Friday, May 14, 2010

Just Shabby, No Chic?

Have you ever pondered the blessing in the concept of renewal? Something old can be made as new. Something stale can be refreshed. If you have been in this calling very long you have probably already discovered that the shine wears off after a while, maybe faster that you expected. Dings appear from unkind remarks about your methods or ability. Self-doubt scratches as a constant irritant. The physical effort of being warm, cheerful and, above all, perpetually creative can dull what once felt shiny and beautiful. We start to feel used instead of useful, shabby without any chic.

Where do you go to find the treatment that will restore the shine? How do you find the supplies to cleanse, repair, rebuild or renovate an attitude? When we think we can’t do this calling for even one more week, what can we do?

Because the outward appearance is so obvious we think at first that what we need are better, cuter ideas. Maybe a new dress would perk us up. But the fun ideas don’t fit us or work as well as we thought they would. The kids might even roll their eyes and mutter. The new dress makes us look great, but after a few weeks we’re back to that same unsettled, unsatisfied feeling. So we buy another book of ideas and a cute new Primary tote bag. We scour the Internet for even more ideas and try a new haircut. And then we finally decide that what we really need is a new calling. Then we could attend Relief Society where they give a beautiful, spiritual lesson complete with a lovely book mark and insightful adult comments instead of “our dog threw up this morning”. We just know that we would feel pampered and rejuvenated. We imagine Relief Society as a kind of spiritual spa for the overworked, under appreciated, slightly flabby Primary worker.

I have gone through several cycles of this experience. I finally recognize that when I am unsettled and unsatisfied the hunger I feel is for the bread of life and I need to locate the source of supply. When I am thirsty for the approval of others I remind myself that this kind of thirst can only be quenched with water from wells of everlasting life. I am sure that you know as well as I do that the ultimate “home improvement” treatment is furnished not by an outside decorator, but is a do-it-yourself project. We will never be happy in a calling until we fill the calling and not expect the calling to fill us. The satisfaction we crave in our service comes from within, not from without.

The stock is found in our covenants and in the renewing of them. There is true power in Israel and her people because of covenants. When I focus on the fact that I am in a relationship with a covenant God and that my humble efforts to serve him keeps me in this relationship, I find that thoughtless remarks from either children or adults don’t change this truth. The routine doesn't seem so monotonous. I find ample supply for my hunger in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the principles and doctrine that correct mistakes and guide my thought and behavior. I can make time for personal gospel study and when I ponder the principles of the gospel found in the music we sing each week, I am satisfied and renewed in my mind. I can find abundance when I sincerely pray for that which I need. I can exercise faith and truly rest in what I know about the character and promises of God. Doing these things makes it easier to offer myself to God as a Primary worker, as a visiting teacher, or as a mother. My offering becomes beautiful again.

When we find ourselves unhappy, frustrated, tired, and uninspired we have to take control of our situation and do something to bring back the sparkle. By all means, choose some new fabric and paint and pick out some new colors. Just remember that you have to supply the polish and elbow grease as well. You have to schedule the time to work, find the tools and finance the project with your own funds. And don’t just hope that your visiting teachers will bring by a casserole. God will bring you a feast.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your wonderful blog. I just found it today and read the whole thing. You have such wonderful ideas and I love the spirit that you present everything with. I'm looking forward to more. Thanks again,
Miranda, in Michigan.

The Children Sing said...

What a nice thing to say, Miranda. I'm glad you found something helpful. Thank you for the encouragement.

Parley and Anna and family! said...

Thank you for this post. It was just what I needed to help me regain my focus. You are right on!
And thank you for all your other posts. I, too, recently discovered you and noticed a particular reverence and inspiration. THank you!

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