I taught a lesson the other day in Gospel Principles class at Church on Charity. The more I studied the lesson, the more I realized how much I need to learn, and how very much I need to improve.
The promises associated with having charity are beautiful, and I want to lay claim to them. I also want to do all I can to become a better person- the best I can be. But, Charity is a nebulous topic, a virtue so vast and wide that it is impossible to master, let alone understand, in one day. Or maybe even a lifetime.
Anything worth having takes work. and I want to work on obtaining charity- becoming a charitable person.
One of my favorite mantras is "Learn, Do, Be." If you want to become something, Learn about it. Then Do what you've learned. Only then can you become it. So, I am setting out or Learn and Do, with the hope that someday I will Become.
It's a project I hope that will help soften and heal my heart, that will help me become more patient, kind, loving. It's a project that I hope will make me happier.
It's The Charity Project.
First, I decided to Look up Charity on LDS.org. It's a great resource when looking up topics in the scriptures.
There are 53 scriptures with the word charity in it. This is what I got:
What Charity is: kind, love, patient, the inability to let others around us suffer, a bond of perfectness and peace, everlasting love, perfect love, pure love of Christ, rejoices in truth, beareth all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
What Charity isn't: envious, arrogant, selfish, easily provoked, evil-thinking, mean, does not esteem himself above others.
What Charity does: Covers a multitude of sins. Allows us to inherit mansions above. With faith and hope, it causes us to abound in good works. Charity edifies us. Brings us closer to the Savior. Qualifies us for the work of the Lord.
How we get Charity: Out of a pure heart, good conscious and faith unfeinged.
Other interesting facts: We are COMMANDED to have charity. IF you don't have Charity you are nothing. It never fails. Charity should be the motivator of our actions. Good actions are empty without Charity. If I could move mountains, prophecy and have all knowledge, if I have not charity I am still nothing. If we have not charity, we might lose our talents and gifts.
Values associated with Charity: Faith, hope, sober, temperate, patience, lowliness in heart, meekness, kindness, knowledge, patience, goodliness, virtue
This verse, in particular, struck me:
Doctrine and Covenants 121:45
It provides a very visual picture for me. Charity is what drives my heart. Virtue drives my thoughts. When my thoughts and my heart are pure, then shall my confidence, testimony and knowledge grow and wax strong. It's a beautiful scriptures.
There is so much to learn, and I will continue my study of charity through the scriptures, teachings of church leaders, good books, etc. But, I cannot wait until I learn everything to start doing.
That's where the "Project" part comes in.
I am an inherently kind and loving person, but I am not filled with charity. I want to be, and it starts with desire.
I wish getting charity was as easy as going to the local store and picking some up; but it isn't. It's going to be work. And when I do a job, I like to have order. I like lists and goals, charts and programs (although I lack in consistency and follow-through. Go figure!) To I'm going to make specific and tangible goals in my life that I hope will help me become more charitable. Some will be small, and some will be bigger- but that's because I have small and big things to work on.
Throughout this process I will be praying specifically for Charity. I will also begin a personal study of the life of my Savior. He was the ultimate example of charity.
One of the fascinating things about charity is that there is not direct path to it. It must be obtained through other values. As I practice patience, I can gain charity. As I practice service, forgiveness, kindness, love- through all of these things I can obtain charity.
As I obtain charity, these values grow stronger as well.
It is a beautiful circle, a circle that has a beginning. And that's with me and my choices, my goals. Some of my goals will be big, some smaller, some will make sense, some won't. Some will be easy, some will be challenging. But I hope they each take me one step closer to becoming more like my Savior, filled with His perfect love.
Along with specific prayer and study, each week I make two specific goals, a value goal, and a service goal:
1. Not being reactive: When I get frustrated with people- kids, spouse, the guy with 25 things in the 12-items-or-less line at the grocery story, or the person that has said hurtful things to me- I am going to take deep breath and count to five before I speak or respond.
2. Service: I prayerfully look for two opportunities to serve in places outside of my home.
I chose to use this blog because writing gives me a sense of accountability. And, for me, when I write something down, my feelings or goals, they become more real to me. And, it's my blog and I can do what I want. :)
If you'd like to join me, I'd love to have you! If you already have charity, I'd love to know how you got it! And, if you think I'm crazy...well, join the club!