In the church that I attend, we have a stake president, which is a leader over quite a lot of people (roughly 3600). Then we have a bishop who is over a smaller amount of people within that 3600 (about 400). Our stake president and his counselors, along with the 9 bishops in my area decided that July would be deemed as "family month". This means that no extra meetings outside of our Sunday service would be held in order to encourage quality family time. This was the second year that I participated in this new tradition, and I love it! At first I was a little resistant, simply because it was a change that seemed a little unnecessary, but so beneficial when used correctly; to spend valuable time with our families.
For the month of July, Gracie (my 12 year old daughter) and I made the commitment to go to the temple every Friday. Going to the temple for a 12 year old means she gets to participate in standing in (being a proxy) for someone who passed from this life and didn't have a chance to be baptized. This affords that person the opportunity to accept that gift in the afterlife. She also gets to stand in for someone to allow them to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is the ability to receive comfort, direction, and knowledge line upon line. This is also a choice that gets to be made by the deceased in the afterlife.
As we went today, I was contemplating on being clean. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that there is a cleansing that takes place as you are preparing for baptism, which is the first step towards becoming closer to God and our Savior Jesus Christ. This would be symbolic of an "outer cleansing" as our bodies are physically placed under the water and come up renewed. In order to get to this stage, however, there is a cleansing of the inner parts of our bodies as well. We must possess faith (a cleansing of the mind), which means we have a belief that what we are doing is right, even if we can't see or know the exact reason why yet. We must also be willing to repent (a cleansing of the heart), which means we fix the wrongs that we have committed to the best of our abilities and let God take care of the rest (pain, embarrassment, etc).
I was relating this to how we care for our physical bodies on a daily basis. For me, my body really appreciates a good workout involving a high heart rate, sore muscles and lots of sweating (TMI, sorry). The first thing I want to do (my family does too!) when I walk through the doors of my house is get off the stink (burnt corn chips smell) and become clean again. The feeling of a shower after a long days work, a super fun off-roading mud trip, or the start to your day, brings the cleansing of our outer bodies that gives us energy to relax from the hard work or energy to perform something great. This to me is similar to being baptized. We are washing away the stink of our lives, stink that we have all had!
Then I think of how faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and repentance for wrong doings is part of our every day lives. We have faith that the sun will rise each morning and set each night. We have faith that with one more passing day, we become one day older. Petty things really, but we all have faith in something, even if we don't choose to believe in God.
Repentance is a daily task/chore as well. We ALL MAKE MISTAKES EVERY DAY THAT NEED TO BE FORGIVEN! This could be doing something we shouldn't have, not doing something we should have, lying to get what we want, lying to prevent judgment from others, pretending we're someone we're not to fit in, raising our voices, flipping off the person who cut you off, rolling your eyes at someone, blaming others, etc. We must fix the mistakes we have made, even if it's an outward sorry that God hears because we can't make it right with the stranger we flipped off and then feel guilty for 5 miles down the road.
Just like attending the temple for me and my daughter gives someone else the opportunity to have the same blessings that I do even though they have passed on, reminds me how I need to keep doing those things for myself. To become like God, we must be clean, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Regardless of your beliefs, you can become clean each day as you care for your physical body, have faith that things are working together FOR you and righting your wrongs. Drop by drop, you are filling your vessel that will draw you closer to God.