Paul didn’t exercise

July 20-26

If you prefer to listen over reading an article, keep an eye on A Balanced Saint of Mind on YouTube. I post video versions of my blog posts on my channel. The video versions are often posted a little later than the written blog posts.

Things have gotten a little stressful recently. There are a lot of roles that Conner and I are both trying to balance, and it often feels like they can’t all be done. You always get the advice, “Simplify. Pick your priorities. Let something go,” and I don’t know if this is my Type-A personality showing through, but I’ve reviewed the stuff on my plate, and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to let go of…I’m sure many of you relate during this COVID time. Lot’s of our plans have shifted since COVID happened, but at least I don’t have to homeschool my kids yet. That’s probably one of my biggest blessings. I’m sure there are a lot of people out there trying to balance homeschooling or digital learning with at least some uplifting time at home. Such is our lot.

I was lamenting to Heavenly Father about everything I felt like I needed to get done, including some things that He’s put on my list, and then I moved on to my study.

I studied a letter that Paul wrote to the Philippians today, and it dawned on me that Paul was literally in prison. He wasn’t exercising or eating healthy or practicing piano or homeschooling his kids. He didn’t have a whole lot of access to good study materials or have many options of new talents to develop. He couldn’t be there for his converts in the way he probably wanted to be. In all honesty, there was a good chance that he was obscure and though he might not have known it, he would be dead within two years of writing that letter to the Philippians. 

But sure. He seemed like a prime candidate to influence millions of Christians.

Luckily, God sees things very differently than we do.

Look at what God accomplished through Paul. Sometimes we think that all of the things we’re doing are requirements. I NEED my family to be healthy. I NEED to be developing talents and spending adequate time in this category or a different category, but what could Paul actually “do” from prison? Not a lot. He simply wrote letters.

Did he know the profound effect his letters would have on millions of people? Maybe. Maybe not. They were just letters.

I often compare myself to these people we read about in the scriptures (don’t do that). There have been times that I feel like there’s no way my life could really make a difference to anyone, not in the grand scheme of things. However, if God can accomplish what he did through Paul, who was stuck in prison and simply writing letters, maybe He can accomplish what He needs to with me. The difference isn’t really what kind of grand gesture I’m willing to make. God may only need something as simple as writing a letter. Smiling at someone. Hugging your family. Keeping a journal. 

Alma 37:6-7 

6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.

7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.

God gave us immensely personal and tailored responsibilities while we lived with Him in the pre-earth life, and we agreed to accomplish those responsibilities. Those responsibilities were both prepared to change us and those around us. We have the capacity to fulfill those responsibilities and many of those responsibilities will require great effort put forth in small and simple things. 

When I was younger, I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to influence people all over the world. I started to pursue this goal by dropping out of college when I got really sick and had to go home. It’s a long story, but I ended up living with one of my sisters. Even in the midst of being sick and stuck at home, I clung to my dream of being a rock star. My family had never been stoked about my dreams, and as I sat on the edge of my sister’s bed, I asked her what was so wrong about wanting to reach and influence lots of people in a positive way.

She told me the part that was wrong: I wasn’t doing it like the Savior would.

The Savior didn’t jump up on a soap box and call as loudly as He could. He served one by one. 

Now, there are plenty of people who know the name of President Nelson. Such is the experience of our modern life, but look at it from a different perspective. The words of President Nelson are often meaningless to those who were not taught the gospel by a parent, teacher, or missionary. It is the small acts that bring the greatest differences.

Imagine how different the world would look if each and every person had a parent who loved them and taught them to be kind and honest. We could have a perfect president or perfect world leader. We could have perfect laws, but none of it would warrant anything if we didn’t have small, individual experiences of love.

Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t pursue being a world-class musician. That was apparently not my calling. You can accomplish good in a variety of roles, but for those who feel small and insignificant…”be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.” It is probably much greater than you now know.

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