Thursday, June 2, 2011

How Do I Live My Faith?

At church, from my parents, and in the scriptures I have learned of commandments and principles that Jesus Christ has given us to help us be happy and successful in life. While I have learned that adversity and trials are a very important part of our growth and experience in this life, I have also learned that living the commandments and following the example set by Jesus Christ enables me to avoid unnecessary unhappiness and misery and enables me to be worthy of returning to live with my Father in Heaven and my family for eternity.

Of course following the example of Jesus Christ is not always, if ever, easy. We live in a world of shifting and changing values where men call good evil and evil good. The adversary, Satan, is very clever and disguises unhappiness in very exciting and appealing packaging. I know what I believe and I know what Jesus Christ expects of me, but I also know that I am not perfect and that I must be constantly vigilant and do those things that I know strengthen me against temptation. Experience has proven that when I consistently and sincerely pray, when I study my scriptures, and when I strive to keep the Sabbath day holy, I receive strength to live in the world but not of the world.

Jump rope has provided me with incredible opportunities to see the world, meet amazing people, give back, develop myself, and be an example of the believers and share the gospel with close friends and associates. However, traveling for competitions, performances, and other opportunities brings with it inconsistent schedules, late nights, early mornings, full days, little or no control over my own schedule, and little or no regard for the Sabbath day. Finding time to pray and spend time in the scriptures is often a challenge and striving to keep the Sabbath day holy at times seems almost impossible.

But as I struggle to figure out how to live my faith in the midst of these challenges and make my fair share of mistakes along the way, I find that the Lord is patient and forgiving. He blesses me with the opportunities and creativity to enable me to hold true to that which I believe and that which I know brings true happiness. For instance, when I am gone on a weekend, I try to find the closest meetinghouse and so that I can attend church. That alone has provided great experiences. And at times I must also make sacrifices. I stay up later or sometimes skip the little relaxed bonding-time with my teammates in the evening in order to have time to study my scriptures. I forego some really fun and exciting opportunities to teach or perform and pass up some paychecks and job opportunities so that I do not have to jump on Sunday and can keep the Sabbath day holy. Some years ago I left the jump rope world and all the inherent opportunities for two years to serve a full-time mission in Ukraine with no promise of opportunity when I returned. But whatever sacrifices I think I have made, the Lord has blessed me immensely for them in such ways that I cannot even describe.

How do I live my faith? I live my faith by striving to develop my talents with which God has blessed me and to use them for good and to spread the gospel. I live my faith by striving to use those blessings to be an example of the believers. I live my faith by striving to love and serve those I am around as the Savior does. And I live my faith by striving to make time to pray, make time to study my scriptures, and attend church on Sunday and otherwise keep the Sabbath day holy. While of course I do none of these things perfect but the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about trying, changing, and trying again.