What Lack I Yet?

There’s this talk that was given by a General Authority in our church this past October  at our Semi Annual General Conference called What Lack I Yet?

“The journey of discipleship is not an easy one. It has been called a ‘course of steady improvement.’2 As we travel along that strait and narrow path, the Spirit continually challenges us to be better and to climb higher. The Holy Ghost makes an ideal traveling companion. If we are humble and teachable, He will take us by the hand and lead us home.

However, we need to ask the Lord for directions along the way. We have to ask some difficult questions, like ‘What do I need to change?’ ‘How can I improve?’ ‘What weakness needs strengthening?'”

I have been pondering this thought in my heart a lot lately. I feel like I am being bombarded with this talk, almost. It seems to be everywhere I turn. There’s no escaping it! haha. Recently in my scripture study I came across the story this talk mentions about the rich man who asked Christ “What Lack I Yet?” and then was unwilling to give up his riches to follow Christ when He said that is what he needed to do. We also discussed this talk during this past week’s lesson in Young Women’s on Sunday and I have been seeing/hearing quotes from it on social media and in other areas of life lately. I have started to really ponder the question “what lack I yet?” for myself and have come out of happier on the other end, when I didn’t even realize I wasn’t as happy as I could have been. It just goes to show that Heavenly Father knows us better than we know ourselves and He knows what we need even when we aren’t aware that we are in need of anything.

For me, the answer has been that I needed to get back to developing a talent I have, which is with music. It may not sound like something that is very important but I feel pretty strongly that it is something that I need to do, and it has brought me a lot of happiness to do so, both because I now have something outside of my family that is just for me and because I know I am doing the Lord’s will in developing my talent, and that it will help me to progress spiritually to do so.

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As many of you know, I grew up in a very musical family. Music has always been extremely important to me. I recently sang (solo) in sacrament meeting, which I haven’t done in a lonnnnng time, and when I was asked to sing I was told the topic was The Book of Mormon. “Hmmm,” I thought, “maybe a song from the Children’s Songbook?” I immediately joked that I would just go up and sing “Book of Mormon Stories,” complete with all the hand motions, hahaha. What I ended up choosing was “This is My Beloved Son.” A very simple, short, sweet, children’s song about Heavenly Father introducing Christ during His baptism, when he appeared to the Nephites, to Joseph Smith, and then to us in our hearts as we read the scriptures. Here are the words, for those of you who aren’t familiar or can’t seem to remember them all in your head:

“Jesus entered Jordan’s waters, when His work had just begun,

God the Father spoke from Heaven: “This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!”

Nephites gazing into Heaven, saw their white-robed Savior come,

And they heard the Father witness: “This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!”

Joseph saw two glorious beings, shining brighter than the sun,

God again presented Jesus: “This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!”

As I read the scriptures daily– Words of Christ, the Holy One–

In my heart I’ll hear God tell me, “This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!”

Hear Him”

I had actually originally chosen a different song that the pianist I asked to accompany me happened to have in a songbook she got for Christmas, that was about when Christ visited the Nephites. However, I had to change it to one that I knew well and would be simple to do as I realized my week right beforehand was going to be crazy and I would have litte to no time to practice. I am so glad I ended up going with this short, sweet little song though. I just seem to really love all the songs in The Children’s Songbook. They mean a lot to me, possibly because they were the first thing to really begin the process of growing my testimony as a child. I have always been one of those people who feel the spirit the strongest through music (a curse for me, because I also cry easily and am a shaky voice cry-er so it’s bad news if I get too emotional while I sing a song, haha yikes. My notes go all over the place hahaha). The first instances I can remember of feeling the spirit warm my soul (although I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time) were while singing A Child’s Prayer as a little girl in Primary. It was by far my favorite song, and while all the other kids chose songs like Once There Was a Snowman or Do as I’m Doing when it was their turn to pick any song they wanted to sing in singing time, my pick was always A Child’s Prayer, up until I was too old to be in Primary anymore. I loved the feeling the words in that song gave to me and always knew the message to be true. I also loved when we would split and sing both verses at the same time for the third verse, or the teachers would come in and do the second while we did the first. I couldn’t get enough of that.

