I might blog a little bit about my scripture reading this week. Here, I'm going to quote one of my favorite talks called The Fourth Missionary by Lawrence Corbridge. (It's gated, but I have a copy so if you want one, comment, or email.) This is a really nice talk for missionaries about completely dedicating yourself to the work, but I'm just going to quote the part that's applicable to all of us.
Your life's greatest work is you
You can choose what kind of person you will become. Do you think about that? Do you think about and plan for who you want to become?
As you entered the mission field you concluded one phase of life and began another. To this point many of you have had the protection and close support of family and church leaders and teachers. Now you have moved into a new phase of life on your own. You are essentially on your own. From this point on, you are wholly responsible for what you do and most importantly for who you become.
For the most part, your life is yet ahead of you. What will you do with it?
What will be your greatest work? What will be your most important creation?
I will tell you. Your greatest work: your most important creation is and will ever be you. What kind of person will you become?
By this I do not mean what role in life will you take. I don't mean will you be a cowboy, lawyer, surfer, homemaker, engineer, computer programmer, accountant or the like. I do not refer to what kind of car you will drive; what kind of clothes you will wear; what kind of house you will live in; what kind of spouse you will marry or what kind of family will you raise.
I mean, when all of that is removed and there you stand alone, who will you be? I mean, you.
What personality will you have; what strengths; what knowledge; what character; what emotional state; what presence; what qualities; what virtues? What will you look like? What will you sound like? What will it be like to be around you? Who will you be?
Envision and plan for your greatest work.
We plan many things in life. We each live in a house that was built from a plan. Someone first envisioned the house in his mind and a plan was then put to paper.
One of my sons had a poster picture of a Porsche Carrera on his bedroom wall. It is a beautiful creation. The lines and symmetry of its design make it a work of art in the opinion of some. That car began somewhere, sometime ago in someone's head. First, someone saw it in his mind and then put it to paper. Someone envisioned it; then plans were prepared, the work was done, and a beautiful car was created.
Some of you have carefully planned your education. You carefully planned your course selections over these past several years with a view toward college admissions and intended occupations.
All of you at some point made a plan to serve a mission, you followed that plan and here you are. Now, hopefully all of you plan the appointments, activities and goals of each day and week.
We plan many things in life. But, have you planned your greatest work? Have you envisioned who you will become? Do you plan for what kind of person you want to become? Can you see in your mind who you want to be? Do you know?
As you consider what kind of person you want to become, what choices do you have? The choices are more limited than what you might think. Here are most of the choices, but overall they are a choice between the qualities of light or the qualities of darkness:
Do you want to be powerful or weak?
Certain and confident, or afraid and insecure?
Comfortable with your self or arrogant and abrasive?
Do you want to be filled with light or darkness?
Do you want to have peace or conflict within?
Generous or selfish?
Influential or inconsequential?
Do you want to be free or be a slave?
Happy or miserable?
Do you want to be kind and loving, or mean and cruel?
Honest or dishonest?
Do you want to be forgiving or hard and unforgiving?
Knowledgeable or ignorant?
Do you want to be a person of faith or doubt and fear?
Trustworthy or unreliable?
Hardworking or lazy?
Do you want to be cheerful or despondent?
The first of each of these choices is an attribute of light. They are incorporated into your character as you choose to follow Christ.
Dynamic process; always changing
As you consider the question of what kind of person you will become, you must understand the dynamic process of life. You not only can change but you do change all of the time.
Sometimes people do not believe this. They excuse their failures and weaknesses by saying: "That's just the way I am." "I am just short tempered, impatient person." I can't get up in the morning. That's just the way I am." "That's my nature." Or, "I'm just shy. That's all. That's just who I am." "I am not really a spiritual person."
To believe that weaknesses and deficiencies in your character are unchangeable is to reject the central truth of the plan of salvation. You are not cast in stone. You not only can change but you do change all of the time. You are a dynamic, changing, evolving being. You are always changing. You never stay the same. You cannot stand still.
Amen, Elder Corbridge, amen.