The Gospel of Trying with Katie Hughes
Do you do a "one-word" type of challenge for the new year? Perhaps you should consider making "try" your word of 2023 as we focus in on what we can do to better grow closer to the Savior. Elder Holland, in a talk titled, "Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders among You," said that, "the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don't always succeed."
The Lord recognizes our efforts, and He loves us trying.
Today's episode echoes that same sentiment from Elder Holland, and Kathryn and Katie Hughes (@thehugheshouse) discuss how we can involve the Lord in all our "tries" and use the Spirit as our guide to being better disciples.
Top takeaways from this episode:
- The Spirit can motivate us to make efforts.
- Everyone receives the Spirit differently, and not all our efforts look the same.
- It takes time to listen and feel the Lord working in our lives, but he wants us to try.
- Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves, but we are doing good! And we can be counted on.
- The Lord will magnify your efforts.
Small & Simple Challenge
Learn the language of the Spirit and how He speaks to you. Learn how the Spirit guides your life and listen to His teachings. Your desire will magnify your efforts.
Elder Holland 00:00
With the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the strength of heaven to help us, we can improve. And the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don't always succeed.
Kathryn Davis 00:20
Hi, and welcome to magnify, an LDS Living podcast where we cheer, inspire and embolden each other as women and followers of Christ. We hope to use our influence to make a difference in the world. I'm your host, Kathryn Davis, a mom, a seminary teacher, and a grilling enthusiast who loves God. Do any of you do a one word type of challenge for the new year? we were inspired by our guest today who echoes the same sentiments that elder Holland has shared. And that is that sometimes the outcome is all about trying. Katie Hughes decided that the word she would choose to define her year was try. Katie Hughes is a mom, a friend and a disciple of Jesus Christ who hopes that everyday she can work with the Lord to try to be a little better. She asks herself, what if I tried, what positive changes could be made? And we are so excited to discuss how we can all involve the Lord in our tries. And Katie, I'm so excited to have you here today that we can discuss how we can involve the Lord and all of our tries.
Katie Hughes 01:29
Thank you so much for having me here, Kathryn.
Kathryn Davis 01:32
So fun. So as you might know, we like to do a series of rapid fire questions so that our listeners can get to know our guests a little bit better. So I have a couple of rapid fire questions for you. Are you ready? Let's do it. Okay, so after some light Instagram stalking, I know that this year you are coming up on your 25th wedding anniversary with your husband Bill, the 25th is the silver year? And is there anything special you'd like to do for your anniversary?
Katie Hughes 02:03
Oh, my gosh, I love it. This is such a great question. And I feel like the older we've gotten and the farther we've gotten, the less we celebrate, I think because we realize our life is a celebration of our marriage. As we look at our children and expand, I think experiences with them have memories with them. I feel like I don't know that we like to do the things together. But we really love doing things with our family. So I imagine we'll just keep doing that. I don't know, we probably will keep doing something wonderful with our kids, because that's the life we built together. And that's where our love grows best.
Kathryn Davis 02:44
Oh, that's beautiful. I love that. Okay, speaking of your kids, you have a daughter that lives in Hawaii. Yes. Have you gone out to visit her? Have you had a chance to go out to visit her and when's your next trip scheduled?
Katie Hughes 02:58
We're headed there this spring. So excited about that. And we love that she chose to go to Hawaii, she was my one that was like, I don't even want to go to school. And so we're so happy that she is actually in school. And we do remind her she lives in Hawaii because she goes to school there. But we've come to just love this little island. And it was a little tricky when she moved there because you know, out of sight out of mind. And it was kind of like I don't know how to navigate, I can't help her when she lives so many, you know, 6000 miles away. So it's been like such a good experience for me to have a child away. I don't know, think about the ways that always she's expanding and growing. And all the ways I am too. And I don't know we love that island though.
Kathryn Davis 03:47
And I love that sometimes when they're gone. It makes that reunion that much better. You're so right. Yeah. Okay, so my last question is you do this amazing thing each week, and you call it My wish for women. And you share kind of profound thoughts. So what is one wish that you have for yourself right now?
