For 12 months or more I have been a distracted disciple. A year ago we sold our home in hopes of finding the “perfect” place (within budget constraints) to raise our family in California. I now know that this search for perfection has distracted my mind and heart away from God. Since moving three times in one year, we found three things out about ourselves:
1. A bigger house didn’t make us any happier.
2. A spiffy neighborhood didn’t make us happier.
3. Our children attending a higher rated school didn’t make us any happier.
What previously made us happy was the people we served, the interconnectedness and interdependence of our previous neighborhood and lives. We have met and loved new people while living in our rental homes, but because we saw ourselves as transient, we didn’t throw ourselves into serving our neighbors and ward members. What a mistake! We sought to find ourselves a new life, but our self interest left us spiritually adrift.
About six months ago I realized I was off track and committed myself to follow a self-made discipleship chart. My chart included regular family prayer, family scripture study, service, temple work and visiting teaching with the assumption of keeping the commandments. I did okay, and admittedly was doing better than the months prior to starting my chart, but at the end of a few weeks of dutifully following my chart I was left feeling overwhelmed and undernourished. I learned that goals are good, and should be made to make me a more effective servant of the Lord, but true discipleship wasn’t in check-marks and to-do lists.
Months passed, and I continued to think about discipleship. Some clarity came to me while listening to our Primary sing “Love One Another” during sacrament meeting last Sunday. This song led me to ponder on some of my favorite teachings of Jesus Christ.
35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall again the whole world (or a perfect house), and lose his own soul?
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye alove one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
In these scriptures I found a key to becoming a better disciple: love. I also found my perfect place to live: with God. What I missed most about my old life was how connected I felt to the Lord. I felt Him guiding me to serve my neighbors and friends. Realizing that loving God and serving others is what brings me happiness, has reduced the pressure to find the “perfect” place to live. Opportunities for love and service can be found everywhere. I don’t need to be a distracted disciple any longer. I can recommit. I can reconnect. I can repent. I can learn to love God “with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind” again.
To read more on discipleship please read the following articles.
The Path of Discipleship – By Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Discipleship by James E. Faust
Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship by Robert E. Hales
For more We Believe posts, click here.