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Overwhelming tasks

posted Jan 8, 2014, 9:19 AM by Christine Merrill
XI'm sitting in the corner of Ellis and Lillian's room right now reading scriptures and (now) writing.  I don't usually sit here to work, but Ellis and Lillian are supposed to be cleaning their room, and they need some...encouragement.

They were supposed to clean their room yesterday.  Admittedly, it had gotten worse than usual, with the holiday and all, but we all seemed to wake up on the wrong side of bed, and cleaning up was a fiasco.  Ellis tried to clean up, but Lillian threw train tracks at her when she tried to move the tracks she was working on (of course, of all the clutter in the room, the train tracks HAD to be picked up first...)  Lillian spent all day in her room for that offense, since she was not willing to clean up the tracks herself, and preferred to sulk/sing to herself.  So, we are trying again today.  Fortunately, with the "polar vortex" gripping the US, we have an extra 2 hours to get to school.  Trust me, they'll use every last second of it.  I'm not sure why they prefer to spend all day on cleaning their room instead of getting it done so they can play, but that's psychology for ya.

Ironically, as I'm sitting here supervising people who can't get going, I'm reading in the Doctrine and Covenants about the Kirtland Temple.  If you're unfamiliar with the story, the Lord commanded the early members of His newly restored church to build a temple where they could be "taught from on high."  At this time, the people were gathering to the Kirtland area, and were rather low on the funds and spare time - really low, in fact.  The idea of building a really fancy building was a bit daunting.  So, they didn't.  They put it off.  And, not surprisingly, the Lord wasn't very thrilled with them (I can relate!)  He gave them a pretty stern rebuke in D&C 95.  I'm sure the Saints felt like there was no earthly way for them to accomplish the task given them, how it must have hurt to be rebuked like that!

So what do I learn from these two examples?  Well, I look at Lillian, sitting in the corner and moaning because the job is too hard.  And I think, "Lillian, look, if you will just DO SOMETHING this stupid job will get done!  You just have to pick something up, then go pick something else up, and keep going!  It will take you a longer time than you wish, but MUCH less time than it will take if you sit there and do NOTHING!!!"

Was the Lord saying something similar to the Saints in Kirtland?  "Guys, look, if you will just go and start, you'll be able to get this temple built eventually!  I'm sure it's not the easiest job in the world, but you don't have to get it done this week!  Just go and get started!"

What has the Lord asked us to do that seems like an overwhelming task to us?  Sharing the gospel with our friends and neighbors?  Temple and Family History work?  Visiting or Home Teaching?  Raising your children?  Enduring with an illness?  Can we apply the "Lillian Lesson" and remember that if we just start, we'll be closer to the end than we will be if we sit in the corner and worry about how hard the job is going to be?

I give this challenge to you, and I'm going to do it, too:  Whatever it is that's overwhelming to you, whatever commandment seems too hard, I'm going to stop finding excuses.  I'm going to stop worrying about HOW I'll ever manage to do it.  I'm just going to do it.  One little bit at a time.  I won't worry about the ending, just the beginning.  I'll trust that somehow, the Lord will make me able to finish, in some way that I can't yet quite imagine.  I'll trust that doing this task won't ruin my life, but make it fuller and more happy.  It will.