I smile to think of my great great grandfather being the first to volunteer to make a 100 mile trip to join the Mormon Battalion. And I am even more pleased that when the appointed time came to leave and make the trip to join the group and he was the only one to show up, he started out on his own.

I gain strength from reading accounts of another ancestor, a butcher by trade, who, though starving enough to be boiling and eating his leather saddle bag, would not slaughter a mule he was delivering from a friend to his wife.

But I think the stories of my ancestors that teach me the most and that to me show the most strength are when these strong leader type personalities submit humbly to correction or instruction. To me there is no greater strength than submitting humbly to the will of the Lord, especially when it goes against what your will is. I think this humility is a most Christ like characteristic. I strive to develop it more fully in my life.

When Jonathan and I got married, one of the best pieces of advice the person who sealed us gave us was, "remember it is more important to have peace in the home than to be right." That has been invaluable advice to me. I think following this advice takes that same type of humility. It is like obeying your parents even when the instruction they have given you seems or is unneeded or trivial.

I hope I can develop that attribute more fully so that I can be moldable and teachable in the Lord's hands. I can practice by more fully accepting the council of my husband and my ecclesiastical leaders. Whether it is my Relief Society President, my Bishop, my Stake President, or one of the General Authorities, I can make myself more teachable by following their counsel, even when I don't understand or even fully agree with it. To me, that is the ultimate show of strength.

Yesterday we had ward council and we were given counsel from our leaders that I could easily say, "well, that doesn't apply to me because I am 9 months pregnant and I have all these kids so I don't have time to do that." But my great, great grandfather also could have gone back home when he saw he was the only one who showed up to make the long journey to join the Mormon Battalion. It would have been reasonable to do so. But I think I will choose to make journey of obedience, regardless of my own feelings about the degree of importance of the counsel in my own life.

And when we have General Conference in a few weeks, perhaps I will be a bit more moldable and ready to receive the counsel that will be given to me then.