Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Templates and Exercising Agency


Those of you faithful readers who were reading my blog clear back in July 2009 when I changed my template may remember my exuberant celebratory post in which I compared the process of changing my blog template to the mighty change of heart.

Well, obviously I have changed my template again after 3.5 years and I have learned more life lessons from the process!  Woo-hoo! 

I was seriously intimidated by the task of this change, but that was mostly because I remembered all the work I had to put in to make the last one.  (I had documented the whole process, so I remembered really well.)  Surprisingly enough, the change turned out to be much easier than I expected because blog template programming quality has progressed to the point that some changes didn’t require me to touch code.   Glory be!

In the same way, sometimes we can get scared away from doing something good or making a change in our lives because we think it is going to be really hard based on memories we’ve had in the past of how difficult it was to change.  But it may not be as hard as we think; we may have progressed in other areas of our lives such that we already have many pieces in place that will actually make the process easier and faster than we think!

What gave me courage to try?  I had a goal that I wanted to achieve—adding an extra column to my blog—and I had this impression that I needed to do learn something new that would expand my stewardship of my blog.  There wasn’t any outside pressure forcing me; I just felt it was time to go forward, rather than staying stagnant where I had been so comfortable for so long.  As it turned out, my blog template at that time would not allow that addition, so I had to find a new template.

In the same way, sometimes our need for personal growth can give us courage to make new changes in our lives.  Our efforts to please the Lord through our personal improvement can motivate us.  We don’t necessarily have to be forced to change by outside circumstances.  We can make a choice, but the pay-off has to be sufficiently satisfying that we will want to keep striving even when we’ve hit obstacles.

I did not know that template programming had improved so much.  I didn’t know that once I changed my template, it would allow me to manipulate a few sliders and click a few buttons to add another column without having to touch code.   I had to get the preliminary changes done first.

In the same way, we won’t know until we’ve made some preliminary efforts to change our lives just how the way will be opened.  We just have to start with courage, and move forward with determination and diligence and faith.   In making those first steps, the Lord opens new ways for us.

One of the problems I had when I was first trying to cut and paste template code in was that I kept getting an error saying the code was not well-formed.  It took me a while to realize that it had no HTML tags in it!  My text-edit program totally stripped out HTML tags and I hadn’t realized it! 

In the same way, when we are trying to change our lives, we may be missing important doctrine and teachings that will help us because the traditions of men have stripped those teachings from public discourse.   We have to go straight to the divine source and get the full message undiluted.

My old template had a really rigid layout.  Once I changed my template, however, I discovered that the new layout was much more flexible than my old one and I could add columns or move them around in a way that I could only have dreamed about before.  

In the same way, positive changes in our lives give us more freedom than we ever dreamed we could have, opening ways for us to do things that we couldn't before, giving us more flexibility to handle challenges.

Christ is the template that we must model our lives on.  Zion is the template that we want to model society on.  It requires courage and perseverance to work towards those ideals, especially when we feel comfortable where we are. 

Along with trying to improve my blog stewardship, I am also trying to increase my cooking skills so that I can better serve my family.

What positive changes are you working on right now?


Ramona Gordy said...

I like this template, it's really peaceful. You know I stumbled upon your blog around the time you changed your last template. I had just started my blog and I remember that you stopped by my blog and gave me some really good insight about Zion. I enjoy reading your blog. Some positive changes I am endeavoring to make is a more positive me. A more humble and loving me, not only to family but to anyone who needs me. A better servant, a more obedient daughter of God.
Thank you Michaela!!!

Ramona Gordy said...

I like what you said about "trying to improve your blog stewardship". Thank you for putting that in perspective. I have been going back and forth as to whether to continue in my blogging, start a new one, or make drastic improvements. So I really had a heart to heart prayer and asked if my blogging was in vain. No answer immediately, but there has been a steady buildup of insight as to why I should look at "why" I blog, and to who my blog is focused on. Stewardship was not something I had previously associated with my blog (for various reasons), but it's an AH HA

Michaela Stephens said...

That is great that you are working on becoming more positive. Attitude is pretty important, isn't it? That's another thing I've been working on and I forgot about it until you brought it up.

I have to say that I can tell that you've changed for the better over the time that you've commented. (And thanks for being so free with comments!) I can see how your knowledge of the gospel has deepened.

Blog stewardship is a very interesting thing. You have listed some important questions to ask oneself about it. I don't think you can say your blogging is in vain because our words have influence, no matter how small it might be. We try for a good influence.
The "why" of blogging can change from time to time, but it is important to ask the question periodically so we can remain conscious of our "why."
Is it an outlet that keeps you from bursting or is it a beast that has to be fed? (This blog has been both for me at different times.)