Thursday, April 28, 2011

Saturday's Gone?

One of my favorite musicians, Jack Johnson, wrote a song called Taylor which not only is a catchy song, but it has great lyrics as well.  There is one line that sticks out to me every time I listen to it though.  It says, "He thinks that singing on Sunday's gonna save his soul, now that Saturday's gone."  This line gets me thinking about what religion is, and how big of a role should it play in our lives.

Let's start with the first question, what is religion?  My first thoughts would be something you believe.  As I pondered more and more about it, I realized that it's much more than just a belief.  Religion is something you live.  It's a way of life. 

Now for the second question, how big of a role should religion play in our lives?  My first thoughts are we have church on Sunday and occasionally a youth group activity in the middle of the week.  Those are the things that involve going to church, but do we have to physically go to the church for it to have an impact in our lives?  Absolutely not.  We have to take the things we learn there and apply them to our lives to help others and ourselves.

Matthew 7:21 reads, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."  We must live our religion in order to enter into the Kingdom of heaven, not just believe it.  We must follow in the footsteps of the only perfect man to walk the face of the earth, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He will never lead us astray.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Comfort Zone

The Comfort Zone, not to be confused with the Twilight Zone...okay, terrible joke.  Everyone wants to be comfortable.  Whether it be in comfortable clothes, around comfortable people, or on a comfortable couch, comfort is always on our mind.  I'm not going to lie, I like to be comfortable.  As I've been on my mission, I've had to step out of my comfort zone countless numbers of times.  It's made me appreciate those times. 

Think of life if it were always comfortable.  Would we live life to it's fullest?  Would we reach our maximum potential?  Would we even be happy?  I've thought about this a lot of times.  Why is life sometimes uncomfortable?  We have to be put in situations where we're not comfortable in order to learn and grow.  If everything was the same all the time, we couldn't advance in life.  We have to step out of our comfort zone to expand it. 

Think of a muscle.  The only way for the muscle to get stronger is to strain, test, and try it.  In other words, get it out of its comfort zone.  It may be tough at the time, but the strength recieved from it will benefit you for the rest of your life. 

Escaping our comfort zone gives us happiness in this life.  Think of a time when you were doing something that was very difficult.  It could be learning a new song on guitar, beating the next level in a video game, beating your personal best time in a race, or earning an A in a class at school.  Do you remember how happy you were once you reached the goal?  The more difficult the task, the more satisfying the reward.  One of my favorite quotes is, "I never said it would be easy, I only said it'd be worth it."

Nothing in life that's worth having comes easy.  To be able to enjoy life to its fullest, we have to step out of our comfort zone.  We're not alone when we do it though.  Our Savior Jesus Christ is always there with us and will always be there to help us, but it starts with us. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Race: Part 2

This poem is so applicable to everyone's life.  There is not one person who doesn't have challenges or struggles in their life.  The message of never giving up speaks to each of us directly. 

All of the kids in the race were so full of hope, just as we were when we got the chance to come to Earth.  During our life, or race, we're bound to slip and fall.  It is inevitable.  Luckily, the race of life isn't based on how quickly you get through it.  The example of the little boy who got up each time he fell should motivate all of us to never give up.  He didn't lose the race at all.  The only way we lose is if we give up. 

Its not the number of times we fall that will shape who we are.  Its the number of times we get up after we fall.  Those are the times when we grow and learn the most.  Our character is tested each time we stumble, and it is built each time we get up. 

Once we cross that finish line, our Heavenly Father will be waiting for us with open arms.  We will hear the roar of the crowd in our behalf and will be forever grateful that we got up each time we fell. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Race: Part 1

Here is a poem I'd like to share with you all.  My friend's mom used it in one of her talks.  It's called The Race by D. H. Groberg:

Whenever I start to hang my head in front of failure's face,
My downward fall is broken by the memory of a race.
A children's race, young boys, young men; how I remember well,
Excitement sure, but also fear, it wasn't hard to tell.

