Diane Thueson Reich, associate professor of voice and the vocal division coordinator, delivered this week’s Devotional address. She spoke about how to change and grow willingly, rather than reluctantly.
Reich acknowledged that she, and some audience members, are reluctant growers. Reluctance means unwilling, hesitant, disinclined.
“Am I unwilling and hesitant and even disinclined to grow?” said Reich.
It wasn’t a dislike of working hard or a lack of serving others but a “proud and stubborn heart” that Reich said she felt kept her from developing Christ-like attributes willingly.
Reich explained this concept by relating growth to plants. When a plant needs more room to grow, its roots become tangled and it uses up the soil in its small pot. It must be repotted into a larger plant and have its roots broken up in order to grow in the new soil.
“I have learned that Heavenly Father does not just want me to do something, He wants me to become something. When I strive to become, then will my heart turn toward the things that I must do,” said Reich.
Reich shared experiences of her obeying the Lord’s direction in her life by serving a mission and being a member of the BYU Women’s Conference Committee (several years ago). From these experiences, Reich learned that it takes humility, work and self-reflection to be “repotted” and grow into a better person.
“I had to painfully look into myself to see that I was reluctant to be ‘re-potted,’” said Reich. “I needed to allow myself to become more, to be uprooted, to dig a little deeper. I softened my heart and allowed myself to grow.”
At another point in her BYU career, Reich was offered the opportunity to direct a Spring term study abroad program in Europe. At first she was hesitant at the amount of work it would be, but she and her family accepted. They all loved the experience and grew from it.
“I cringe to think that my hesitation may have robbed us of those experiences and our individual opportunities for growth,” said Reich.
Reich said fear and reluctance keeps us from Jesus Christ.
“I cannot be fully taking advantage of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, when I fear or am unwilling,” said Reich. “Because then I am doubting our Savior and the power of His Atonement. But I can repent and grow and eventually be made perfect through the love of our Savior.”
Just as plants struggling to grow need Miracle Grow, Reich said our spirits need a boost of the fundamentals to help us grow. These fundamentals include prayer, scripture study and fasting.
Prayer is the starting point for the journey. Scripture study familiarizes us with Christ. Fasting empowers us with the Spirit of God.
“These very basic yet fundamental elements — prayer, scripture study and fasting — will ignite our faith, nourish our souls and give root for change and growth,” said Reich.
Sometimes we do not feel equipped for our challenges, Reich said. God just requires a “broken heart” of humility, which leads us to ask for God’s help.
“I am grateful that He has promised that He will stand by me. And with that promise, I can exercise my faith and feel peace and security in letting my heart become broken in order to grow,” said Reich.