We all have lofty goals and intentions. Some of mine include…exercising every day, eating better, reading my scriptures every day, not procrastinating, keeping my house clean, being a better visiting teacher, getting my kids to bed at a decent hour, attending the temple regularly….those are just a few. I’m sure you all have similar goals that you would like to accomplish too. There are so many different things that can divide our time. Following through with our good intentions, changes them from just that, ‘intentions’… to actions and our actions ultimately shape who and what we are.
Shortly after moving into a new neighborhood, Ryan and I were asked to give talks in church on Sunday… ‘Opportunity’ happened to be our topic. Ryan related a story that his mission president told, that I think really illustrates the importance of following through on our good intentions. I’ll try retelling the story to the best of my recollection.
***President Robison’s wife had been asking him to trim the hedges for days. He kept putting it off and putting it off. Finally, Saturday evening came and he knew he better get the hedges trimmed or his wife would ‘get after’ him. He got out his hedgers and began trimming, but after only doing a few, he was tried and decided he would finish the task ‘another day.’
It was later that night when he remembered he needed a haircut for church the following day. He asked his wife if she would give him a haircut, “Of course dear,” she replied. She took out everything she would need to cut his hair and started to cut. After only a few minutes she stopped and said, “I’m finished!” President Robison looked shocked “How can you be finished?” he asked her. “You didn’t finish trimming my hedges so I’m not going to finish cutting your hair.”***
I can’t remember if Ryan said he had to go to church the next day with half a haircut or not (part of me thinks that’s how the story goes), but I do know, President Robison finished trimming the hedges that following Monday…after doing so, his sweet wife finished cutting his hair as well.
How then does this apply to following through on our good intentions? All the hedges needed to be trimmed, yet President Robison trimmed only a few. How often do we set out to do something, only to forget it the next day or only do it half-heartedly? President Robison’s wife helped him to see his error, by only giving him half a haircut. It’s important to have good intentions and goals, but they only mean something when we put them into action. Hedges don’t trim themselves.
A lot of times I wonder about my intentions. I’ll often have a thought to send someone a card or tell them I’m thinking of them, but then choose not to because I don’t want to feel silly or I run out of time. Sometimes, I’ll have a good idea to say hello to someone I don’t know, but choose not to, for the same reason of feeling stupid or silly. I may see a friend at the grocery store and the thought comes into my mind they need a hug, but I again choose not to…for whatever the reason may be.
“As we have therefore opportunity… let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” – Galations 6:10
If you have a thought to visit, call, or text a friend…do it! If you think it would be a good idea to send a card to your neighbor…do it! If you want to go to the temple once a month…do it! If don’t want to procrastinate a school project…simply do it! We have intentions to do so many things and we simply need to act on our good intentions. In the book of Moroni (in the Book of Mormon), it says, “by their works ye shall know them: for if their works be good, then they are good also…wherefore all things which are good cometh of God…that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, everything which inviteth and enticeth to do good and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”- Moroni 7:5,12,13
There are many ways to spend our time…between work, family, church, and other activities…it seems as if time is so very precious. But rather than waste my time doing some of the less important things, I’m going to strive to follow through on my good intentions. If I have a good thought or idea, I’m going to act on it…for as Mormon says, “it is inspired of God.” I don’t want to have a long list of could haves or should haves. Let us all strive to convert our intentions to actions and trim the hedges in our lives…good luck…I know I’m going to need it!