Sunday, April 13, 2008

the Bread of Life

I'm not really one to pontificate on spiritual matters, especially not on my blog. I don't know why, exactly, though I'm sure that part of it is that I've been pretty spiritually empty during the past nearly three years that I've been blogging. When you're empty, you don't have much to give. The other part is that I'm just kind of a private person about those sorts of things. So whether great or not so great, you aren't likely to get the details from me on a regular basis.

But I do feel like sharing some thoughts today.

Visiting teaching last month, there wasn't a VT message in the Ensign, so you were supposed to share something you felt like sharing from the magazine. Well, it was all about Jesus Christ, so not too impossible to find something worth sharing. What I chose was a bit from the article I Am the Way, which explores a number of the analogies/parables about Christ. The one I focused on was the verses from John chapter six, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. … I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” For some reason, when I read that this time it really hit me what it meant to me, personally. I was never wooed into a low-carb diet simply because I knew I couldn't do it, and really it wouldn't have been worth the sacrifice of bread. I love bread. I love vegetables, too, but not like I do bread. I can eat vegetables all day long, but still feel hungry (though likely pretty gassy) if I've not had any bread. I realized that it is the same with Christ. I can fill my life full of other wonderful and good things, but if I'm leaving out Christ, I'm going to feel incomplete and unsatisfied. And we really do need to feed ourselves spiritually every day. Since I've been doing "The Hinckley Challenge" to read the Book of Mormon in 97 days, I've been amazed at the increase in my spiritual well-being and overall happiness. I have found it much easier not to worry myself sick about our financial challenges and not to get completely bent out of shape over small misdeeds or annoyances of the kids and pets. I can truly feel the arms of God, or perhaps his angels, cushioning me and comforting me.

The sad part is, I've done this more than once before. Life has compelled me to be humble, and I feast upon the words of Christ and pour out my soul in prayer just to make it through. In one of my roughest periods, I honestly didn't feel like I could make it through each day without putting in a fair amount of time on my knees and in the scriptures. And He was there for me. Did things turn out like I thought they should, in my detailed plan for my life? Not at all. But I came through on the other side of it a wiser and better person. I don't know what would have happened if I'd not turned to Christ in that hard time. I think it would have been the beginning of a slow falling away. But since then, I've waxed and waned in my dedication and my testimony. I knew I could never deny the help that I felt or the truth of a blessing I received at the time, but I wouldn't put in the effort to feel the spirit, and then when I didn't feel the spirit, I'd think it some sort of indication that I didn't need spiritual direction in my life.

I have realized the truth of the scripture that says "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him..."

He is there for us. And even as we undulate in our commitment to Him, He will always welcome us back. One of my absolute favorite passages of scripture is in Doctrine & Covenants section 101 verses 7-9
They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.
Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them. I will not utterly cast them off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy.

These verses speak to me, perhaps because I so often find myself in the situation of being slow to hearken, and esteeming counsel lightly in my times of peace. But I know that He is filled with compassion towards me. And I am so grateful for that.


Lucy, Marc and Katie said...

Thanks Mindy. I love the perspective on bread.

Blue said...

wow mindy. i know we've never met, and honestly, i've often thought to myself that i'm not the kind of person that cool people like you generally give the time of day to, at least historically. and from the bits i do know about you we don't have a whole lot in common (i eat meat, avoid animals etc), but reading your post made me feel like you were a kindred spirit! i can say amen to every word of it. especially the part where you said "it would have been the beginning of a slow falling away..." well, all of it, really. only you wrote it so beautifully that i really couldn't have put it quite so nicely if i'd tried.

i don't know about the 97 day challenge. i'm trying to read with my punks every day, and we hit at least 4 mornings a week most weeks. weekends fall apart (which is ironic). but i should find out about this challenge. i should also take a nod from you and figure out the prayer thing for myself. that's one area i've had a life-long struggle to make real, regular and sincere. to pray vs. "saying prayers".

this was very long. but your post was very good. you've inspired me today. thank you! ♥

Debra said...

I wouldn't describe this as you pontificating. Quite the opposite, actually. You share a wonderful analogy and it's nice to know that I'm not alone in our church with the struggle to be sufficiently humbled and open that door. That's not a fair statement. I think most in our church feel that way which is why we go to church and learn the gospel and try it out for ourselves. Amazing how if you give it a genuine try as you're doing it almost always adds to a sense of happiness and peace.

Thank you for taking the time to write this. I really needed to hear your thoughts and read the scriptures you highlighted.