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The other day I found one of my journals from seventeen years ago.  I felt it was ironic since I found it in November, a month that I tend to think about one of the most influential periods of my life, my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. November 1, 1995 I entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah to learn how to speak Portuguese and how to effectively invite people to come unto Christ.  I spent the next seventeen months of my life constantly inviting myself to come closer to my Savior.   I learned to keep meticulous journals and notes while as a missionary, one that I am thankful for as age progresses and time makes the memories hazy.  I kept a journal for the every day happenings, and a notebook that went with me to every zone and mission conference, I had rediscovered my conference journal.  

Next to the journal I came across a letter that I obtained after a particular conference that really changed how I thought about personal goals and my relationship with the Savior.  After I read this letter I went back to see if I could find the talk that spawned the letter.  The Elder, named Derek Maxfield,  spoke about how Eternal life is to know God and His son Jesus Christ. He stressed the importance of our own personal righteousness through learning about the life of Jesus Christ, his sacrifice, and  developing Christlike attributes.

Each time that I make personal goals in my life I tend to think back to this talk.  I found it completely ironic that during a time that I I have been making goals to help develop the strengths that are inherently apart of my autistic son I would come across that particular letter.  I have been putting supports in place to help Chase navigate the obstacle course that he faces due to his  Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder.  I’ve been making goals to make home made Christmas Gifts.  By once again taking on Derek Maxfields challenge of developing the attributes of Christ I will become a  better wife and mother, a better friend and daughter, a better sister – a better child of God.

I contacted Derek Maxfield and gained his permission to post his letter.  As a  teacher I have always taught the importance of giving credit where it is due, and gaining permission where ever possible – and I am so glad that he gave it to me.  He wrote the letter in Portuguese – so I am translating it.

To Sister Green (That was my maiden name)

Everything well?  How are you?  Thank you for talking to me after the conference and for asking about my sugestions.  The message that I left was from my own heart.  My biggest goal here in the mission field was to come to know Jesus Christ.  Written below are some sugestion of mine about how to make persoanl goals.  They are already my personal goals, but you you can make different ones, but maybe my idas can help you to find a beter way for you . . .

First with this letter, I would like to give you a picture of Christ.  One prophet spoke that this picture is what looks the most like Jesus Christ.  You can put this picture in your journal or some personal notebook.  On the other side of the picture, you can write the attributes of Christ that you  perceive or that you see in Him.  I chose the following:

  1. Charity
  2. Longsuffering
  3. Patience
  4. Humility
  5. Love for others
  6. Knowledge
  7. Mercy
  8. Faith
  9. Consistent
  10. Hard Work
  11. Teach by the Spirit
  12. The ability to always forgive
  13. Self Control
  14. Strength – physical AND spiritual
  15. Unselfish.

These are the attributes that I chose.  You  can make your own list.  And you can do your own goals.  I always make three types of goals.  Goals of study, goals to develop, and goals of sacrifice.

  •  Goals of Study would be those that you study daily to profoundly study that particular attribute (this should include some study of Jesus Christ).
  • Goals to develop the attributes would be a way to recognize and make stronger your weaknesses.
  • Goals of sacrafice would be some sacrafice that you can do to acquire this same attribute.  (for example, if you chose charity you could polish the shoes of the others in the house or something like it, ya know!)

These goals are written on a letter with various lines so that you can evaluate and study each night.  These are my ideas.  I hope that they can help you find a better way for you.  I love my Savior.  I know that we are serving Him and that He has his arms open for us to know Him.

Elder Maxfield

I tend to feel the most stressed out during the holiday season.  I am trying to have the perfect Christmas for my family, teach them about the real reason behind Christmas, I try to incorporate family traditions and try and figure out a way to do that with one of our children missing from our home 70% of the time.  This year I have decided not to go Christmas shopping crazy.  Instead I went Christmas gift making crazy, and that too needs to change.  I will still make gifts, because I find sewing to be a great stress reliever.  However I am going to challenge myself to do an in-depth study of Christs divine qualities, so that as a daughter of God I too may incorporate those divine qualities in my life.

Here is my challenge

I challenge myself, and any who else would like to strengthen, develop, discover, and emulate Christlike attributes to do the following:.  

  1. Write down Christlike qualities  to study.
  2. Make specific goals to improve and develop these qualities.
  3. Record progress to measure and evaluate if the goal is being accomplished.
  4. Make the goals attainable.
  5. Make the goals realistic and relevant to life, and through time review and revise
  6. Develop a timeline to accomplish each individual goal.

You got me, these are SMART goals.  I find it interesting that my husband is in the process of writing his own SMART goals for a college course he is currently taking.  Hmmm, coincidence, I think not!!!!!!