Katie Hughes 04:07
Good question. I think a lot of the times that I'm sharing the messages they're actually, it's a message that I'm giving to my Relief Society. I'm serving as the president right now. And these are messages that have come from a year before. I feel like the messages I give each week to the women I serve are meant for them. But I do feel like a year later, I could share those same messages because I feel like there's doctrinal truths in them. And I feel like I'm always sharing what I actually need at the moment. So I would say the wish I want right now is my message for the week. I haven't written it for my for my ladies this weekend. I'm trying to remember what it is that I'm sharing tomorrow, but I share them on Wednesdays and it's just been a sweet thing to kind of consider to share what's in my heart with people just to be able to share freely. I think it's a beaut hoping and something I think all women need.
Kathryn Davis 05:02
And the influence that you can have and we can make when we're all trying, right. And that leads into what I want to talk with you about. And that's the word that you chose for the year and seeing as this is January, do you always choose a word to kind of focus on for the year? How long have you been doing that?
Katie Hughes 05:22
I have been doing it for I would say, maybe 10 years or so I've I've loved doing it. Sometimes I don't think I have one. And then some something will pop in my heart and in my mind, and what I've watched is how those words have transitioned over the years. They used to be, I would say, like more common. And now they really are unique. Like last year, my word was up of all the words it was up. And the reason why I picked it because I the night before New Year's Eve, I'd gotten home from a vacation. And I slipped on the ice and fell. And I was so sore and so hurt. And I just I couldn't. I just was like, Well, I gotta get up, right? And it just prompted a whole thought of getting up and giving up things maybe that that I don't need to do any more. Yeah, giving up in good ways. And I went through a whole series of ups and ways that I can cheer up and you know, look at look up and think of all the ways that was such like a beautiful exercise for me. On New Year's Eve.
Kathryn Davis 06:29
I have always well, I shouldn't say always, but for the last probably decade chosen a word for the new year, because for me, it just doesn't seem as overwhelming. Yeah, yeah, I have this list of things that I should do that I'm not doing well. And, and this year for me, I love the word that you've chosen. And my word came a little from conference. And it's just stayed on my heart. And I found it interesting that it's kind of worked its way up to the surface. And it came from I heard when I heard President Nelson talking about rest. And that word is just kind of stuck in my heart is finding rest. And how I'm not really good at that. I am kind of a Go Go Go Go Go type of person to and finding rest and Jesus Christ and what that looks like like that wholeness, and that completeness, third Jesus. So that's something that I have on my mind and my heart a lot. And then as I looked at your word, I think it goes so well, kind of with what's on my heart, too, and your word of try, because I really think the most powerful and beautiful part of Heavenly Father's plan is that even when we fail, which we will do multiple times every day. Yeah, we still get credit for trying. And so why do you feel like try was an important word for you this year? And how did you come up with that word?
Katie Hughes 07:55
Yeah, you know, just like you, I felt like I found that word like it found me. And I just kind of felt like, I'm not trying as much as I could I kind of find myself and I'm a middle aged woman, I'm resigned to the fact I am middle aged. And, and I find myself there's a lot of happiness that comes with that knowing I don't have to try as hard as I used to. I've earned it. I've earned this place. And then there's also this, I'm in the middle. And then there's a lot going on. I have kids ranging in age 22 graduate school, that college, high school, Junior High and Elementary School, I still got it. I've got that wide range of kids. And there's a little bit of give in my life. And there's parts of me that don't really want to try. There's parts of me that I'm just kind of tired. I'm tired. And I've been raising kids and doing this and running things and businesses and stuff for a long, long time. There's parts of me that is exhausted, to be totally honest, I get that. And so I felt like try is one of those things that I felt like I could give this. I can actually give this to the Lord a little bit more. Like what if I tried a little harder with my study? What if I tried connecting more with him daily in prayer? What if I tried an actual you know, routine of physical fitness or took just better care of my body? What if I actually tried what would it look like? You know, I love I love this word, but I will be honest, I am easing into it. I think so many of us make goals, we are set, we are ready to go and I think people are successful with those. And there's such satisfaction in the success. For me. I know there's a lot of give in my life. There's a lot of things that are imbalanced. And so I feel like easing into what might look like my try for the year is a process. I'm in the process of trying right now. No, and looking and finding that and seeing what that is for me, and I found this thing. It was just a post and I was really touched by it. But she was talking somehow about how January isn't the time of year. In fact, do you mind if I read it to you? Can I just read it? Okay, love it. She says, I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating. It's okay if January doesn't feel like the new year to you. The dead of winter is the wrong time to focus on new things, new goals, new habits. In my opinion, the new year is the perfect time to plant the seeds of what will become your goals. You drop little nuggets of inspiration into the cold, dark soil of January. And then you wait, watch and wonder. Patience is required. Germination takes time. Don't rush, it's still winter, nourish yourself. I love that. And I loved the give in that I love the grace in that I love the process of planting a seed. And like nourishing it maybe with our thoughts, maybe with prayer, maybe with study. And maybe we don't have full clarity on what a year should look like. But maybe we look and maybe by March or April, it's germinated there is growth. We are seeing it. I just love the thought of the space we could give to January to be that. And I think I'm in the easing and trying of what that looks like for me.
