learning to breathe. learning to articulate.

One skill I feel strongly about developing this year is the ability to be articulate. Articulating means having or showing the ability to speak fluently and coherently. Being articulate means to clearly express how you feel about something and why.

I believe this is a crucial skill that we must develop in our day. We live in a world where confusion abounds, fact is fiction, opinion and knowledge meet at a fuzzy line, and words often have a very polarizing effect in examining our differences. Exclusionary language, categories, classifications, and divisions abound. Based on these classifications, sometimes people even try to tell you what you believe or even worse, who you are. The ability to articulate how you feel and why is critical in being able to defend your beliefs, share your opinions with others, and build bridges with those who are different from you.

I recently finished “Braving the Wilderness” by Brene Brown. In the book, she talks about the concept of having a “Strong Back. Soft Front.” “We need both courage and vulnerability.” Part of a strong back, in my opinion” is knowing what you believe, why you believe it, and being able to clearly and kindly articulate those beliefs, thoughts, and ideas to another. A soft front is making sure that your beliefs are not barriers to the relationships you form. It’s your ability to love others different from yourself. It’s the vulnerability part. Together with a strong back and a soft front, we show up, being true to our back, and demonstrate the risk associated with putting having a soft front, of putting yourself out there not knowing how it will be received by someone else. It’s being brave and being true to who you are while practicing the things you know to be true for you.

I believe this is one way that we “reflect righteousness and articulateness” in our lives. We follow the commandments of God and strive to keep the first great commandment, “[to] love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” And the second great commandment which is like unto it, “[to] love thy neighbor as thyself.” I know the Lord is not saying to only love thy neighbors who believe the same things as you do or the neighbors who sin the same as you, or to only love when its convenient or comfortable. He puts  no qualifiers on “the neighbor.” And to me, we are all neighbors. We are all existing collectively together here in this mortal world. We are all here because we are children of God who chose His plan at least once. Only He knows the thoughts and the intents of our hearts. Only He knows the depth of compassion, mercy, love, that is available through the ultimate sacrifice of His Son’s atonement. Only He can judge. And I should only love.

If we put this into practice, wouldn’t we be so different from the rest of the world. Wouldn’t this be a breath of fresh air?  I love this quote, also seen in the picture above, “Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”

So, with all that being said, I’ve made a list of some things I hope to be able to better articulate this year. I’m not sure how I’m going to do it exactly but one way I’ve come up with and tried so far is to open my mouth, let the Holy Spirit guide, and say something.

Things I want to learn to better articulate this year–

  • How I feel about Jesus Christ and the influence my belief in Him has is my life.
  • Why I choose to stay in the Church.
  • How I find strength, perspective, and peace in covenant keeping.
  • Why I believe the Book of Mormon is true.
  • How I feel peace in a tumultuous world.
  • Why it matters that we have a prophet in 2018.
  • How the prophets words have blessed my life.
  • What the church’s stance on gay marriage means to me.
  • What I believe in regards to women and the priesthood.
  • Why church history matters and what I do when I find a hard thing.
  • How I tackle the hard questions.
  • How I have chosen faith over fear.
  • Why gratitude matters and how it blesses my life.

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