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Friday, December 3, 2010

Cold Weather: A time to find Joy!

*Chattering Teeth*
So the weather got unexpectedly cold pretty fast, and I was out walking the streets of Petaluma, when I asked myself, "What does cold weather have to do with the gospel?"

We all get spiritually distant sometimes. We fade into the habit of our lives, going to and fro, not living, just existing. I think that happens to each of us, at one point or another in our lives. During this time, we aren't changing, we aren't repenting, and we aren't growing. So we are, in effect, not living. (Since our life is to grow, and prepare to meet God.)  We also go through challenges, physical, economical, mental, emotional, you name it, where we get frustrated with what is going on, and we suck ourselves into our 'bunkers', and wait for the 'shooting' to stop. During that time we may even take steps backwards, relying on what we knew in the past, to "get through" another day.
Both of these times I will compare to the cold, that I have been experiencing the last couple of days.
So how do we fight the cold?
In the first example, we would just do the bare minimum. Stepping out in the cold, when we have no other option, and then hurrying to get back in. In the second, stay indoors until it warms up. Both of these sound like good options, but, as you were expecting, I am going to give you the best one...It's what your Mother tells you, (or used to tell you) before you'd go outside to play. Bundle up. Take a child when he is wrapped warmly, in gloves, a scarf, a nice coat, with plenty of sweaters underneath, not to mention the snow-pants, boots and a warm hat; that child can stay out there a lot longer than the mother wants, making snow forts, snow men, and snow wars against the neighbors.
Sometimes we simply see the temperature. We become cold-blooded, and we are sluggish, slow to move to do, we end up really limiting the joy that we can have, and the experiences we can find, by living in the moments that seem unsurvivable. Our spiritual warmth comes from what's called the "Comforter" also known as the "Holy Ghost".  "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27 Heavenly Father sends the Holy Ghost to comfort/warm us when we are down, and to testify of truth.
We can have the Holy Ghost in our lives as we obey God's commandments. One especially being reading our scriptures. I have had many people tell me how they have received strength, and peace from the pages that contain the words of God. I myself know, that is how I bundle up in the morning. I could not do what I do each day, if I did not have the strength/warmth of the spirit.
We need to wrap ourselves tightly in what our Heavenly Father wants us to do, and when we do that, we will be so blessed.
I am grateful for the freeing effect of the commandments. The coat may be bulky, and limit movement sometimes, but it makes it bearable as we face the frigid temptations/trials of our lives.



Claire said...

Elder Hancock, this is wonderful!
This is just to say that I follow your blog closely. People read. People are learning. From you!

Thanks for your strong spirit and testimony. I can feel it all the way back in Provo.

Nice work, Elder :)

courtneytew said...

You have a wonderful way with words. So question...what if you aren't sure if you are in the cold or not? Or if you don't know wether you are supposed to be doing something differently?

Elder Nathan Hancock said...

That's a good question, I would say that you can look at your spiritual Thermometer. In Galatians 5:22 "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." I think that if we are lacking in these, then we need to keep seeking the Comforter.
Personally, I have been working on temperance a lot lately. I have had to correct behavior of other missionaries, and sometimes I react too negatively. I am trying to grow that aspect in my life. So I am focussing in my studies about temperance.
The spirit is what changes us, and helps us to continue to improve.
If that didn't answer your question very well, sorry, message me, and I will try to clarify.