Monday, October 15, 2018

Guest Post by Greg Peterson: "Remember Who You Are"

Hi, Everyone! Today, I have a special treat to share—a guest post by my wonderful husband! Greg wrote his very first bishopric message for our ward's newsletter that was published and delivered to our neighborhood just yesterday! Yay Greg! I love Greg's message so much that I feel it must be shared with the world!

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, Greg was called, sustained, and set apart as the second counselor in our ward's bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Sunday, August 5th, 2018. If you'd like to know more about how the Church is led, read this informative outline, "Lay Leadership: Volunteer Ministry of the Church," found on the Church's Newsroom.

In the spirit of full disclosure, yes, I edited small grammar issues in Greg's composition, but the message is 100% absolutely his. Oh, how I love reading my husband's words!! Remember? Greg and I wrote letters to each other for two+ years while he served in the Japan Fukuoka Mission for the Church! If you'd like to know a little bit about that time in our lives, read my blog post, "Choosing Power."

*Disclaimer: My husband and I are not official representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We simply love being members of the Church and greatly enjoy serving our fellow brothers and sisters. πŸ˜€

Without further ado, here are my Gregor's fabulous words!

Twenty-four years ago on June 30th, 1994, I asked a lovely young lady named Adrie out on a first date. Our plan was to see a new Disney movie that had opened the previous week called The Lion King. Going to see that movie changed the direction of my life—for so many reasons. First, that lovely young lady now shares my last name! Second, there were life lessons within the film that helped me better understand the gospel then and continues to guide my life even today.

Some people say The Lion King is a blatant rip off of a Japanese comic book series from the 1950's called Kimba the White Lion, (ジャングル倧帝 Janguru Taitei, or Jungle Emperor) which tells the story of an orphaned lion who becomes king. What it may lack in originality it makes up for in great voice acting, beautiful animation, and a truly inspirational story line. There is a quote from that movie that I can’t help but share today because I think it is so powerful.

Simba has rejected what his legacy says he should be. His role in life—to be the next king—has been usurped by another (his murderous uncle), and instead of fighting for his rightful place, Simba adopts the philosophy of “hakuna matata,” or “no worries.” He now looks at the past this way: Sometimes bad things happen and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Simba is acutely aware of his inadequacy. He knows he is not living up to his potential and that his father, Mufasa, would not be proud of the way he is living his life.

What happens next is the turning point of the movie: a visit from a crazy old baboon who claims to be able to show Mufasa to Simba. Simba follows this baboon named Rafiki to a pool, and Rafiki points into the water. “Look down there,” says the baboon. Simba looks down and sees only his reflection. He tries to blame it on his father, shouting at the nighttime sky, “You promised you’d always be there for me. But you’re not!” Rafiki points into the water again, “No, look harder.” Again Simba looks, and now he sees not his own reflection, but a reflection of his father. “You see?” says Rafiki, “He lives in you.”

The wind howls, the sky darkens, and in the rumbling thunder, Simba sees his father in the clouds. Mufasa speaks in a low but powerful voice (imagine James Earl Jones), “Simba, you have forgotten me.” The young lion argues, “No! How could I?” But his father is firm, “You have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become… Remember who you are… Remember…”

As an eighteen-year-old on a first date, sitting in a cold, dark movie theater, the words brought tears to my eyes as I thought about their power.

How often do we forget who we are? As a child of God, we are the son or daughter of a king. But do we remember? Or do we choose to live our lives believing hakuna matata: no worries for the rest of our days, a problem-free philosophy?

But is it problem-free? We were created to live lives of responsibility and meaning. “No worries” doesn’t exist. Sure, we don’t need to worry about everything that happens in our lives, but choosing to “put your past behind you” and just moving on is no way to live. We all need to see where we’ve come from and learn from our experiences—so we can be what we are meant to be!

How often does Heavenly Father need to say to us, “You are more than what you have become?” Do we sacrifice our identity as children of God for lives of leisure and ease? Our telestial world (similar to Simba's pride land) can be a difficult place where we must battle against an enemy and stand for what is right. That takes work. It's much easier to stay in an easy place of pleasure—entertained and enjoyed—than to fight against an enemy who has robbed us of our identity.

Mufasa didn’t tell Simba he should have gotten another degree, live in a bigger house, or make more money. He simply said, “You are more than what you have become.” Becoming more is much different than having or doing more.

It’s easier to quantify doing than being.

We can quantify what we do: how many sales we made, how many miles we drove, how many chairs were built, or how many pages were written. It’s also easy to see things that need to be done—dishes need to be washed, beds need to be made, lawns need to be mowed. Being is harder to quantify and measure: a great mom; an inspiring spiritual leader; a compassionate friend; an understanding boss; a caring, loving neighbor.

Becoming more may require doing less.

Who are you? Who have you become? And is that the person you were created to be? Our loving Heavenly Father has big plans for each of us, and we can’t consider ourselves fully developed now because we are continually learning and growing every day. The fact is that we are all more than we have become, and we need to keep working on ourselves so we can become everything we are intended to be.

How we live our lives matters, and not just for ourselves, but for all the people around us whose lives we might also affect in ways we don’t even realize. We never know when we might matter to someone else—when someone else is watching us or learning from our example, or when we are meant to touch someone’s life. And it’s up to us to rise to the potential that God knows we are capable of achieving!

Brothers and Sisters, our loving Heavenly Father continually calls out to each of us and invites us to “Remember who you are.” It is my testimony that through our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can be washed clean of our sins and return to live with Him someday.

P.S. When I copied/pasted Greg's bishopric message to my blog, I was shocked to realize that I missed a few typos! 😬 Hopefully, I fixed the rest of them now, but it was a good reminder for me to get more sleep! Yes, I was very sleep deprived when I edited Greg's message. πŸ˜ͺ Oops! πŸ˜„

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