This past week ushers in the Year of the Horse--say hello to Ma Nian! :) I've seen more fireworks and had my ears deafened more times in these past few days than I ever had before in my entire life. The New Year started on January 31st, promptly atI was woken up by what sounded like a battle raging outside of our house. Thanks to the fact that we live in a two-story house, I was able to crawl out of bed and watch the fireworks show. It was AMAZING. Fireworks flaring into life from one end of the horizon to the other. As I stood there, watching the pyrotechnics display with child-like awe, I couldn't help but reflect on the wonder and majesty those fireworks embodied. They are man's attempts (powerful, it's true, but compared to God's works, rather vain) to replicate what must surely have been the glory and power of the Creation. Flashes of lights, bursts of man-made thunder--the awe they inspired within me brought to mind the joy and happiness that the Lord must feel when He creates something new--anything from a planet to a flower to a bird to the most precious of all His creations: us :)
Anywho, I had the chance to read from 2 Nephi 26 this past week. The tail-end of that chapter has so much power in it! The Lord commands none to leave Him; He invites ALL to come unto Him. He then gives us commandments that are the requirements we must follow to not only COME unto Him, but to STAY with Him and to BECOME like Him. That's what He wants us to do after all--He has prepared mansions for us. He doesn't want them to be like a hotel you visit for a brief vacation; He means for them to become the homes we dwell in for the eternities.
In order to become like Him, we have to make some changes. I've learned a lot about change this week, most especially from my bike. Believe it or not, sometimes bikes can be a PAIN in the rear end, in more ways than one. Take, for instance, the absolute pain it is when your gears start acting up and grinding almost every single time you pedal. Or the fact that they have problems switching properly. In short, it looks like in the upcoming weeks Elder Mitchell is going to have to be purchasing some new materials for his bike.
It was interesting, though, that all of these problems with my bike could have been avoided. I remember quite distinctly several times, as I biked back and forth throughout Miri, the thought coming to me: "You might want to try switching your gears." Clever little me replied: "I don't really want to. 1) Switching gears is a pain; B) If I stay in this one high gear all the time, I'll get bigger muscles and look kooler and will be able to pedal faster."
That whole little mental conversation occurred multiple times, and all those times the second voice was the one that won out. Now I'm paying the price for it (literally as well as figuratively).
Now, what can be learned from this: Sometimes God wants us to CHANGE. New thought? Nope. Prophets from Adam to Thomas S. Monson have been declaring this sober truth for millenia. Some people call it repentance, some people call it conversion, some call it being born again, some call it finding God in their lives. One way or another, God will have a humble people. One way or another, He will refine us. What does refining mean? Heating up gold hot enough and long enough for the dross and gunk inside to float up to the top and BURN OFF. I dunno about you, but that sounds like a very painful thing.
I should have switched gears more often. I shouldn't have remained in one single gear for most of my time, because it ended up wearing out and becoming useless. The Lord would have us still ride our spiritual bikes, but we also need to have different sets of gears that we can call upon. Spiritual reserves that draw from the same source, but that are modified to the circumstances at present. Sometimes we need a higher gear of spirituality to make it through the dark days ahead; sometimes we need a lower gear as we deal with friends and associates that don't see eye to eye. Sometimes, we need that specific type of 'gear' that helps us know when we are in the wrong and when we need to change and realign our lives to His will.
Either way, I encourage all of us to further study and learn about this whole thing known as REPENTANCE. CHANGE. CONVERSION. BECOMING LIKE HIM. That's what this life is all about after all, isn't it? :)
I hope that you all have a great day and week! Remember who you are and Who you stand for! :)
Till we chat again,
Mai Zhanglao :)