Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wisdom Keys: Open a New Window

Do you ever feel like life is passing you by? Like you’re not where you wanted to be when you started? Have you made some bad choices along the way—ones that didn’t turn out like you expected them to or perhaps were intentional, but which you now regret?

It happens to the best of us. We think we know what’s best for ourselves at the time, but later realize either that the choices we made got us nowhere or that perhaps they weren’t such great choices after all.

Where does that leave us? Are we stuck now forever, hoping that if we just keep traveling down that same path, somehow the road we’re on will lead us to a better outcome?

The simple truth is, that’s not going to happen. Change will not happen unless you change!

How do we make that happen? In the words of Auntie Mame, “Open a new window. Open a new door. Travel a new highway that’s never been traveled before.”

This kind of change in direction is especially important if you’ve found yourself drawn into a lifestyle or situation that puts your spirit into jeopardy. All too often those who have pulled away from their church have done so because they’ve made a mistake, one they fear others will see as a mark against them. Then rather than repenting and correcting that mistake, their pride keeps them on the road of least resistance, the path that lets them sin and sin again, never having to face the hard part or seeking forgiveness.

Even though the individual might acknowledge they are no longer at all close to where they intended to be, the way back seems harsh and difficult—too difficult to face. They hold the errant belief that where they are is where they must stay because “God doesn’t want a sinner like me.”

But that is what God does want, with a little additional effort on our part. God does want a sinner. . . to repent, to change, and follow the new pathway He has set, the one that leads us all to a better place.

And the good thing, God never consults your past to determine your future. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what road you’ve gone down, where you were headed, He is ready to welcome you onto the right path.

As we read in Alma in the Book of Mormon, “Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you.”

Elder Neil A. Andersen says, “For most, repentance is more a journey than a one-time event. It is not easy. To change is difficult. It requires running into the wind, swimming upstream.”

The work may be hard, but it will be worth it in the end.

How sad it must be to reach the final days of your life and find yourself filled with regret. If only I’d spent more time with my kids. If only I’d accomplished more of the goals I had set for myself when I was young. If only I’d allowed myself to repent and come closer to God.

Now is the time. If you have something in your life that isn’t taking you closer to the place you want to be, then start the change.

In the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, “There is so great a need for repentance and forgiveness. When there has been wrongdoing and then there has come repentance, followed by forgiveness, then literally the offender who was lost is found, and he who was dead is made alive.”

“Simply travel a new highway. Dance to a new rhythm. Whistle a new song,” and soon you’ll find yourself headed exactly where you want to be, and this time the outcome will be great.

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