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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Late night (early morning?) goal-setting


Well, it may be a little late in the year to adopt a theme/slogan/resolution, but I'm going to do it anyways. Because I'm rebellious like that. My inspiration came a couple of weeks ago during a Relief Society lesson in Melissa's ward; the teacher referenced President Uchtdorf's talk "Lift Where You Stand". In it, President Uchtdorf relates a story about a group of brethren given the daunting task to move a grand piano from the chapel to another room in the church building. After many unsuccessful attempts and rearranging the lifters based on strength and size, one of the men spoke up and instructed, "Brethren, stand close together and lift where you stand.” The men did so, and moved the piano easily to its destination. The Relief Society teacher asked for input about what we thought it meant to 'lift where you stand' and a lot of good feedback was given about service in and out of the Church, and how much can be accomplished if we all reach out and find opportunities to help others around us.


That idea stayed with me and prompted a lot of thought. I've always been a big fan of the notion that everyone doing a little bit adds up to a lot getting done overall, a la 'Think globally, act locally' or Ghandi's instruction to 'Be the change you wish to see in the world.' So the charge to lift where I stand appealed to me - I'm not being asked to do more than I'm capable of, or hold up the entire world, just to lift right here where I am. I can do that - I can be kind and friendly and generous and leave people better than when I found them. Back in my baby-sitting teenage years, my mom would always encourage me to leave a family's house a little cleaner than it was when I got there - you know, finish putting away the dishes, or help the kids pick up their rooms a little. I saw the same idea in this - help someone's day/job/church calling/drive be a little easier/better/happier/less horrible because of an interaction with me.

I was feeling really good about this; I happen to be a pretty outgoing person anyways, so trying to be friendly with the store clerk or say 'hi' to someone on facebook didn't seem like that much of a stretch. Which is when I realized that if I felt that good about my goal before I even started working towards it, it probably wasn't going to promote much personal growth (darn it). So I decided to keep that goal but also dig a little deeper to challenge myself more.

So I thought more about where I spend most of my time 'standing' - my house. And since I'm pretty proud of how much I 'lift' Clyde and Will (both figuratively and literally), that left my sweet husband. I love love love Chuck, but I could certainly improve how much I show him that. For me, it's often easy to be kind/patient/understanding to strangers or acquaintances I only see for a few minutes, then go home and stop 'trying', essentially. So frequently I take Chuck for granted and fail to recognize and appreciate how hard he works for our family or the little things he does to make my life easier and happier. I'm sorry to admit that often I fall back on the knowledge that Chuck loves me unconditionally and deem him a safe person to take out my unrelated frustration or anger on. He puts up with it pretty well, but how great would it be if he didn't have to? What if I focused more on putting him first? What if let opportunities to be grumpy or offended (and the need to be 'right') go? What if I put more time and energy into building him up and voicing my love and gratitude instead of only speaking up to complain or add to his 'honey-do' list? What if I both forgave and asked for forgiveness more freely? What if I did more to help our home be a safe haven from outside worries and stresses and helped him feel more safe and protected here? What if in every interaction I sought to help him understand how much I truly love him? I think only good things would follow.

So that's my plan for 2010 to lift where I stand:

1. to consciously be aware of opportunities to lift others - family, friends, strangers, (maybe enemies?) and brighten their spirits


and


2. to resolutely stand next to Chuck and help him feel uplifted.


I think it's going to be a good year.

6 comments:

Leslie said...

You're in inspiration Jana and what a great picture!

Emily said...

Jana,

I think you are amazing. When ever I see you, I just smile. You are one of the sweetest girls I know and I don't think you'll have a problem with this goal- you are wonderful!

thewaddsquad said...

I have been feeling the same way about my hubs. Poor guys. I am going to copy you and do the same. They won't know what hit em! :) Thanks for your thoughts...and pure awesomeness.

mama izatt said...

I hadn't thought of that lesson for awhile...Lift where you stand...what a good motto. I think I might make that my slogan of the year too. You are an inspiration.

Helen Noel Robison Rich said...

Be the change you want to see in the world...love it too, but sometimes have a hard time following through with it! Great inspiring goals Jana. Btw, I love that pic of the two of you, you should frame it!

Cameron Family said...

Love that picture of you and chuck! Perfect!