Kathryn Davis 11:29
I think that's so important. And can we unpack that a little bit about what you said? Because I love that you wrote in your post about the word try. You said what if I tried? What would happen in my life? What positive changes could be made? The idea of just planting seeds with trying. Right? So where in your life can you see just beginning to plant seeds in January? Yeah. What are you focusing on with trying just kind of easing into that?
Katie Hughes 11:58
Right now, to be totally honest, it looks like yeah, organizing my home a little better. Making my systems work better for me are what I'm easing into, you know, and feeling like I need to try differently. I mean, sometimes we try and try forever. And we think it's the only way and the one sure way, when really trying sometimes looks like we shift. And we try a new plan, a new system, a new way of doing things. And so for sure it's in my home and family. For sure it's within me as we start a new, you know, season of Come follow me and my personal study, it's all all the things, trying new things, trying again.
Kathryn Davis 12:43
I like that train again. And as you focus on trying, which I think is such a beautiful word, where do you see the Savior? Do you see him stepping in and efforts in other ways?
Katie Hughes 12:56
I love that my relationship with the Savior. It's been a unique thing. I've always felt him there. I've always felt like I've had a savior and love for him. But really him entering my story is kind of a new understanding for me. I'm the type that I would look at that image of the Savior that many of us grew up with, and think that Jesus was maybe mad at me not mad at me. But just maybe like, I don't know, that I could do better.
Kathryn Davis 13:25
Katie Hughes 13:26
Disappointed, maybe. I mean, there was a little glimmer of smile. And so for me, it's been discovering who Jesus is, and who he really is for me. And so I'm looking for ways constantly to have him connect with me and me connect with him in ways that feels impactful and beautiful for my life. And so I think about ways that we can become like him, because of him. That's how he's impacting my trying is just a relationship with him a knowledge of Him and understanding of his stories, the miracles, the way he taught, the way he touched the way he testified of God and His plan. These are the things that bless my life and helped me realize he needs to be there in the middle of it. He needs to be there in the middle of all the try.
Kathryn Davis 14:16
And really like such an amazing opportunity this year as we study the New Testament and come follow me to see his interactions with people. Right? Like I used to view a little bit more of what you did that maybe I was disappointing him or not meeting expectations. And the more I have come to know him and the more I know that he is never disappointed or angry or upset and I think he celebrates our tries. Right. And for me it goes with your word from last year the "up" that we're going to fall down Yeah. And that the Savior is there to celebrate those tries and help us back up.
Katie Hughes 14:58
Kathryn Davis 14:59
He They're in the middle of it.
Katie Hughes 15:01
He really is. And I can't remember who said it. But recently, you know how the Lord loves effort. I mean, President Nelson, how many times have we heard people grab a hold of that? Because it's really true. It's a true principle that we are imperfect, we will have to try again and again and again, as we work to refine our lives and perfect our souls and ourselves and our families. I mean, there is going to be try. And so that effort, I think he recognizes, just as you said, and he loves us trying, and not that He loves us falling, but I think he loves us getting back up and being able to witness that we need him, and that we need him more and more and more as we go throughout life.
