"Irritation Often Precedes Instruction"
The title of today's post is a quote from Elder Maxwell. Let's relate the title to losing a tooth and a new one breaking through. This is my six year old's first experience in losing a tooth. (Although as a toddler she almost lost her two top front teeth when her siblings dropped her face first on the tile floor, but that's a story of irritation for another time)
This story of irritation takes place in the wilderness with Lehi and his family. I have come to the part where Nephi's bow of fine steel breaks. An interesting note-the bow was thought to be made with materials that would remain strong. How many times have I taken the time to prepare and find that it is still not enough? Or have taken steps in an endeavor that, in my mind would prevent anything from going wrong? I am generally an optimist and enjoy living in my little rosy bubble. This story is for me because when something goes terribly wrong or something prevents me from accomplishing the task that is so important in my mind, my response could use some work to reach that of Nephi's.
Elder Maxwell continues “Nephi’s broken bow doubtless brought to him some irritation, but not immobilizing bitterness. After all, he was just trying to feed the extended family, so why should he have to contend as well with a broken bow? Yet out of that episode came a great teaching moment."
At times (such as tonight and Family Home Evening) I feel as described above "I'm just trying to teach my children the gospel, why do I have to deal with them fighting when I'm trying to bring the spirit into our home?! Sound familiar? If not, then please tell me what magic spell you are using so that I may apply it on my 4 children.
Now for the great teaching moment. After breaking his bow Nephi didn't dwell on the why's and what if's, he got to work and made a new one out of wood. Then instead of taking over and praying to the Lord himself he went to his father Lehi(who has been murmuring and has lost the spirit for the moment) and asked him to pray and ask where to find food. Nephi's humility, strength and wise confidence in his wavering, superior father opened the way for Lehi to repent and restore his standing with God and regain leadership. The lesson: don't waste energy on the "why me" and also, wise confidence in men builds them. Admittedly, I have thought to know better than someone that has leadership over me. I'm sure in your mind you can think of someone right now that you could probably out do in a particular calling or position. What growth would come if we only did things we were already good at?
Just like the old tooth coming out to make room for the new, the Lord, with His goodness and knowledge of what we really need, will give us experiences that may cause irritation but will ultimately stretch us and make grow a stronger version of ourselves.
Thankfully we have Jesus Christ to lean on through such growing experiences.