They all lined up so full of hope, each though to win that race,
Or tie for first, or if not that, at least take second place.
Their parents watched from off the side, each cheering for their son,
and each boy hoped to show his folks that he would be the one.

The whistle blew and off they flew, like chariots of fire,
To win, to be the hero there, was each young boy's desire.
One boy in particular, whose dad was in the crowd,
Was running in the lead and thought "My dad will be so proud."

But as he speeded down the field and crossed a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought he'd win, lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself, his arms flew everyplace,
And midst the laughter of the crowd he fell flat on his face.

As he fell, his hope fell too; he couldn't win it now.
Humiliated, he just wished to disappear somehow.
But as he fell his dad stood up and showed his anxious face,
which to the boy so clearly said, "Get up and win that race!"

He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that's all,
And ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
His mind went faster than his legs.  He slipped and fell again.

He wished that he had quit before with only one disgrace.
"I'm hopeless as a runner now, I shouldn't try to race."
But through the laughing crowd he searched and found his father's face
With a steady look that said again, "Get up and win that race!"

So he jumped up to try again, ten yards behind the last.
"If I'm to gain those yards," he thought, "I've got to run real fast!"
Exceeding everything he had, he regained eight, then ten...
But trying hard to catch the lead, he slipped and fell again.

Defeat!  He lay there silently.  A tear dropped from his eye.
"There's no sense running anymore!  Three strikes I'm out!  Why try?
I've lost, so what's the use?"  he thought.  "I'll live with my disgrace."
But then he thought about his dad, who soon he'd have to face.

"Get up," an echo sounded low, "you haven't lost at all,
For all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
Get up!" the echo urged him on, "Get up and take your place!
You were no meant for failure here!  Get up and win that race!"

So, up he rose to run once more, refusing to forfeit,
And he resolved that win or lose, at least he wouldn't quit.
So far behind the others now, the most he'd ever been,
Still he gave it all he had and ran like he could win.

Three times he'd fallen stumbling, three times he rose again.
Too far behind to hope to win, he still ran to the end.
They cheered another boy who crossed the line and won first place,
Head high and proud and happy -- no falling, no disgrace.

But, when the fallen youngster crossed the line, in last place,
The crowd gave him a greater cheer for finishing the race.
And even though he came in last with head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he'd won the race, to listen to the crowd.

And to his dad he sadly said, "I didn't do so well."
"To me, you won," his father said.  "You rose each time you fell."
And now when things seem dark and bleak and difficult to face,
The memory of that little boy helps me in my own race.

For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all.
And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
And when depression and despair shout loudly in my face,
Another voice within me says, "Get up and win that race!"

This poem totally rocks!  Please comment and I'll make a "The Race: Part 2" post with my thoughts.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grease is Cheap

My mom loves Dove chocolates.  When I was younger, I always liked to read the little sayings on the inside of the wrappers.  As I grew older, I realized that most of them were just cheesy lines to entertain you.  Once  we had read them we'd just throw them away, but there was one in particular that my mom has kept throughout the years.  It reads, "There is greatness in smallness."  This spoke to her when she read it, and looking back, it's rather profound.

I was once told a story about a father and son who just bought a new machine to help them work.  The machine cost them a fortune and needed to be kept in good condition for it to work properly.  Most importantly, a few parts had to be greased up at the start of each day or else the whole machine would have to be replaced.  Every morning, the father would remind the son to get some grease and lather up the parts of the machine that needed it.  He would always say, "Grease is cheap."

The lesson in these two examples go hand in hand.  We can see how something as cheap and simple as grease can maintain a well oiled machine.  We are the well oiled machine that needs the small amount of grease everyday for us to work up to our full potential.  If we don't have our daily dose of prayer and scripture study then we will deteriorate as people and won't work as well as we could.  Alma, a Book of Mormon Prophet, explains it well while giving advice to his son Helaman, "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass..." (Alma 37:6).  A few minutes each day is all that the Lord asks us to give, and the blessings are infinite from it.  May we always remember that "grease is cheap" and that "there is greatness in smallness."