Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Heart

Sometimes, especially during our big transitions which seem to happen at least once a year, I start to freak out. We're usually broke which seems to be the biggest factor of discontent. I try every year to save up enough to see us through but things always come up that take the reserve money I saved, like undisclosed fees for internship paperwork, tests, notarizing, over-nighting contracts and the list goes on.

It's during that, or rather this time that I start to feel a little resentful. Of what? Anything and everything connected with money. How do people buy new shirts? How does anyone go anywhere when it costs money? I could do such and such too if I had any money. Basically, I allow everything to come down to a question of money. It's not good.

I realize both ends of the spectrum in my situation, ie, I should be grateful I'm not in a 3rd world slum and not care about money all the way to money makes many many things possible and pleasant and is desirable.

Then I start to wonder about money and serving in the church. That's probably a discussion for another time, but lets just say, it factors into the craze.

So, this all brings us to today. I've gotten a bit better about freaking out because things are semi-settling though it looks like we have at least another month and a half of financial frustration ahead.

Today Henry decided to take part in the quiet part of his quiet time for a bit and I actually got to read a talk and scriptures. The talk can be found here. While the beginning of it spoke to a lot of the concerns I've had for the past little bit, the end hit me pretty good in the financially frenzied face:

While in Liberty Jail, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation that describes a condition of some hearts:

“Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?

“Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men.” 15

Many in the world now live in prosperous and peaceful circumstances. In the Book of Mormon, prosperity often led the people away from the Lord. Mormon warned, “We may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art … , then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God.” 16

The Lord noted three natural consequences of having one’s heart set on the things of the world: First, we seek to hide our sins instead of repenting of them. Next, we seek to gratify our pride and vain ambitions rather than seeking the things of God. Finally, we begin to exercise unrighteous dominion over others. 17

Note that pride is a natural consequence of setting our hearts on the things of the world. Pride quickly desensitizes our hearts to spiritual promptings. For example, the Lord said, “I, the Lord, am not pleased with my servant Sidney Rigdon; he exalted himself in his heart, and received not counsel, but grieved the Spirit.” 18 Compare that to this promise: “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.” 19

In the Liberty Jail revelation, the Lord described the effect of a worldly heart: “Behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and … behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself.” 20 Brothers and sisters, in these very “perilous times,” we cannot afford to grieve the Spirit and be left to ourselves.

It's then I realized that while I was and definitely am concerned over having food and shelter for my family, the bulk of my resentful feelings came not from the worry over those things but over extra things like clothes, vacations and other expensive hobbies or toys, 'things of this world' if you will.

So I'm trying to rid my heart of those desires to the point where I am no longer resentful of not having them. I'm trying to remember the help and love we have received from family and friends so we don't want for the necessities and even a few of the extras. I'm trying to remember that a heart purged of unrighteous desires is the goal, not a house full of things or even a life full of fun. So here is the part where I promise to try harder. And I do.

And I swear the next blog post will not be depressing and will contain pictures. =)


SSToone said...

Totally feel that way at times too - I wonder how everyone goes on all these vacations and such? Just curious. Everyone spends money differently and is in different stages with schooling, jobs, etc. So hard not to compare and get stressed out about!

Melissa said...

Great post and just what I needed to hear. PRIORITIES! Thanks.

Joshua and Rachel said...

This is a very good talk. I loved the ending too, it was good for me to hear.

Lowell said...

We love your blog, Deborah. Thank you for sharing thoughts like this. 'Amen' to everything you say about the balance between money and 'toys' as we may call them.