This week I've had the opportunity to attend multiple sessions of our Stake Conference and while I've been greatly fed with inspired thoughts and messages, there is one thought that has implanted itself in the forefront of my mind:
What are YOU willing to do to invite the Spirit into your home?
Not, "what are you doing to encourage or teach or compel others to invite the Spirit?" Not even, "what are you currently doing?" If you're home isn't as Christ-centered as it could be, if a spirit of contention keeps rearing it's ugly face, if happiness doesn't fill your walls, WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO DO TO CHANGE IT?
Imagine for a moment a place full of tranquility, peace, kindness and love.
If you're home is anything like ours, tranquility can seem an almost impossible destination. With two teenagers, a tween-ager, and a energetic ten year old, a moment of peace can often be hard to find. We juggle busy schedules, stacks of homework, household chores, and family time among other things. I trip over backpacks, pick up discarded candy wrappers, and search frequently for misplaced shoes. On top of it all, we seem to be under the constant influence of the TV, computer, or iPods. And, as much as I'd like to believe that other's are living in the blissful state of Utopia, I can't help but wonder if we are more normal than not.
More than once I've been accused of setting the bar high for myself and my household, but I think it's safe to say that most of us desire a happy, clean, chaos free environment to one degree or another. Peace cannot coexist with contention. It is impossible for light and dark to fill the same space. In short, Satan cannot bare his influence where the Spirit of the Lord dwells.
"One of our greatest goals as parents should be to enjoy the power and influence of the Holy Ghost in our homes." (Joseph B. Wirthlin)
I invite you to ponder, as I have, the degree to which you have the Spirit in your life. Are you happy? Are you doing anything in your life or in your home that might offend the Spirit? Are you spending your time in pursuit of pleasure at the cost of more important things? Do the programs you watch and the music you listen to overpower the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost? Are you kind? Forgiving? Patient?
Each of us holds the power to change. As parents I think we sometimes forget that it is not our right to change our children. We can't force change upon anyone. Even the best laid intentions to force someone to do something beyond their will is in fact contrary to the agency our Heavenly Father desired for us. The only person we can change is ourself! We can look for "teaching moments" and carefully try to influence our children towards good decisions, but ultimately they need to be allowed to exercise their independence. Thus, I can encourage my children to solve their conflicts constructively and with kindness, but I also need to recognize the possibility that I could (unintentionally) be part of the problem. The influence of one can have immeasurable impact on many.
Which brings me back to my original question, but this time I pose it in a more personal prose:
What am I willing to do to invite the Spirit into my home?
What am I willing to change? What am I willing to sacrifice? What am I willing to let slide, to forgive, to repent of, or to do differently in order to be personally worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.
It really is a question of choice... we can choose to direct our path towards true happiness or we can choose to continue down the dead-end road to despair. Either way, the choice is ours. Choose wisely, however, for we will reap what we sow.