Some weeks, preparing my lesson is so easy. Other weeks, I feel like banging my head against the wall. I have read the chapters for this week (3 Nephi 12-15) several times but can't seem to come up with anything to say. I kind of want to just read aloud and leave it at that. I mean, Christ is speaking to the Nephites in these chapters, so what more can I really add? Do I think I can explain the gospel better than Jesus himself can? So what do I say? I am also considering singing hymns for the entire 40 minutes, but I am pretty sure most of the class would not enjoy that (except, perhaps, if I was performing solo, in which case, I would not enjoy it). I have to give some sort of lesson, and it's not coming together, so we're trying something new: I'm going to blog it. That's right, I'm using this post to brainstorm my lesson, so here goes. My apologies to my readers who aren't LDS.
3 Nephi 12:13 reads, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, I give unto you to be the salt of the earth; but if the salt shall lose its savor wherewith shall the earth be salted? The salt shall be thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men." In my 24 years as I Mormon, I'm sure I've been asked at least a dozen times what it means to be "the salt of the earth." Yet, I can't actually remember the answer to that question--maybe I never actually answered it. As I was reading the verse today, something clicked. Salt is a preservative. To be the salt of the earth means to preserve the earth or to save it. In the Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the righteous people can literally save the cities simply through their existence. Abraham and God have a whole discussion that results in God saying that if He can find 10 righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah, he will spare the cities. God destroys the cities after sending Lot and his family away. When Lot's wife looks back to the city, she becomes a pillar of salt. Lot's family was the salt that was preserving the cities. Lot's wife seems to have "lost her savor." So how are we saving the earth? How am I saving the earth? Are we? Am I?
3 Nephi 13:25 reads, "take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than rainment?" (The next several verses continue in the same vein, and we will probably read them all in class.) Here, Jesus is speaking to the twelve apostles. Their work is so important that the Lord really will provide food, clothing, money, or whatever they need, and they do not need to concern themselves with it. Most of the rest of us, however, still have to earn a living so that we can eat, but the point is that if we focus on the work the Lord has for us, he will take care of our needs.
As I have mentioned before, I have anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder. I am pretty stubborn about taking my medications, by which I mean I only take them when I am in the depths of despair and feel like curling up into a ball and camoflouging myself among knotted piles of blankets. I don't like to think that I need a drug to fix me. Several weeks ago, I was talking to a friend about the stigmas surrounding medication for mental disorders. She said to me, "You know, I just figure it's better for everyone if I take my medication. Without it, I'm just not a functional member of society." I thought about that for a long time. It kept me up at night. When I am functioning, I am highly functioning. God gave me gifts that allow me to make amazing contributions to my society, but I am only able to use them when I get over my pride and all my other little hang ups, when I stop concerning myself with my "rainment," so to speak. If I'm curled up in a ball, sulking about not wanting to take my medications, then I'm not fulfilling the Lord's purpose for me. I know what I need to do, so I just need to get over myself and do it!
Ask yourself, "Where are my hang ups? What is keeping me from doing the work God has for me?" Then get over it.
So there are some of my muddled thoughts. What else, what else? I am still seriously considering singing hymns for the entire class, even if I have to do it solo.
Current song: "More Holiness Give Me" (totally singing this for the opening hymn tomorrow)