"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
September 16, 2014
The Whole Slice
by Vickey Pahnke Taylor

I found this great thought, written down by Karen Salmansohn. This is how it reads:

PLEASE keep in mind that whatever you’re going through, this challenging time in your life is merely IN your life. It is NOT your WHOLE life. So be sure to keep this slice of your life in perspective and don’t let it overwhelm you. REMEMBER: Nothing is everything. The part is not greater than the whole.

Amen. We are the whole pie. Not a slice or two or three. Our lives count, and have merit, and refine us as the course challenges us. This is because we go through a slice of intense joy here, a slice of intense pain there, and a smidgeon of understanding as we stay the course of living the mortal journey.

Some of my slices? Ughhh… I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. It isn’t supposed to be “their” slice, anyhow. Like it or not, it is my slice. My lesson. My “time to… (fill in the blank with current or past problems, mistakes, issues, or whatever).”

Our sense of worth and value comes when we recognize that our life is about events. All about events. Some of them are delightful and many of them are just plain hard. But Isaiah said this about our worth: “I will make a man more precious than fine gold” (13:12).

Men and women become “more precious than fine gold” as we accept the lessons that tutor us — sometimes in harder ways than we’d like. There are a few ways that the tutoring — and the learning — can offer us a bit more perspective, so that we can begin to see the whole pie, rather than define ourselves (wrongly, good or bad) by the one or two slices:

  • When we lean on the Lord’s understanding instead of our own. (See Proverbs 3:5)

  • When we accept the blessings of repentance, gaining freedom from past mistakes, we aren’t held prisoner by them. We can move forward, with more bounce in our step and hope in our heart.

  • When we can shake off the ridicule or negative remarks from other people, or even shake off the offense we may take when they add their two cents’ worth, we can begin to regain a sense of self-worth, if it has been emptying out. We should care about what the Lord thinks, not other people. But that’s easier to say than to believe, deep down in the heart and mind. So — we work at it. We remember the times when we’ve felt capable and on top of things. We give credit for the positives in us.

  • When we accept heavenly help in seeing more clearly. As children of Heavenly Father, we have that spark of divinity inside us. We choose to see things with an eye (and mind and heart) of goodness and appreciation. That includes looking at ourselves! On those days — or those periods of time — when we can’t quite see it for ourselves, it isn’t a bad thing to turn to one we know loves us and has our back. More than anyone, that would be our Father in Heaven. And our Savior. So, maybe we can lean on their love and acceptance. One thing here: They LOVE us. Maybe they don’t love all the choices we make, but we are truly and thoroughly loved. Enough that our Father’s eternal work is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). The Savior bought us with His blood. (Acts 20:28). That’s a lot of love.

  • When we find ways to grab more peace. The Prince of Peace freely offers it to every one of us. Sometimes, we just don’t seem to have it in us to go there — wherever “there” is. We don’t know how to accept it. So, we ask Him. We change the negatives in us that hold us back. We think and ponder and dig in. We adjust and allow our spirits and minds and hearts to be clipped so we can better blossom. We work to understand the lesson during hard things. We give proper credit to the Lord when we have successes. It’s all His. He simply loves us enough to enjoy it as part of the mortal ride.

The harsh times won’t last forever. They are a few pieces of the pie of life. During the hard times, though, can we:

  • Listen to music that is soothing?

  • Watch less stressful stuff on media?

  • Find more quiet time to ponder and reflect?

  • Do something good for someone else?

  • Notice the breeze, the sun shining, the rain drops that water our earth?

  • Genuinely take time to smell the roses? Notice the shrubbery and trees?

  • Pray more, with pure intent?

  • Find something to be thankful for?

Momentary lapses in judgment may cause problems. But they don’t have to become who we are. Moments of despair don’t define our whole journey. Challenges that seem to tear us apart don’t assign us to a lifetime of them. They are NOT us! We are good and we are loved. We can shift, adjust, and more clearly see.

Nothing is everything. But we are everything to our Savior and our God. That’s a really beautiful, good thing. And goodness matters.

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About Vickey Pahnke Taylor

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, grandmother, teacher, author, and songwriter. Her undergraduate study at BYU was musical theater. She has a Masters degree in interpersonal communications.

A Billboard award-winning songwriter with hundreds of songs to her credit, she uses music as a teaching tool. But her favorite way to use music has been to sing to her children. You should hear the family's rousing versions of "Happy Birthday"!

In addition to three solo albums in the LDS market, she co-wrote "Women at the Well" with Kenneth Cope and "My Beloved Christ: with Randy Kartchner. She is co-writer of the theme song for Utah's Make-A-Wish foundation, the song for the Special Olympics program, and EFY's theme song.

She writes for several online magazines and columns, and has authored several books. Her website, www.goodnessmatters.com, is her way of continuing to grow goodness in the world, pointing people gently toward Christ and eternal principles of truth.

She has spoken for the Church's various Youth and Family programs for 25 years. She and her husband Dean have eight children and four grandchildren. She adores being a wife, mom and grandmother. She loves flowers, brownies, cooking Italian and Southern foods, the ocean, and laughing every chance she gets.

Vickey was baptized a member of the Church as a teenager in Virginia. She serves as gospel doctrine teacher in her ward, and Dean serves on their stake high council.

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