Kathryn Davis 15:46
And Katie, don't you agree that sometimes that trying is going to look different every day? Yeah, like that effort, like what I can do today, maybe that's getting out of bed for someone on a particular day, or maybe my trying is going to look different today than it is tomorrow in between all of that there's grace, and there's compassion, and there's acceptance. And I think as women, there's so much that is coming at us. And so much where we feel like we can do more or be more, it can sometimes be hard and difficult to stay motivated and stay positive through it all. So you wrote again, in this post, you said, it's the spirit that motivates me. And I kind of want to know, what does that mean to you? How does the spirit motivate you?
Katie Hughes 16:35
I feel like the spirit is one of those, like, we talk a lot about Heavenly Father, we talk a lot about Jesus, but the spirit to me, I love the thought of us being given the Spirit, the Holy Ghost, at baptism, given the Holy Ghost that lives within us. And I love the thought of this Spirit working hand in hand with my own spirit, like hand in hand, sold a soul, they are working together. Yeah. And trying to lead my life. And one thing I did want to say really quick is Elder Bednar in another podcast shared about how we worry about whether or not we have the spirit we think about right, so do I have the spirit or not. And he just talks about the power of covenants and the covenant, we make a sacrament that we promise that we will always remember him. In return, he promises that we'll always have the Spirit to be with us. It's a beautiful exchange. Every Sunday as we go, and we make those covenants at sacrament, I love the thought that we can just be assured, as we're striving, as we're trying, as we're working to do all that's required of us, we have the spirit, we can trust that we have the Spirit, he basically said you've got it. You know, what we actually need to be concerned about is when the spirit leaves and he says, you know, when it leaves, you can know when it leaves and when you need to, you know, retreat and not be a part of that. But just to be relying on the spirit more is my goal. And I'm now instead of being like, well, do I have the spirit or not? I'm now moving forward with my life with the knowledge that I have it.
Kathryn Davis 18:23
you have it? I think that thought Katie is so powerful. And I think it's often really misunderstood. I know a few years ago, I was sitting in a meeting with seminary and Institute teachers and Elder Bednar was teaching seminarian Institute teachers about the spirit and I just sat there realizing, oh my gosh, so many times we teach it wrong. When Nephi was looking back on his life. And you mentioned that when you look back on your life, you can see how sometimes the spirit has led and guided and directed you. But a lot of times in the moment, we might not see it. We are living in the spirit when the spirit is all around and to trust and rely on that. Elder Bednar did challenge he just said, sometimes it's easier to notice when the spirits not there than when the spirit is. And I liked that idea of just knowing and trusting that the Spirit will guide and direct and sometimes it's in the looking back. Have you found that the spirit communicates with you differently than, say, your husband or your children? Like how have you learned how the spirit communicates with you?
Katie Hughes 19:26
I feel like I had a mother who taught me to kind of tap into my own way I listened like I loved that she said and taught me. You may feel the spirit this way. Or you might not. You know, and she taught me multiple ways people felt the spirit. I remember her talking to me about how she felt a tingling in her head sometimes on her head and I thought Oh, that's interesting. She has a physical manifestation of the Spirit. Well, I thought that was unique until I remember being in college and praying about some really heartfelt things. And especially when I wanted to marry my husband and was working to feel a confirmation of that. And I felt a physical manifestation. I don't feel it all the time. I feel that maybe twice a year, and not even the times when I would think not even like the big powerful times when I would expect it. And sometimes it's just that feeling. It's the first thought I never hear a voice. I mean, I'm gonna say never right now, but maybe I will at some point, but I haven't. But I have thoughts come through my heart, my mind. And I just know it's a direction I need to go. And reoccurring thoughts to me is the Spirit working with me, I might have that one thought I might not be keyed in to know that that is the first thing I need to do or listen to. But if I have a reoccurring thought, I know that the Spirit working within me and helping me see a direction I need to go or do.
