There are many things that we keep to ourselves – some just under the surface, and others deeply hidden in the heart and mind.

There are times that temporal things ‘show’ – a slip line, a strap, etc. Or, if you’re like me – you make a quick trip to the restroom at the stake center and end up tucking in your skirt to your pantyhose. Yes, that is humiliating. It happened many years ago, and I’ve lived to tell about it, so I share in case you have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ in one way or another. No one should see, and when they do, it scars us for a moment or so.

But there is something that should show brightly and boldly – our faith.  We know that “faith is to hope for things which are not seen, but which are true (Heb. 11:1; Alma 32:21), and must be centered in Jesus Christ in order to produce salvation.” [Bible Dictionary.]

Faith is genuinely a principle of action and power. Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel. Without it, nothing else comes to life in our being, nor can we appreciate what is real, how to progress, or how to grow in righteous power ourselves…including how to better discipline self. 

This is beautiful doctrine. We study and pray and talk about it often. How does our faith become something that others see? How may they be guided to Christ through our reflection of his perfect love? How does it come to matter to us – in real terms and in personal, beautiful ways – on a daily basis? 

A few thoughts that come to my mind, and/or that I have accumulated from those who know how to lead us by example are these:

  1. Talk about it!

In a world that is sometimes skeptical, we can keep right on pointing to Christ, expressing our love for him, and sharing real stories that have helped our faith in Him to grow.  

My first real experience was at the age of eight.  I’d been in the hospital – this time- for a couple of months. Both kidneys were failing, and soon all bets were off. The doctors told my parents to take me home, for I had but two or three days left to live. It’s a long story, but the short of it is this:

I had been taught to pray. I believed in God and in Jesus Christ. My family was offering heartfelt, faith-filled prayers. I prayed aloud in my hospital bed on that night my parents were told to take me home to die. The story is that I clenched my fists in prayer, and fell asleep that way. Nurses, doctors and staff wept along with my parents. I was sweetly carried home, to leaven this frail existence.

Here I am. Many decades later. I am a living testament to the power of prayer and the power of faith. I know – I know – that heaven intervened in my behalf. 

That does not mean that when things go differently, we have less faith. Sometimes, it takes stronger faith to accept the Lord’s will to take someone from us, to allow us to go through that hard challenge, or to accept heaven’s silence for a while, as we are strengthened in faith and trust.

But faith is faith. With it, we keep moving forward and keep looking upward. We come to know, for ourselves, that He is the Master Healer. If we talk about it, others may come to know it for themselves…. Now, next month, or decades from now. 

  1. Hang on when turbulence comes.

Elder Russell M. Nelson shared a story about a bumpy plane ride: “On a recent flight, our pilot announced that we would encounter turbulence during our descent and that all passengers must fasten their seat belts securely. Sure enough, turbulence came. It was really rough. Across the aisle and a couple of rows behind me, a terrified woman panicked. With each frightening drop and jarring bump, she screamed loudly. Her husband tried to comfort her but to no avail. Her hysterical shouts persisted until we passed through that zone of turbulence to a safe landing. During her period of anxiety, I felt sorry for her. Because faith is the antidote for fear, I silently wished that I could have strengthened her faith.”

As we travel life’s path, there will be turbulence. Sometimes we’ll need to seek for comfort. There are some sure sources of comfort – words of the prophets, scriptures, prayers, leaning on the faith and courage of one we trust until our faith-legs are strong enough to stand on our own.

Even in our struggles, our faith can show. Because the turbulence need not keep us down! Our honest discourse about struggles, worries, or fears can share time with our faith and hope and trust in the Lord. Eventually, the fears will depart. With faith, fear can’t co-exist. But because we’re human, we all have our hours or days. In our desire to do better and grow stronger, we may inspire others who are silently suffering.  Just hang on, and “just keep swimming” as we learn in the Disney movie, Finding Nemo!

  1. Be consistent.

Sometimes it’s easy to be consistent. Other times, not so much. I guess that means we are not consistent. Part of the journey is learning where we need strengthening, and working on it. Persistence pays off, yet it may be hard. Or our choices may make it difficult. It is something worth continually praying for.

Constancy in trusting God will help us and be a beacon to others. Some choose to use double standards. President Spencer W. Kimball called it ‘situational ethics’.  We can choose to act one way at church and quite another way at work. We can be charming and kind with fellow worshippers and spiteful and mean at home.  We may put our best, smiling foot forward when we know we’re being watched, and yet scuffle along with a sour expression when we think no one is paying attention. 

There have been a few times I’ve hoped no one was paying attention, when I wasn’t being consistent in smiley-ness or patience.  Maybe I was feeling bad, and didn’t care at the moment. But I cared when I thought back. You know? People are watching. 

  1. Shine!  

I love the old song “You Can’t Be a Beacon If Your Light Don’t Shine” that I learned years ago. It was written by Marty Cooper back in 1974, and it delighted me!  Here are some of the lyrics:

You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.
You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.
There’s a little light in all of us by God’s design.
But you can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine!
How can you ask for the truth
When you do not truthful live?
How can you ask forgiveness
When you don’t forgive?
I don’t mean to bring you down or speak to you unkind,
But you can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine!
 

Not one of us is perfect. There has only been one Perfect One who walked this earth. We await His Second Coming, and try our best to follow Him and His example. 

Meanwhile, in our imperfection, we can shine! Like a lighthouse, we can stand still, firmly planted in gospel sod, and shine for others to see! We can do the little things that make a difference to those who are watching and listening and feeling. 

Whether we’re aware or not, our faith is showing!

 

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who joined the LDS Church as a teenager.  She is a songwriter, author, and public speaker. Her website www.goodnessmatters.com, is an online spot to share goodness, faith, and hope in simple, personal ways. Her undergraduate study was in Musical Theater, and has a Masters degree in communications.

She has taught for the Church’s youth & family programs for more than 30 years, has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ.  She also writes for the website www.nauvootimes.com.

Vickey and her husband Dean love their family, going on drives, laughter, growing herbs & veggies, and tootsie rolls. She teaches Gospel Doctrine in her ward. Her husband serves in the bishopric. They are the parents of eight children and have eight grandchildren.