Many years ago a community of church members in Germany gathered to move a grand piano. They were not skilled or experienced in moving pianos, but because of the size of the instrument, the job required a carefully orchestrated plan to use their strength and coordination. Over and over they tried using different techniques and methods. Each try resulted in an unstable and immoveable piano.
Standing around the piano, they tried to determine their next tactic. One man suggested they move close together and lift from where they stood. The solution seemed too simple to work, but they gave it a try, and to their astonishment they found success! The answer to their plight was to lift where they stood. (Uchtdorf)
One of my past scripture studies focused on verbs calling me to action. Words have repeatedly received this particular blue mark are: seek, look, remember, run, walk, work, write and stand.
Have you ever thought about the word stand? It is different from the other verbs because it implies a stationary action or what would seem a lack of action. In looking at several definitions, “stand” can be defined as firm, steady, steadfast, consistent, endure, and a defensive effort.
I’m reminded of the old 80’s song “Stand” by REM. When it was popular I never actually analyzed its meaning, but as I’ve studied the idea of standing, I couldn’t help but look into the intended idea behind the song. Band member Michael Stipe said of the lyrics, “It’s about making decisions and actually living your life rather than letting it happen.”
Stand in the place where you live
Think about direction, wonder why you haven’t before
Now stand in the place where you work
Think about the places we stand in our lives. In all of our various roles and responsibilities, we have opportunities to stand. To make decisions about how we live our lives and how we will make a difference to those around us.
In other words – Standing is being intentional in our life.
Stand at Home
We create the environment in our home. The way we stand at home sets the tone. Do we focus on being positive and building each other, or do we dwell on the flaws of family members and let them fester with annoyance?
Our homes should be a place of refuge from the world, and families are life support system. Make a difference in our homes and families requires practice and intentionally driven responses. How do you stand at home?
Stand at Church
Why would it be important to stand at church? I believe it sends God a message as to where our heart is.
“For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” Mosiah 5:13
The way we choose to stand at church is a direct reflection of our heart or desires. What we desire shapes our thought pattern, which then influences our actions.
As a member of the LDS church, we are asked to give of our time and talents. I’m often asked how or why I would want to do so much. My will, desire or intention, is all that is mine to give. No one can tell me what to do or how to feel without my consent. By submitting my will to God, I am giving in purest and most meaningful way.
“We mistakenly think that, somehow, by letting our will be swallowed up in the will of God, we lose our individuality. What we are really worried about, of course, is not giving up self, but selfish things—like our roles, our time, our preeminence, and our possessions. No wonder we are instructed by the Savior to lose ourselves. He is only asking us to lose the old self in order to find the new self. It is not a question of one’s losing identity but of finding his true identity!” – Neal A. Maxwell
Stand at work or school
When thinking about who we spend our time with, the people we are surrounded by at work or school falls right behind our family. We may not be working our dream job, or maybe our classes are not fulfilling, but there are still ways to lift those around you and make a difference. Perhaps it is showing kindness to the grumpy office curmudgeon or a difficult school group member. Look for simple actions to make a difference.
Stand in Community
It is easy to feel removed from our community. Our busy lives often don’t lend time to consider it’s importance or how our actions could make a difference.
For six years I served on the board of directors for our community HOA. It was eye-opening to learn how hard it is to get volunteers. I understand what it means to feel overwhelmed. With our time scheduled full of so many important and worthwhile activities, it is hard to consider adding another “thing” to our lives, so keep it simple.
Even if your schedule doesn’t permit you to stand in your community take a minute to thank those that do. Small service projects don’t require a long-term commitment but can make a big difference. For some simple ideas check out JustServe.org. It is a volunteer website where service opportunities are posted regularly based on your location.
Think about Direction
Have you ever thought about which direction you face? Not physically, but your character – the person you are deep down inside.
Are you more likely to help the needy, or turn away and find an excuse? When we dig deep, do we see a selfish person cowering to do just the minimum, or are we one who wants to stand doing what is right and good, striving to make a difference?
The Key to Direction
It doesn’t matter what your roles or responsibilities are in life we can all learn to love where we stand – even if it is less than perfect – our ability to make a difference will be increased. Love and standing have an interesting – loving others, God, and ourselves. The scriptures call it charity, I consider it the greatest of all virtues.
“Charity is, perhaps, in many ways a misunderstood word. We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need, or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate. But really, true charity is much, much more.
Real charity is not something you give away; it is something you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. It makes the thought of being a basher repulsive.
Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other when we don’t judge or categorize someone else when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down, or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other.” – Marvin J. Ashton
We’ve affectionately named the voice within the GPS, Lola. She alerts us when we drift off course. Her gentle “recalculating” helps us make adjustments to reach our final destination.
Similarly, there may be a voice deep inside gently reminding us of how we can get back on course. We all get distracted, and detours are not uncommon. Discouragement and guilt will accomplish nothing. But take some time to evaluate where you stand, and the direction your facing. If you don’t like it – adjust, recalculate and make a course correction.
Together we can accomplish so much more than anyone of us can do alone. Remember the piano moving crew in the church in Germany. When we stand close together and lift where we stand, we will be able to move mountains.
4 Places we Stand was initially published via Evolve! Live.Grow.Give