Wednesday, September 14, 2011

John Andreas Widtsoe

I have two institute classes. I love them both. One of them has been talking about goal-setting this week. It's the EXACT lesson that I've been needing. I've kind of felt like I've been in a progressional rut. And for a while now I've known that I needed to take some time to reflect and set goals. So today I started reading ahead in the manual and found a really cool story about a man named John Andreas Widtsoe. He wrote the following lines on some lined paper:
"I realize that happiness in old age consists of reviewing a life devoid from great sins; and gratification of noble desires manfully carried out..."

He wrote out 17 resolutions. He ended up attending Harvard University and served in the quorum of the twelve apostles. I read over his 17 resolutions in complete awe of this mans pure desires, awareness of the value of time, and resolution to accomplish and do good starting with the details. I won't write all of them out for you but here are some of my favorites of his resolutions:

1st. That religion, the science of sciences, be made my chief concernment throughout life.
2nd. That I will daily pray to God in secret.
3rd. That I will daily reflect upon God and his attributes and try to become like Him.
4th. That I will receive Light, Wisdom, or Knowledge, wherever or however it may be offered.
6th. That I never lose one moment of time but improve it.
7th. That I maintain strict temperance in eating and drinking.
8th. That I never do anything that I would not do were it the last hour of my life.
10th. That in any narrations I speak nothing but the pure and simple verity.
14th. That I seek to overcome the habit of being quick tempered, loud speaking, impatient motions or whatever might offend my fellowmen and hurt me.
16th. That I complete every task which I begin; also that I carefully consider my purpose and its results before taking upon me any duty.
17th. That I always remember that the men and women I meet are my brothers and sisters and that I look to the beam in my own eye before attempting to remove the mote in my fellow's eye.

Wow. I really left my apartment so I could think and ponder on who I want to be. It really was so satisfying and just made my whole day better when I took some honest time to evaluate what I'm doing, things I want to change, and the things I want to do. Is this quote by Marianne Williamson overused? Because I still love it every time:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Isn't that lovely? I just really believe that we all have potential to make a difference in the world and in one anothers lives. But today was a great awakening for me to realize that if I'm going to do great things, I need to start acting like it. I need to use my time wisely. I need to make plans, set goals, have resolutions. Doesn't that sound more decisive than "goal"? I love that his resolutions weren't even anything worldly. These resolutions undoubtedly contributed to his character--which should be what we're ultimately trying to refine right? It just made me refocus the kinds of goals that I've been setting and the vision of who I want to be and how I want to get there. Wow, sorry I've been so seriously lately in my postings. I will have to post something fun next time. Til then, Mal

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