Royal Role Models

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This weekend I volunteered at the Christmas event for the BYU
library as Cinderella. Yes, Cinderella. Usually I’m not into “princessy” things (except for Tangled, of course) but this sounded fun! I looked like a princess, I talked like a princess, and I autographed many papers as “Cinderella” for a solid two hours. Although my cheeks ached from smiling, and my throat felt funny from speaking in a perky, higher-pitched voice, I thoroughly enjoyed watching these children’s’ eyes light up as they “met Cinderella”.

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I remember one interaction, in particular, really touched my heart. Everyone had been coming up to me with “princess papers” to simply get my autograph, but this girl came up with a notebook. She bounced on her way over to me, and took a deep breath before exploding with excitement. “Cinderella!! It’s a pleasure to meet you in person! I am your…I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN!! And…and…I was just wondering…if you could write me something! I love your movie and I just love you so much!!”

She told me her name, and I wrote her a short note about being courageous and following her dreams, signed Cinderella.

Later, I reflected on that experience and realized that this applies to all of us; We all have some kind of role model or person we look up to as an example for guidance throughout our lives. When we feel loved by them and we receive words of wisdom from them, we tend to cherish them; they motivate us to work harder towards doing good and being better than before.

This is my experience with Jesus Christ. He has too many attributes and did too many good deeds for me to mention all of them and express how each event has impacted my life. However, I will say that I truly cherish The Holy Bible and The Book of Mormon because I can learn more about Him and who He is. Those sacred words give me strength and motivate me to be better. Those inspired words give me courage to stand up for what’s right in times that it may be difficult or unpopular to do so. His divine words have allowed me to understand my potential and strive to be more like Him.

Have you ever thought about how you may be a role model for someone else? Have you ever taken into account the impact your words and actions have on others? Think of who you are. Who do you represent? Are you a Father? Daughter? Aunt? Brother? Citizen? Doctor? Teacher? Mother? American? Swedish? Hostess? Gardener? Businessman? Cook? Video Gamer?

Above all, are you a disciple of Christ? Or in other words, are you a follower of the Living Son of God?

If you are, do you think you put into practice His teachings? Do you feel the Spirit change your heart each day? Do you treat others with love in person, as well as in your thoughts?

If you cannot say ‘yes’ to all of these questions, that’s okay! That is why we are here in life–to work on these things one at a time, while simultaneously experiencing JOY! However, it is important to recognize that if we do not recognize that we represent a true follower of Jesus Christ, let us consider how that can be changed!

Remember how our role models inspire us? Through their words and their actions. READ THE SCRIPTURES DAILY! THAT is how you will learn and feel of His love! THAT is how you will receive motivation to push forward and keep striving to be better! THAT is how His perfect example will rub off on you; you must FEAST upon the words of Christ so that you may be FILLED by His love, which ultimately changes your heart. And by your heart changing, you will have more righteous desires and your interests will be more aligned with those that are found in Christ’s Gospel and example!

Your circle of influence is greater when you are striving to be an example EVERYWHERE you go. Strangers can have the desire to make someone’s day better because you smiled at them. They may decide to call a loved one because they miss them after hearing you talk nicely to a family member. They could be inspired to be better citizens and neighbors because you picked trash up off the sidewalk and threw it away. Or they may even feel inspired to care more for others simply because you held the door open for someone!!

Don’t stop diving into the scriptures and encircling yourself with Christ’s love, life, words, and example. He really does empower, strengthen, and motivate us even when we’re at the lowest of lows in life. He never gives up on us even when we give up on Him. Keep trying and keep TRUSTING in Him; He knows and loves you perfectly.

Be the role model others need in their lives! 🙂

Have a great week,

Madi

PS– check out mormon.org for the 25 days of Christmas challenge! In an effort to #LightTheWorld, there are characteristics of Jesus each day and ideas of good things we can do each day to make the world a better place!!

We are not alone in being alone.

Lately, with the recent negativity circulating all over social media platforms, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how hard it is to make a stance nowadays without getting criticized for it. Now, this is NOT a political post, so don’t lose interest quite yet.

