Friday, February 26, 2010

Find where you stand so you can lift!

I decided to apply President Uchtdorf's council to "Stand close together and lift where you stand" to my relationships with my friends. We have a pretty closely knit group, and we love spending time together. However, I have recently felt that I haven't been growing any closer to them, despite the fact that I've spent more time socializing than usual in the past couple of weeks.

Earlier today, I sat puzzling over this issue. I just didn't feel like I was being much of a friend, and on top of that, my schoolwork was beginning to suffer. I realized that I needed to reset and reconfirm my priorities--to figure out where I stood. I asked myself these questions:
  1. Who am I?
  2. Why am I here?
  3. Where am I going?
  4. What am I going to do to get there?
These questions apply to the grand scheme and also to the smaller steps, like being a student here at BYU.

Now, I haven't really tested this yet, but I think the Spirit is telling me that if everyone in a team, a ward, or a group of friends asks themselves these questions and commits to the answers, and then does everything they can to help the others with their commitments, that pianos will be moved, testimonies will be strengthened, friendships will solidify beyond anything we can imagine at the outset! Nice run-on sentence. In other words, if we each stand solidly in our close circle, there is no fear of failure as we lift where we stand.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Mosiah 4:27 tells me...

If I am diligent (always doing) in the different areas of my life, then I will get everything that I need to done.

It's kind of cool: Mosiah 4:27 is almost chiasmatic in form.

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order;
for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.
And again,
it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize;
therefore, all things must be done in order.

So we can set "be[ing] diligent" to "not run[ning] faster than [we have] strength," with emphasis on the word "faster"--we could also say, "running as fast as we have strength." Heavenly Father requires our all; no more, no less. And He promises us that when we give our lives, our hearts, and our wills to Him, that we will "win the prize."

Which leads to another scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 106:3, which reads, "And devote [your] whole time to this high and holy calling, which I now give unto [you], seeking diligently the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, and all things necessary shall be added thereunto; for the laborer is worthy of his hire."

Since coming to BYU, I've begun to really understand that the gospel encompasses all of life--not just the spiritual aspects. So I know that if I work to be diligent in my various roles, keeping the Lord as my focal point and always seeking the guidance of the Holy Ghost, then I will have everything I need and I will do everything I need to do.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Not especially leadershippy...

But I wanted to post it somewhere, and I don't like Facebook. The following is an excerpt from an e-mail that I wrote to a friend after hiking the Y on my first Monday here.

"Working toward and growing through those things that will make me happy is hard. Very hard. And when I look up the aggravatingly steep path and see only the next switchback, with no destination in sight, it's too easy to get discouraged. But I need to just grit my teeth and smile and keep breathing and never stop, and when I get to the where I want to be I will be so thrilled and humbled, and so happy to see others make their goals too. And I always want to keep climbing. Because when I'm moving up, even though it hurts, I'm always in control; I can always choose to stop, though I always choose to keep going. But once I start the downward path, away from the goal, it soon becomes nearly impossible to set my own pace. I go faster and faster down the slope until I'm nearly running, against my will. And in real life, there are no pizzas or buckets of ice cream waiting at the bottom."

So, pretty cool. Hope that's beneficial to someone. :)


Friday, February 12, 2010

Givin' the candlestick, guys.

Well, I'm not really sure if this counts, but I chose to type up my notes from my U.S. History class today and send them to they guy who usually sits next to me but was absent. That might sound a little wimpy, but I have a couple of qualifications: (1) notes from that class are always huge, as we go at a ridiculously fast pace, and (2) the teacher never posts her slides on Blackboard. Having studied with this my neighbor for the last test, I know how heavily he relies on his lecture notes and how hard it would be for him to miss a day.

So, how will doing this help us as a student body become more unified and happy? Hm. Actually, I think it might. We've all gotten those piteous e-mails begging for notes because someone has missed a day or a week or whatever. I've even sent one. I know how happy it would make me to have someone spontaneously send me their notes before I even had to ask; I would know that someone in my class was watching over me and cared enough to help me stay afloat. I think everyone's education at BYU would be better if we viewed our learning as a joint process, a community effort. The society that we're hoping to benefit with our careers is in school with us right now--so let's start now!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sidenote: a moon

I really admire Lachoneus. He was a fantastic leader! Mormon tells us that he "was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and threatenings of a robber" (3 Nephi 3:12), but inspired his people to unite, to repent, and to look to the true source of salvation. We also know that he knew how to delegate, and that he stayed strong under the immense pressure of governing a compressed and people during the 7+ years that they were "besieged" by the Gadianton robbers. But I really want to focus on his ability to inspire. He let his light shine, and it was a light that led his followers to Christ, the source of all light and truth. I hope that I can be a leader like that in the Lord's kingdom.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Well. My results for the Myers-Briggs test came out INTJ, so according to the MB website, I...

Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others. (I promise I'm not just trying to fill space here. And please ignore the inconsistent grammar...)

Unlike most of the people in our section, I didn't really feel that this description described me perfectly; rather, it seemed to depict a very harsh version of me. That was rather disconcerting, so I looked a little deeper (or, farther down the page) at my interpretation and realized that I fell almost exactly half-way between the Thinking and Feeling preferences--there was only a one-point difference in favor of Thinking. Taking that into consideration, I could just as easily be type INFJ:

Seek meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. Want to understand what motivates people and are insightful about others. Conscientious and committed to their firm values. Develop a clear vision about how best to serve the common good. Organized and decisive in implementing their vision.

That really feels a lot more like me. However, since I do fall half-way between the two, I probably behave like an INTJ half the time, so I may as well take the results I received as legitimate.

In doing so, I had some really interesting discussion with my friend Madeleine, whom I mentioned in a previous post. She helped me recognize some strengths ascribed to me by the test that I didn't think I had, such as skills in "innovative problem solving," by pointing out how I help her to focus the stories that she writes. It's good to think about these strengths, and also the weaknesses that come with my type. Being aware of them will help me monitor my own actions and decisions as I work, teach, and build relationships. Additionally, I hope to learn to think about others in terms of their strengths so that I can best encourage them to reach their goals.

One place to start is, again, with Madeleine and her stories, because we're making a pretty good team. She tells me, "You are an enzyme for storytelling. We should call you Emilase."