I’ve felt prompted to share this experience for a long time, but my fear of judgement has held me back. I’m sharing it here now to quench the nagging feelings I’ve had, and hope you can read it with an open mind!
I’d like to share my self-reliance experience and how it strengthened my relationship with the Savior.
At the beginning of this year I set a goal that I wanted to learn more about how I could involve the Savior in my life, but I wasn’t sure about how to do that. In February I was sitting in Sacrament meeting and really listening the prayers and the phrase, “That they do always remember Him” really jumped out at me and I realized that was an area that I could improve on!
On a good day, I’d wake up, read my scriptures and say a prayer, but then the minute I started my to-do list I’d forget the Savior. And unless something bad happened that day where I felt like I needed to pray for help, I wouldn’t think about Him at all. I felt like something was missing in my life, but I didn’t know how to fix it.
One of the things that may have been keeping me from “always remembering Him” was my small business. A few months earlier I started a decorating business, and while the work was exciting, it lacked focus, and to be honest, was completely unprofitable. I had even been praying for guidance of if I should even be continuing the business.
I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and they’ve just begun developing a new Self-Reliance Program. It’s a 12-week course that has 4-10 hours of weekly homework, and there are 4 different courses for people to choose: Starting and Growing my Business, Personal Finances, Find a Better Job, and Education for Better Work.
When I first heard about the Self Reliance Initiative, I secretly wanted to join, but feeling guilty about how much time my business was taking me away from my family, I just dismissed it and didn’t tell anyone that I wanted to attend.
A few weeks later a member of my bishopric contacted me. He said as they were praying about who they should ask to attend, my name kept coming up. I felt it was a tender mercy from the Lord, and the first of many times over the next 12 weeks that I would have confirmation that the Lord was aware of me.
Through promptings from the Holy Ghost, I signed up for the “Starting and Growing my Business” course, and one of the first things we learned was that that Spiritual and the temporal are one in the eyes of God. D&C 29:34 says, “Wherefore, verily I say unto you, that all things are Spiritual unto God.”
That really resonated with me. “All” is a pretty encompassing word! And I thought, if God cares about all things, both spiritual and temporal, big and small then surely he would care about my teeny-tiny business. And surely I could call upon him for help with my business!
I began learning about consecrating my business to the Lord, and what partnering with the Savior could mean for my business. As I began to ask God for help, I began to receive inspiration! In the 2nd week of the course I received inspiration that business needed to be incredibly simple, and I began focusing my efforts just on furniture refinishing. I prayed over everything. The big things like what my business name should be, and the small things like how to repair a broken dresser drawer.
I did all of the homework even when it was scary, or didn’t seem to apply to me, and that opened doors professionally for me that never would’ve happened had I not been keeping those commitments. And as I relied on the Lord, I received personal guidance and direction, I was able to avoid pitfalls, guided to specific clients, and my business began to grow!
Not only did my business begin to grow, my faith was also strengthened. I began to pray over everything in my personal life. Rather than waking up and asking for help to “have a good day”, I began to pray for help prioritizing my to-do list so that I could be more productive and find ways to help others. I prayed over things like how to best clean the grout out of my tile floor, and what meal to make for my family for dinner. I prayed for inspiration on helping my kids with a homework assignment, and even for help to clean up a paint spill.
And I began to receive answers!
Answers that I know wouldn’t have come had I not been asking, and listening!
Dallin H. Oaks said, “Self Reliance is not believing that you can do or obtain anything you set your mind to. Rather, it is believing that through the grace, or enabling power of Jesus Christ, and your own effort you can do or obtain all of the spiritual and temporal needs of this life that you require for yourselves and for your family. Self Reliance is evidence of your trust in God’s power to move mountains in your life and the strength to triumph over trials and afflictions.”
I know I’m still a long ways away from being able to “always remember Him”, but I do know that I need him every hour. And I also know that as I pray over everything in my life, that small and the big, I will receive guidance and will be just a little closer to being able to “always remember Him.”
I know that God lives, and that He loves us more than we understand. He wants us to be happy! He wants us to succeed! He wants to bless us!
I know that when we put our trust in him and rely on his will, have faith, work hard, and keep his commandments, we will be blessed and He will move mountains in our lives!