Skirmish for Our Soul

by | May 27, 2020

girl with devil and angel

Mosiah 29 -Alma 4

Neal A. Maxwell (an apostle and incredible wordsmith) coined the phrase “divine discontent.” Recently, Michelle D. Craig shared it again in General Conference (Oct 2018) and explained, “Divine discontent comes when we compare ‘what we are [to] what we have the power to become.‘ Each of us, if we are honest, feels a gap between where and who we are, and where and who we want to become. We yearn for greater personal capacity.”

Isn’t that true to life?

A Verse to Ponder

Sister Craig then quoted Ether 12:27, which I memorized light years ago and have probably heard no less than 1000 times. However, recently, it aimed for my soul like a laser beam.

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness [I’ve got a list]. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble [well, that worked]; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make [those specific] weak things become strong unto them. [How on earth?]

Sister Craig went on to clarify that “weaknesses can be a blessing” and “discontent becomes divine when we humbly approach Jesus Christ with our want rather than hold back [our shortcomings] in self-pity” [and self-doubt and self-loathing].


Between Ether, Neal A. Maxwell and Sister Craig my eyes opened to a new understanding:

Our greatest weaknesses and frequent sins are bridges to our best selves and compasses that point to our greatest strengths.

Shawnie Cannon ~ Divine Code

Not too believable, is it?

I vigorously argued with this piece of enlightenment as it pierced through my heart and couldn’t comprehend it at all. Finally, I decided to test Sister Craig’s advice and lay my current, biggest guilt at the feet of the Savior. My prayer (more or less), “Okay Lord…how can my sins which beset me frequently, my greatest shortcomings possibly have ANYTHING to do with some place I’m supposed to arrive at”?

The answer came in force and is now a meaningful, memorable ah-hah experience. Basically, I am to steel up my mind and be in charge of my own thought processes and willfully direct them and redirect them when necessary. And not let negativity and other misguided, mortal tendencies land for long. (Directing thoughts is an intentional habit and an acquired skill – I’m still growing it).

Come Follow Me

Another layer of realization about thinking, thought processes and choices came from our Come Follow Me study this week (Alma 3):

26 And in one year were thousands and tens of thousands of souls sent to the eternal world, that they might reap their rewards according to their works, whether they were good or whether they were bad, to reap eternal happiness or eternal misery, according to the spirit which they listed to obey, whether it be a good spirit or a bad one.

27 For every man receiveth wages of him whom he listeth* to obey…

*listeth; to please or to choose


Our mind is a 24/7 theater for the competing enticements of Light and Dark. However, the two do work differently. Light whispers and involves the finer reflexes of our heart. Dark, on the other hand, is loud and works by jamming our channels with doubt, immorality and resentment. In short, the enticements we adopt and spotlight on our mind stage become our choices of whom we “list to obey.”

Have you ever noticed how your thinking affects your attitude, your productivity and your happiness? I’ve also noticed whatever thoughts I entertain on my mind’s stage influence how I perceive, treat and interact with others. What more, thoughts transform our relationships for love or for contention.

Thoughts can lead to actions which steady and upgrade our lives. They can set wonderful ideas into motion. Or they can squander and neutralize our whole day with poor choices, inferior moods, second-guessing ourselves, and undesirable outcomes.


My good friend and former bishop, Tom Howell shared, “In order to have agency and choice, we have to be enticed by both temptation and whisperings of the Spirit. Each time we choose good…we glorify God.”

Upgrading our thinking processes are an important part of our soul’s development and success. Thus, it is important we deliberately keep thoughts in check and direct them. How do we cold-shoulder the devil’s loudness so we can dial into the Spirit’s finer influence? Adjusting our environment and friends whenever we can, is certainly a major help. For sure, recommitting ourselves to prayer, inspirational music, scriptures, good conversations, quality relationships, kind deeds, and sacred ordinances also tip the scales largely in our favor.

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