In last October’s LDS conference, Devin G. Durrant, first counselor in the Sunday School Presidency, introduced the idea of “ponderizing”! Since he’s the expert, I’ll let him do the explaining:
“So what does it mean to ponderize? I like to say it’s a combination of 80 percent extended pondering and 20 percent memorization.
There are two simple steps:
First, choose a verse of scripture each week and place it where you will see it every day.
Second, read or think of the verse several times each day and ponder the meaning of its words and key phrases throughout the week (read his talk here).”
What a great idea, right?! Since hearing about it, I have been trying to ponderize weekly. Now I’m not saying I have been perfect at it… I definitely have NOT, but the weeks that I do it, my thoughts are uplifted and I use my time better. At times when my thoughts normally wander randomly, I am able to ponder a scripture which allows me to be stay more focused on Christ.
Well… After reading a talk in the Ensign called “By Small and Simple Blogs” (haha) I was reminded of my often neglected blog and how I love writing in it. So… TA DA… I’ve decided to blog about my scriptures each week and the things I learn from each scripture. It should hopefully keep me more consistent at it too.
Here’s the thing though… I feel like a mega hypocrite even writing a blog because although I extra enjoy writing it, I don’t enjoy reading other people’s blogs… There I said it. I’m a jerk.
I do enjoy looking at pictures haha, but I’m not really into reading them and I’m also kind of evil because I don’t always enjoy reading people’s spiritual thoughts. I definitely love reading and listening to talks from the prophet and apostles, as well as the scriptures and the ensign, but besides that I’m not that into it. I know, how satanic?!
SOOOOO… if you’re like me, that’s okay!!!! Don’t read it or feel guilty for not wanting to read it. This is mostly selfish anyway because I enjoy writing my thoughts and because it keeps me on track. However, I’m going to pretend like someone out there is reading this and write it to whoever that someone may be…
Okay that had to be said, now on to Mosiah 3:19:
“For the natural man is an enemy to God and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be forever and ever unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon Him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
Okay I typed most of that by memory! Whoot whoot!
This verse is one of the Book of Mormon’s famous run on sentences. Like how can that whole verse be a sentence? That is a lot of wisdom in one sentence!
Growing up, I never thought much about the natural man, but lately it is fascinating me… Wait wait did I say fascinating? Cause what I should have said is FRUSTRATING!
As I’ve gotten older, the type of sins I’m trying to overcome have changed. I’m not repenting for lying to my parents (sorry mom), getting mad at my siblings, saying bad words, or whatever teenagers struggle with… But the things I’m trying to overcoming are “natural man” sins! They are the things we do wrong, that we don’t realize are wrong or even recognize we are doing until we come closer to Christ and He shows us what is missing.
For example… selfishness
As people, we are naturally selfish! We usually only see our perspective and what WE want. We want to win and be the best at everything even though it’s at the expense of others. We want to be comfortable and for everything to be just the way we like it and when it’s not, we get mad… Because after all, we deserve to get things our way.. right?!
I truly started to see my own selfishness when I got married and especially since having a baby. I know that one of the reasons God commands us to have families is because it helps us learn selflessness. We have to learn to be selfless to have a happy family situation. It’s hard though!
I have a terrible habit of “keeping score!” I tell my brain to cut it out, but it just keeps doing it- stupid natural man.
Joe will come home from school and do something completely innocent, like put his jacket where I don’t want it (yes I’m that petty), and all of a sudden my brain is like “oh okay I get it, I clean up after you all day and you can’t even put your coat away! What am I your maid?”… Tell me I’m not the only person who does this! But the problem is, I only see myself and my situation instead of the bigger picture. So then I miss the details, like the fact that he throws his coat of in a hurry to excitedly grab our baby and play with him!
So why do I do it?!… I’ll tell you why… Because of that dang natural man! “The natural man is an enemy to God.” So while God is completely selfless and self sacrificing, as evidenced by the atonement, we are selfish and self centered. It’s our nature.
BUT that doesn’t mean it’a unalterable. With the help of the Atonement we can put off the natural man and become like Christ!
Let me tell you from experience, or maybe from lack of because I have yet yo overcome most of my “natural manisms”… The Atonement is the ONLY way to do it!
These tendencies are firmly rooted and take true dedication and effort to change. We CANNOT do it on our own. But I think it was meant to be that way. God gave us weaknesses as a way to come closer to Him. We have to rely on Him to overcome them, and as we do, we develop a stronger relationship with Him.
The scripture also says we need to become as a child. Having a child myself, has helped me reflect upon that with greater purpose. My baby is completely dependent on me. If I don’t feed him, he doesn’t eat. If I don’t change him, he sits in a dirty diaper all day. Even if I don’t put him down for bed, he doesn’t sleep. He is dependent on me for everything… We need are just as dependent on God, but we deny it! We think we can find happiness on our OWN. We lack the humility to recognize how much we truly need Him and we like the faith to allow Him to change us. The difference between me and Heavenly Father is just as drastic as the difference between me and my baby. There is SO much that he needs to learn before he can take care of himself and similarly there is so much I need to learn before I can become like God.
Luckily, God is patient. He takes us where we are and let’s us work little by little. He knows we will mess up and He forgives us whenever we sincerely ask for it.
I am so grateful for God’s patience with me. I feel the weight of the “natural man” everyday and know I need to change, but still manage to fall into the same mistakes. However as I keep trying little by little to change my thoughts, acts, and desires, God helps me do it and with prolonged effort, it becomes LASTING change.
It does require effort and that effort can be frustrating and test our patience and dedication… but it also makes us happier. The more frustrated I get at my husband for leaving his coat where I don’t want it… the more unhappy I am! If I pick a fight with him about it, it makes him unhappy too, but mostly its just affecting me.
The Atonement makes it possible for me to over come that anger and notice the things I’m missing… to see my husband play with my baby instead of seeing the coat on the floor. Then I’m happier and my life is better and I’m coming closer to Christ.
It’s worth it. It is TOTALLY worth it.