Living Intentionally

Almost two years ago, I quit my day job to become a stay-at-home-mom. In many ways I have absolutely loved being home with my son. I’ve also struggled. A lot.

This (major) change in my life has proved to be a pretty serious identity crisis. I love my son. I love to see him grow and develop, learn new things, watch his little personality form. However I have felt sometimes like I have become  a non-entity that lacks purpose in life. Days and weeks seem a blur; they are all the same with no distinction.

As I’ve thought about why I feel this way, I’ve considered many options as contributing factors: have I let my own goals and aspirations fall by the wayside? am I getting enough time by myself? (as an introvert, this is a necessity!) am I growing personally in the ways that I feel most rewarded? have I embraced this new calling as a mother and made it my own? All of these questions are probably manifestations of underlying reasons why I feel this way, but I think today I found the ultimate problem. It is my own pride.

Today was the last day of a very long week caring for a sick child, a sick husband, and now a sick self. I have been exhausted and inwardly complaining that I have to care for everyone else while I’m sick, but no one stops to care for me while I’m sick. In fact, I still get to do all the work I always do when I’m healthy. I’ve been feeling angry and resentful. I asked my husband to take our son over to his parent’s house so that I could have some alone time, and as I was thinking about the state of my attitude, I felt a little nudge telling me to repent. Repent? of course I need to repent! Could you be a little more specific, please? Pride. Hmmm. Still kind of vague.

Well luckily there is a classic talk by President Ezra Taft Benson given in the April 1989 General Conference called “Beware of Pride.” I know I have a marked up written copy somewhere, but I decided to see if I could find a video online. I thought it would be nice to hear his voice as he delivered the speech. Tears came to my eyes as I clicked on the video and saw that it was President Gordon B. Hinckley who actually delivered the sermon. He read it as a delivered message from President Benson who was able to attend the conference, but was unable to deliver the message himself, I’m assuming because of his health.

 We need to back up here and talk a bit about why Gordon B. Hinckley reading this message could be so meaningful to me. President Hinckley was the first prophet that I felt like I actually knew–I actually started paying attention to General Conference when I was in college, which was when President Hinckley became the prophet. While on my mission, I made a goal that before I died, I would learn to be as positive as he was. I came to know this man as a humble and devoted servant of the Lord. I felt that he was the epitome of humility and Christlike love. I grew to love him as a prophet of the Lord and hope that if a normal guy like him could become so Christlike, then maybe there was a chance for me to do it too.  When President Hinckley died I was asked to give a Sacrament meeting talk about how his life and teachings had impacted my life. I bawled like a baby during most of the talk. I remember someone coming up to me afterward to say, “You got a little emotional during that talk, didn’t you?” I still resent that remark, which proves my point that I need to become more like my hero, Gordon B. Hinckley, and eradicate pride from my life.

For all of these reasons, hearing Gordon B. Hinckley deliver Ezra Taft Benson’s classic discourse on pride really touched my heart. I knew that I needed to start changing, let go of my desires to be praised by peers, let go of  my selfish tendencies, and simply celebrate the role that my Heavenly Father is asking me to fill right now. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on how I’m going to accomplish this, but for now let’s just say my goal is to Live Intentionally. Live every day with the intent to be Christlike. Live with goals in mind, and accomplish them. Live with the intent to put of the natural man, and accept Christ’s grace to help me become like Him. Too many days go by where I just react to circumstances instead of actively create opportunities–opportunities where I could serve, where I could love, where I could grow. This changes with my new mantra: Let go of pride. Live intentionally.