Okay, so I haven't read a book this inspirational since reading A Purpose Driven Life. This book, 21 Principles, can and should be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of spiritual belief. It was so powerful, it made so much sense, and resonated so well with me I just couldn't resist sharing with you!
Here are some of my favorite passages and what they mean to me.
Page 64. (Principle 13)
"So many of our sisters are disheartened, even discouraged, and disillusioned. Others are in serious trouble because of the choices they make. Satan has unleashed a seductive campaign to undermine the sanctity of womanhood, to deceive the daughters of God and divert them from their divine destiny. He would focus their interests solely on their physical attributes and rob them of their existing roles as wives and mothers."
This was one of my favorite quotes, because it speaks of women and their divine purpose. I couldn't agree more, that the world's views of a woman are distorted and disillusioned. We as women fall captive to this idea that we have to fit into the world's (or in a spiritual sense, Satan's) image of what a woman must be...to be accepted...to be beautiful....to be powerful. Sadly, much of this image is determined by the physical appearance of a woman. How vile. How disgusting. How derogatory. How tragic!!- the we are actually giving in and damaging our bodies in pursuit of this lie!! I have found so much peace in myself, and in my understanding of my divinity. I have known deep down, since I was a teenager, that my journey (God's path for me) was to be a wonderful mother. It was not to pursue a life of success as a business woman, it was not to seek out fame using my talents. Rather it was to humbly learn of my talents and find a humble career, but to focus all of my divine energy on motherhood. And that is enough! That is my success. That is my path, my joy, my accomplishment. It doesn't matter what my body looks like, or how much money I make, or how many people know my name. The adversary has tried to make me feel insignificant, unimportant, or failing, because I am not meeting his expectations. I feel happiness and power and an undeniable sense of truth because I am not succumbing to the pressures of the world. I am God's daughter, and I am following His path for me. That is glorious.
Page 53. (Principle 11)
"Adversity is a part of life. We will all have it because we need it for growth and for the forging of our righteous character. Although it may not be a welcome insight, the truth is that you grow more rapidly through challenge and trial than from a life of ease and serenity with no disturbing elements."
This is now my go to comeback when people throw out the line, "I don't believe in God because bad things happen to good people."
Of course they do! And not just to good people, but the best people!! Read that again...adversity is for the forging of our righteous character. Does that not make perfect sense to you? Can you not see how you have benefited from your trials? Do you not recognize the wisdom you have gained, and the knowledge over your peers that you posses, because of these hardships? I love my challenges. I would never take them back. When my family acts like my dark years were a big huge mistake, I kindly remind them that those years taught me more than I could've ever learned in a life of ease. God was forging my character. It may have taken me a long time to recognize it, but I see it now. And it puts into perspective how people who have not faced adversity can be so prideful, judgemental, and disrespectful. They have not yet been through the Refiner's fire....just wait.
Page 97. (Principle 20)
"Forced obedience yields no enduring fruit. Are you one who has tried to exercise faith and has felt no benefit? If so, you likely have not understood or followed the principles upon which faith is founded."
This, alone, would've changed my life. Because I am one who occasionally doubts God's presence, and often feels abandoned or ignored. Reading this chapter, and understanding that faith is a principle that takes practice and work, has opened my eyes.
Think about this.
If you wanted to learn to be a professional ice skater, and you took one professional lesson from a Olympian, how good at ice skating would you be? Would you have the balance and muscle necessary to be a professional ice skater??
If you wanted to learn a foreign language, and you took one class on French, how well would you be able to speak it?
If you needed spiritual guidance or help, and you've never prayed before in your life, or you only pray when desperate, how sensitive would you be to the prompting and response of your prayer?
Faith takes practice. It takes work. It is a muscle, an action, that requires work on our part. God has not abandoned us. He is waiting for us to follow His principles and show Him we are ready to receive His response. I know that is hard to absorb. Humans are selfish, impatient creatures and when we want an answer, we want it now! Unfortunately, that is not always how God works. He may choose to bless an individual in time of sickness, and perform miracles to the wounded, but more often our faith is exercised by our own good works and practice. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to remain close to the spirit of God, so that our muscles, our faith, is always strong, and we can always recognize His help, His response to prayer, and His plan for us.
Page 69. (Principle 14)
"A happy marriage results from making correct choices prayerfully together."
I could write a novel about this chapter but I think that says enough. Marriage is two equal partners. A man may hold the priesthood, and yes There is a hierarchy of priesthood in the church, but in the home a husband and wife are equal. They must work together to be happy.
The entire chapter of principle 12!!!!
Starting on page 59.
Oh man. I cannot begin to explain to you the power of the priesthood. It is something that has fortified my testimony in God. I have witnessed this inestimable, limitless, power, granted by Heavenly Father.
You don't have to believe me. And you can argue against me all day, that these blessings and prayers performed by ordained, worthy, priesthood holding men, are just "coincidences" , but I will argue all day that they are not. It would be blasphemous for me to deny the miracles I have seen because of this priesthood power. I have seen it save lives. On the spot. Multiple times. I have received blessings that were so personal, so private, by men who did not know a thing about me or my life. If you want to know details, I will tell you in person. I believe in the priesthood with all my heart.
These are just a few of the quotes that really inspired me. They have changed me. Again, I encourage you to read this book and please, do it with a willing heart. You will be touched. I promise.