With this negativity, I felt alone at times in my religious, political, and moral stances. I felt attacked and disrespected, as many others have recently as well. Now, this is NOT a “poor me”, “i’m offended” post either, so don’t get ahead of yourselves, folks.

These experiences caused me to reflect a lot on people who have felt alone while standing up for what they believe in morally, politically, and religiously. There are many brave souls who have faced this same solidarity and rejection we do nowadays that rose above the negativity, courageously, standing firmly for what they believe to be right and true!

The man that stood out to me most while reflecting was our Savior, Jesus Christ. Now, without going into too much detail, let’s put His situation into context:

He came to this earth to be the Savior and Redeemer of ALL MANKIND; to suffer for ALL MANKIND whether they liked Him or not, because He loves EVERYONE. He entered into a very complicated society to be proclaiming to be the Son of God Almighty and inviting others to follow Him. The Jews had always been loyal to their beliefs and had recently undergone some very hard times; Hellenism had taken over their temples and they were forbidden to worship God or they would be killed. After enduring this oppressive time, they gained back and purified their temples once again through the Maccabean revolt. They were overjoyed to have religious freedom and their holy temples back once again! They were not looking for someone to come and tell them to change their beliefs again!

Then, there were Pharisees who believed in the scriptures liberally, therefore being open to new ideas and change. The Sadducees were adamant about having strict obedience to the Mosaic Law. So, here, we can see that there was a lot of conflict because some wanted to keep traditional Jewish beliefs, while others wanted change.

Now, if there were people fighting to keep religious tradition whilst others were more concerned about power, do you think either of these groups were going to gladly receive Jesus Christ as the Son of the Omnipotent God (therefore having a great amount of power, affecting the current political situation), and teaching practices different from the Jewish ones at the time (deviating from traditional Jewish beliefs)??? I don’t think so!

Jesus Christ knew His purpose and although He was a perfect being, He still had times where He must have felt very alone in a society that turned their backs on Him. Now, let’s understand that these people were only defending the most sacred beliefs they had grown up living. They were doing their best to protect their religion, politics, and morals! They had good intentions.

We all have good intentions when we defend our beliefs. But, wouldn’t we love each other more if we approached  differences in belief with open hearts and minds? If we opened our minds to the possibility of others having good intentions behind their beliefs, wouldn’t we all be a lot happier? Wouldn’t we be more accepting? Wouldn’t we learn from each other and work towards a more loving and understanding society? Wouldn’t we hate less? Wouldn’t we incorporate more good into our lives?

We do not have to agree with everything that others believe, but it is important that we strive to see the good in their paradigms! It is important that we respond with understanding and respect rather than refusal and disgust. All of our opinions matter and when we approach conversation with open minds rather than having the mindset of the other person “being wrong”, we will find that humanity is a lot better than it is portrayed to be throughout the media.

Jesus Christ was followed by few and hated by many. Those who followed Him were also hated by many. However, given the circumstances some still faithfully stood firm in those beliefs and practices Jesus had taught them. They risked being alone. We risk being alone too when we stand for what we believe in, but we have to be courageous! We have to be the good in the world! We have to actively treat others with love and respect and recognize that usually people have good intentions behind their religious, moral, and political stances.

Don’t let politics divide you from good people! Don’t let religion keep you from strengthening your faith together with others who belong to different religions than you! And don’t let differing moral beliefs keep you from loving someone and treating them with respect! The world will only become a better place when we open our hearts, eyes, and minds and truly work together for good!

Have a really great week and remember that you are not alone in feeling alone! Stay strong and inspire others to do good!! The world needs more peacemakers.

WITH SO MUCH LOVE,

Madi

P.S- I want you all to know that I respect Jewish beliefs and think they are great people also striving to do good! I only used this circumstance as an example to show how Jesus was mostly alone in preaching His Gospel. It also emphasizes the fact that we are all striving to do good, just in different ways! And sometimes we may not understand a group different from ourselves simply because we don’t take the time to learn about their beliefs.