Kathryn Davis 21:04
that's so good. And I think that's so important. Because we compare how people feel the spirit, and we think, Oh, if I don't feel that, then I'm not feeling the spirit. And the Spirit communicates in all languages. So as you talk about that, like, have you seen an example where the Spirit has motivated you to continue to try? Or what does that look like for you, because it's going to be different for everyone.
Katie Hughes 21:29
I feel like I've had to work for like a track record of listening to the Spirit. And that means there's been some fails and some successes right in my life. And I think part of our humanity, we learn as we go. So I mean, I have a funny story. And it's like my best worst example of listening. And I've shared it before, but I remember one specific time when I was asked through someone in my DMs and she was a mother of an acquaintance in Arizona, and she said, Hey, so and so's moving to your area. She'd love a friend, would you reach out to her and be a friend? And I was like, Absolutely, I would love to be her friend. Let me do that. Let me be that person. And I really did feel called to help. I remember one day and I've reached out a little bit. But I remember one day, I had a very specific feeling that I needed to buy this woman a picture of the Gilbert, Arizona temple and take it to her. And I just got thinking, and I got caught up in my thinking. And I thought, Oh, I'm not just going to take her any picture of the Gilbert
Kathryn Davis 22:41
Questioning that thought.
Katie Hughes 22:42
Yeah. In fact, I think I'll take her a picture of the Gilbert temple at sunset, because the sunsets in Arizona are just beautiful. So I went online, I found a photographer who had done a beautiful image of the Gilbert temple at sunset, downloaded it from Etsy sent it off to Costco to get developed or whatever, picked it up. And when I picked it up, it was kind of dark, like, I don't know if I toggled something different. But it didn't look like the image just came back much darker. And I thought, Oh, I can't give her this image. It's not, it's not up to speed. It's not what I would want her, you know, to receive. And so I set it aside. And I had kind of a work show that I was at that coming week. And I thought I'll get back to it. When I'm done with this. I happened to find another woman there who is my friend and had a common connection with this same woman. And she came to me at that show. And she said, Hey, have you talked to so and so lately? And I said, No, that's so funny. She's been on my mind, though. And I know I need to reach out. She said, I had the most interesting thought come to me the other day, I had a very clear thought that I needed to take her a picture of the Gilbert Arizona temple. And so I just went to the store, I got a picture and I took it right there that afternoon. And I was equally devastated and deeply grateful, just amazed that the Spirit works and that the Lord loves this woman so much to give this message to both of us. And really, truly the Lord will send messages to those willing to listen, and I was listening in my heart. But you know, we get caught up in what things need to look like it should look like. So it's my best worst example, you know, or my worst best example whatever we want to say, you know, and it is one of those things that has touched me and been a pivotal moment for me. I want to be one who listens and I need to get out of my own way. We have to have those times when we didn't listen and should have enough for us to be able to be like okay, I want to listen, I want to be prepared at any time on a moment's notice to be an instrument.
Kathryn Davis 24:59
I love that story, because I think sometimes we all have limitations, right? And we really can't do it all, all at once. But I think there's a fine line between letting that discourage us. And helping that to motivate us. Like instead of feeling like, oh, I failed, and I disappointed Heavenly Father, and I didn't get that done. How do you stay out of the discouragement and move towards letting that motivate you, rather than discouraging you?
Katie Hughes 25:30
I think it's just my understanding that like, I will fail. I think the realness in that I mean, we've got to be real with ourselves like we will fail, but also, we're good, we're good. And we can be counted on is like that yin and yang, or the the evil spirit of the angel on our shoulders. I mean, there's both of that and our internal dialogue. And so I guess I feel like I'm motivated because of that, like, I see where I lack. But I also know, I'm imperfect, and the Lord doesn't expect me to be perfect. And so I feel like as we just reasoned with ourselves and recognize, we just need him desperately, I feel like we get to that place where we can be motivated. And let's try again, let's do this again, let's connect again through the Spirit. And let's see what we can do together.
