So I'm safely in Ballston Spa, New York now and life is going great. I'm pretty much all unpacked and I'm getting used to my new routine. The people here are great, but I want to move on to one of my favorite subjects as of late: introspection.
The examination or observation of one's own mental and emotional processes.
There's the definition of introspection if you quickly type 'define introspection' into Google. I wish to propose a great scriptural definition of introspection that comes from the book of Haggai in the Old Testament. Now some of you may think to yourselves "is that actually a book in the Old Testiment?" Yes, yes it is. And it's pretty short and it's not an oft quoted book, but in the first chapter there is some amazing wisdom from the Lord given to Haggai in a very short phrase which reads:
Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. (Haggai 1:5)
Consider your ways. What an excellent piece of advice from a loving Heavenly Father. We are, just as Haggai, admonished to consider our actions and by connection to consider everything that makes the person we look at in the mirror. Why would the Lord want us to consider who we are and why we are ourselves? Simply because if one does not understand where one is in relation to God, one cannot possibly make lasting progress in becoming like God. We are commanded to "be ye therefore perfect" by the Savior (Matt 5:48). But if we don't adequately understand our own mortal state and the flaws that are inherent within each of us, how can we possibly become perfect.
Imagine for a moment this scenario. A college student near the end of the semester walks into one of his classes for an English final. He sits down and begins to write his essay. For over an hour he writes based on the generic prompt in front of him about the book he has spent weeks pouring over. From a stack of blank papers this student produces a long, well written, essay. He confidently turns in the paper to his professor and leaves the classroom, certain of his upcoming achievement. Days go by and the professor has finished grading the papers. The students gather to see their scores and congratulate one another on their success. But when our fine student sees his grade his is dismayed to find that he has scored far lower than he thought he should. Filled with a mixture of agitation and incredulity he meets with his professor shortly thereafter and inquires of the reason for his poor performance. The professor sits him down and explains that the reason for his poor score was that his essay had been written on the wrong book. The class had required a reading of one book that was supposed to be the basis for the essay, and he used another of his own choosing. The rubric and scoring was designed for the book specified by the teacher. And though the student wrote excellently, he has missed the mark. Though he had worked, he had failed to work hard on what truly mattered.
So our lives can be if we do not take time to ponder how our actions and works will be graded upon at the day of judgment. We can spend our lives doing work that ultimately misses the mark on what this life is meant for. Too often in our lives we can become consumed by the miniscule and become lost in the thick of thin things. If we do not take time to ponder where we are in relation to the eventual judgment that will take place, we can finish our lives feeling confident that we have done well, but are in for a rude awakening when we are brought before the judgment bar and measured to the only scale that matters in the eternities. My hope is that all of you will 'consider your ways' and see if they are the Lord's ways. Follow his footsteps instead of making your own trail.
I love you all, and hope that you have a great week!
Love, Elder Gailey