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So singing a song from the Children’s Songbook became a sweet, spiritual experience for me, as it reminded me of the beginnings of my testimony; Those first few moments of nurturing that little seed. I am grateful for, and humbled by that sweet little reminder of what music does for me, and the opportunity I had to do something I hadn’t done for so long that fills me with so much of the spirit (and I hope does the same for others around me).

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I also recently became involved in a local community women’s choir (something I get to do that is just for me and helps fill up my cup every week, like I had talked about in my last post). Earlier this month I tried out for this choir. I was so nervous about trying out because they said we had to be prepared to sight read –which I think is so much harder with singing than with playing an instrument because there is no exact location you can physically look at and get the right note from. I didn’t know I would have help from the piano though, whew! I also had to have a prepared piece to sing (mine was Scarborough Fair), and then during the audition I was surprised with the request to pick notes out of a chord played on the piano (“The pianist will play a chord and you will have to pick out the middle note of that chord and sing it, then the highest note, and then the lowest note”). I was nervous because I have had little to no involvement with music for the past 5 years, since being married basically, and just like any instrument, being out of practice has a big effect on one’s singing abilities. For instance, my vocal range is completely shot, and I am lacking in confidence in my ability to hit certain notes and sound good doing it… BUT, regardless, I was accepted into the choir and am absolutely loving being a part of it. I also love that they asked me to sing Alto (and not just an Alto, but second Alto, the deepest and lowest of notes), which I’ve never done before. I’ve always sung Soprano (the high notes) so I think trying this new placement will help me to grow as a singer. Especially because Sopranos typically sing the melody and Altos sing harmony so it will help me become a better singer if I get used to singing something besides the melody. Call me a huge nerd (because I totally am, and don’t mind it at all) but I am really excited about our upcoming spring concert in May and the fact that we have a few a cappella pieces and I get to “doo wop” and “doot de doo” away in my super low Alto notes. YES, I KNOW I’M A HUGE NERD. It’s okay to tease me about it, I tease myself. We’ll be singing a medley of 80’s girls’ rock songs (like I Love Rock n’ Roll, Love is a Battelfield, Walking on Sunshine, and We Got the Beat), I Say a Little Prayer, Scarborough Fair (yay!), Put a Little Love in Your Heart, some of today’s hits like Best Day of my Life (where I get to “doot doo doo doo doot doot” while “I had a dream so big and loud…” goes on) and Home by Philip Philips, plus a bunch of other great songs I’m not even mentioning. Probably my favorite is A Mother’s Prayer, which is a take on The Prayer (which I shared a version of by David Archuletta and Nathan Pacheco a few weeks back). It is seriously the sweetest song and makes me tear up every time I read the lyrics. Also, did I mention this choir has FREE BABYSITTING at all practices??? It’s probably the one reason I am able to commit to it. I bring the kids along and they go play happily while I sing. It’s the best thing ever.

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These are the lyrics to A Mother’s Prayer:

I pray you’ll be my eyes
And watch her where she goes
And help her to be wise
Help me to let go

Every mother’s prayer
Every child knows
Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she’ll be safe

I pray she finds your light
And holds it in her heart
As darkness falls each night
Remind her where you are

Every mother’s prayer
Every child knows
Need to find a place
Guide her with your grace
Give her faith so she’ll be safe

Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she’ll be safe

And here’s Celine Dion singing it:

Gets me right in the feels every time.

As human beings, we are imbedded with a desire to progress (pychology says this, as does the scriptures). One of the biggest reasons for unhappiness in this life is the feeling that we aren’t progressing as we should be. We are happiest when we are making progress, and not just spiritual progress. We also need to be doing other things to better ourselves, including developing talents (that then can be used to build up the Kingdom of God, as well as bless our life and the life of our family), learning new things, becoming healthier, and otherwise challenging ourselves. If you feel there is some happiness lacking from your life I challenge you to ask in prayer “What lack I yet?” with a sincere desire to know, and He will make known to you what you can do to further your development at this point. Don’t forget, though, to also ask for a confirmation of what you are already doing right, as we all also need a pat on the back and reassurance that we are doing okay from time to time.

-SJ

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