Monday, May 5, 2014

Be Anxiously Engaged

Elder Hawkins: Being Inspired (apparently I have two different colored eyes too).

Inspiration is a funny thing. 

Throughout my mission, I've been trying to figure out how "inspiration" works. I still haven't quite figured it out, nor do I think I ever will to be honest! 

In missionary work, I find that I hear inspiration all the time. God inspired a prophet to call us here... Prayer will help you receive inspiration for your amis... Inspiration comes from a variety of sources, the best of which being the Holy Ghost... etc. In fact, the word "inspiration"/"inspire" appear almost 50 times in Preach My Gospel! To somebody who wasn't in my shoes, they might seem to think that we're inspired just about every waking moment of our mission.

And yet... I don't feel like I'm "inspired just about every waking moment of (my) mission." Well, maybe not in the way people think that inspiration comes! 

I've found that, in order for me to be inspired, I need to start doing something. Many times, I just need to go. For example, a lot of times when I write emails home, I have no idea what to write about (today being a good example!). Another example would be on what to study... many times I have no idea what to study for a day, yet I find that just doing it is usually the best way for me to study. Or, another good example would be during our daily and weekly planning... many times, I don't feel exceptionally inspired when setting goals or figuring out who to see for the next day. 

Before my mission, I often thought that we had to be inspired first before we started doing inspired things. What I mean to say is I thought we had to have those epiphany moments in order to be inspired. 

However, what I've found is that that's not really how inspiration works for me on a daily basis. Instead, like I said, I need to start doing something in order for me to get inspired. I think this can be compared to when people are scared to make a choice because they don't know if it is inspired of heaven or not. It reminds me of this scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 58:26-28, which says:

For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; 
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.

I discovered, or really first started to pay attention, to this scripture when I first hit the MTC and ever since then, it has really stuck with me. I've found that, in order to be inspired, one really has to be "anxiously engaged in a good cause" and then do things by our own free will. 

And that's the key! I've found that in order to do good things, it often comes to me on the fly when I'm anxiously engaged in a good cause. I'll give you a few examples:

  • For our pancake activity, Elder Lala and I were doing our weekly planning session one day. I really wanted to do something for the branch and an activity in order to get people to come and see the Church... we were throwing around ideas and then all of a sudden, I remembered how Dad and Steve did a pancake activity on their mission... BOOM. Idea created.
  • Once with Elder Legbanon, we were doing OVB... we basically had no idea what to do and neither of us had the courage to talk to anybody. So, what did we do? We just decided to pray in the middle of the street. Afterwards, we just started to walk. We didn't wait for somebody to come up to us nor did we wait for an idea to come to us. We just started walking. As we were walking, about five minutes later, both Elder Legbanon and I were inspired to talk to this one lady on the street. It went well, but long story short, we finally met her for the first time about a month later and she fed us some awesome food! One of the best mangez-vous ever (and with a brand new ami, first RV!)
  • I don't know if I told you guys this story (I think I did) but a long time ago, over a year ago, when I was still having trouble with French, Elder Imoukuede and I went on a split together. Both of us being English speakers, we didn't know how to speak French very well. And to make matters worse, we were in my area, meaning I had to make all the shots. I was scared out of my mind that day. In the morning, we had a RV that was probably one of the worst RV that I had ever had in my mission. It was extremely discouraging... I didn't even want to go out for the afternoon after that epic failure of a lesson. But... we did. And then we come to another ami and we talked about the Book of Mormon and it was spectacular... I was so happy that the lesson went well... I felt the words just flowing out of my mouth and I didn't have any trouble communicating with our ami.
You see? Anxiously engaged in a good cause! As long as you keep doing what is right, good things will follow! Inspiration from the Holy Ghost will happen... but the key is that you have to be ready to be inspired... and usually, that means getting down and getting to work. Don't be hesitating... don't be waiting... don't be lazy! Just do it! 

I'm really thankful to have had these experiences, as well as many others, throughout my mission that have taught me this lesson. Many times we fear if we are doing the right thing, if we are being guided by God and the Holy Ghost... yet the Lord promises that if we have just a bit of courage... just a bit of faith, then He will work miracles through us! 

I wish you all a wonderful week! Keep going strong... enjoy the warm weather! Keep praying for spiritual experiences for me. Nothing really exceptional happened to me this past week, but there's no reason to get discouraged!

Just gotta be anxiously engaged... 

Love you all!

Elder Hawkins

Pic sent by Sis. Eastmond: They had no idea I took it, but the business was handled very professionally.
It was a phone call from Elder Gray, haha.

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