Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"Remember [Discover] who you are!"

As I listened to Angel Zimmerman's recent BYUMS Women in Business webinar, I was fascinated to hear her starting point for her remarks on time management.
"If you are going to master time, you need to know who you are."
This resonated in a place deep within me and reiterated principles that have been tapping at me for months. For example:

- I recently listened to a story about a young medical resident who was diagnosed with cancer. He'd spent hundreds of hours working with others to navigate facing the possibility of death, but now he was the patient receiving counsel from his doctor. In this difficult situation, he craved the (false) certainty from statistics about his chances of beating death (of having more time). His doctor refused to give him such numbers. Instead, the oncologist's focus was on inviting him to focus on what mattered most to him. Whatever time he had -- whether five weeks, five months, five years, or five decades -- she wanted him to get in tune with living his life with integrity to what he valued most. It left me pondering what I value most and how/if my life choices mirror those values.

- Eva Witesman, an associate professor in the Marriott School, gave a phenomenal BYU Devotional address on women and education. I loved the way she began her speech because it reminded me of a landmark talk Julie B. Beck gave years ago. Both Professor Witesman and Sister Beck reiterate the importance of seeking and receiving personal revelation. Sister Beck notes that "The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life." She reminds us that
A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important.... But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently.
Professor Witesman also quoted Virginia Pearce's striking warning. “[W]hen we feel that we must protect and defend ourselves . . . , our energy is used counter-productively and our learning and the learning of others is severely limited.” What better way to guard ourselves from this kind of insecurity-driven, time-sucking self-defense than to be grounded in God through personal revelation?

- On a lighter note, as I was scrolling through my dear cousin's Facebook wall, I ran across this quote: "Oh the places you'll go and the things you will see, if first you realize who you can be." ~Dr. Seuss

(The list could go on. ...A friend's raw, personal Martha-Mary story.... My husband's recent tender mercy experience after jettisoning his to-do list to do what who he really is led him to do.... )

I think so often, we think about who we are in terms of what we do. After all, "So what do you do?" is often the icebreaker question in any getting-to-know-you situation. But does that question really get to who we are? It's so easy to stay on the safe surface with each other and within our own lives.

I'm reminded of what President Monson once said:
We become so caught up in the busyness of our lives. Were we to step back, however, and take a good look at what we’re doing, we may find that we have immersed ourselves in the “thick of thin things.” In other words, too often we spend most of our time taking care of the things which do not really matter much at all in the grand scheme of things....
I don't pretend to have this figured out. (Even as I was writing this post, I got distracted by Facebook and news stories, an all-too-common occurrence for me.) I'm a work in progress! But I do notice that I've made progress over the years. I am better at making decisions based on what God has shown me about who He is and who I really am. I trust Him more to guide my life rather than clinging so tightly to my will and plans, too. I am less fearful, less worried about what others think. The more clear I am on God's plan (and His plan for me), the easier it is to prioritize on a daily basis, and to find a deeper sense of joy and purpose in this journey called life.

What helps you get clarity about who you really are and what you value? What helps you stay centered on what matters most even as you tackle the necessary to-dos of your life? How do you cut through the clutter to get personal revelation for your life -- not just about the to-dos but about who God wants you to become?

"Remember who you are." ~The Lion King

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