Kathryn Davis 26:20
And I think trying will look different for everyone. And it will look different, like I said before, given the day, like some days our trying might be getting out of bed. Yeah, right. But I love that God will make up the difference in our try, because of His grace and His love. And I count on that. I bank on that, that if I try, he will make up the difference, but not only make up the difference that he will magnify my effort. In Doctrine & Covenants 46, verse nine, it says, "For verily I say unto you, the gifts of God are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all My commandments. And for them that seeketh so to do." And I take that promise, and I will take it to the bank every day that if I try, he will make up the difference. Not only that, more importantly, he will magnify my efforts. And have you felt Christ make up the difference when you're trying?
Katie Hughes 27:24
Absolutely. And I feel like we can't see that without a relationship with him interesting. Like, it's really hard to see how he's making up the difference without knowing who he is. And that this is actually who he is. He makes up the difference. I mean, he is working miracles in our lives. He's lifting us up, when we fall down. He's giving us the messages we need for our lives. And a relationship with Him. looks so much like us seeing that and recognizing the difference he makes, and we have to see him in our lives. So where
Kathryn Davis 28:01
in your life where have you seen the effort you have made an experience or a time where God not only made up the difference, but magnified what you were doing?
Katie Hughes 28:11
I wish I could think of one time. Yeah, I feel like every day, every week, every year as I'm just trudging along, which feels like it's a trudge sometimes let's be honest, it is a trudge, but I just see him with me. And a lot of times it is me looking back and seeing it. And it's hard at times to when you're in the middle of it. And I think that's why reflection. I mean, I know people are really good journal writers. I'm not I wish I was. I'm not either, but I have a place I find myself watching him, you make up the difference. Like in my family, often. My husband and I this year, you know, we've talked about how we really want to refocus our efforts on teaching our kids of Jesus, like we actually don't know that we've done a very good job at this. We hope we have, but we don't know that we have. And so we're making an added effort in our family to send a message each week through our family group chat. It's just a message about Jesus. And by the end, we'll hopefully have 52 messages of Jesus from my husband and I. I see him like making up the difference a little bit like I maybe didn't do so good at that. I hope I did. I hope I did. But for whatever reason I'm feeling called to witness and testify of Jesus and who he is. And and so we were watching the Lord work through the Spirit to guide us in an effort to do better with that. So I feel like there can be times like that where we see him making up the difference.
Kathryn Davis 29:49
So important to remember. Right and I know and maybe that's part of the reason why I've chosen rest for this year is I like to do a lot and and be a lot and try new things. And I put a lot on my plate. And then I feel like I am failing at all of it. And I let all the balls drop. And just, I think the older I get, the more I realized that there are days where I just pray, and I say, Heavenly Father I am here. That's kind of all I have today. And so can you help in whatever way that is? And I truly believe that because of the Savior, that he can magnify my efforts as a mom, even when it's probably not a great job, but I'm doing my best, and he can magnify that. So Katie, each episode, we close out with a small and simple challenge, a challenge that can help us focus on Jesus Christ and something that is easy for us to do. So what is your small and simple invitation this week?
Katie Hughes 30:58
My invitation for you is to learn the language of the spirit. Learn how the spirit guides your life, and listen to how it's teaching you to try. I think the spirit guides us and wants us and that's the motivator for trying. And I feel like if we want to try better, and be more clear in our efforts to follow him. I feel like listening to the spirit is key and and we'll watch how the Lord guides us through the Spirit to ease into what that train can look like for us in our lives and what efforts we can make to change and do better and be better.
Kathryn Davis 31:41
I am a believer that, that God can use the Spirit to speak every and any language, whether that's basketball, or football, or swimming or photography or music, whatever that is. God can speak to your heart in your language. And I love that challenge to go find what your language is and recognize that and then don't second guess and doubt it. I love that. Katie, thank you so much for being here. To find more of Katie and her work. Go check her out on Instagram at the Hughes house. And don't forget to join us over on Instagram at magnify community. And of course, subscribe and listen to the magnify podcasts wherever you get your shows. Thanks for being here and let's meet up again next week.