Quiet counsel on ordinary things

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. This week covers the Welfare Session of the April 1982 Conference.
We had our first Sunday of the new church schedule this week, and the word of the week seemed to be "exciting." Everyone was saying how exciting it was to be part of these changes, how exciting to be hastening the work, how exciting to live in a day like today. My eleven-year-old son got to be ordained to the office of Deacon, and get his temple recommend, 11 1/2 months earlier than he was anticipating. It IS exciting! I love the changes—well, most of them—and even with the ones that are challenging me, I like the idea of them because they mean that Heavenly Father thinks I am ready to be stretched a little. So I have no argument with "exciting."

But I was also thinking about how even a lot of the "exciting" changes have a kind of quiet predictability behind them, once you start trying to carry them out. Not that they aren't significant, or that we shouldn't embrace new ways of doing things—but underneath it all, there are still the same principles the prophets and apostles have been teaching us all our lives. Managing competing demands. Caring about others. Serving in small ways. Enduring hard things one step at a time.

President Boyd K Packer said:
Human nature hasn’t changed over the years. Even today some of us expect to be bidden to do some “great things” in order to receive the blessings of the Lord. When we receive ordinary counsel on ordinary things, there is disappointment, and, like Naaman, we turn away. 
For some reason, we expect to hear, particularly in welfare sessions, some ominous great predictions of calamities to come. Instead, we hear quiet counsel on ordinary things which, if followed, will protect us in times of great calamity.
I keep reminding myself of this. Of course on my journey to become better, I'm always anxious to see "big changes" in my own life, just like in the church! But that's not usually what I see. I see myself trying to follow "quiet counsel on ordinary things." I see myself making gradual changes and having even more gradual results. And I have to take the rest of it, the transformation and "excitingness" of it all—mostly on faith.

For example: I was talking to Sam about why it might be that it sometimes doesn't seem like God answers when we pray to be filled with "the pure love of Christ." Why on earth wouldn't he answer such a righteous desire (and one He has commanded us to pray for, on top of that!)? Sam said, "Maybe the answer to that prayer sometimes isn't being blessed with a feeling. Maybe it's just the ability to somehow keep going, in spite of not HAVING the 'feeling.'" That answer wasn't exciting. But it felt like it might be true.

I love "exciting" things. I love hearing about and talking about miracles. I know they still happen all the time. But what I have more experience with is "quiet counsel on ordinary things," and that's what I'm hanging onto right now, trying to trust that the miracles are unfolding

—in slow-motion.


  1. Another idea on being filled with the pure love of Christ. That which we received too easily we frequently treat too lightly... The Father answers prayers, But I think being filled with the pure love of Christ may be more like a trickle charge of a battery...little by little and so overall we don’t notice the difference in ourselves. I also think that frequently when we ask for help in becoming more...more loving, more patient, more faithful...the Lord helps us by giving us difficulties to overcome that help those things grow in us

    1. Oh, I really like that analogy! It is hopeful to think I really MIGHT be changing even though I don't FEEL like I am! :) And that's a good point about difficulties, too. Some of the very situations that make me feel so frustrated about how uncharitable I am...might be the things *teaching* me to be charitable!

  2. I love this! I loved his talk. It really is the little things that make the difference.


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