Seek and expect miracles
Yes, I know how incredible that may sound to some, especially if your life hasn’t gone the way you expected. You’ve probably also had some painful experiences involving either someone else deciding against you in a single instance or many others using their agency across multiple instances. Maybe you’ve experienced both. But even if you’ve had the whole world against you, I still say seek and expect miracles.
Believe in miracles
We typically think of miracles as events that defy the laws of nature. For me, miracles are manifestations of one or more universal laws we don’t understand fully.
This shift in perspective is essential to why I say we should seek and expect miracles. The perspectives we take and the assumptions we embrace are everything; they’re key components of our thinking, which produces our actions, which in turn produces our results. In the end, we all want results, so when we don’t get desired results, we need to examine our thinking.
President Nelson begins his comments on miracles with this declaration:
First, he illustrates his concept with the words of a single adult! And this wasn’t just any single. No, Moroni had everything ripped from him. He witnessed the destruction of his people in a horrible war, leaving him to wander alone for the safety of his own life. Yet he still declared fervent belief in miracles.
All lives have painful disappointments, but most don’t compare to Moroni’s. If in his circumstances he could find the strength to believe in miracles, could we not muster the courage to do the same?
President Nelson continued,
It’s not just Moroni but every book of scripture declaring belief in miracles — all the more reason to question our perspectives and assumptions leading us to disbelieve in miracles. While we question, we should remember the Prophet’s caveat: Miracles can take time and may not unfold how we expect. So often LDS singles seeking a miracle expect something so inconsistent with universal law they take the absence of their miracle as evidence against miracles.
Do the work
That last phrase caught my attention. How many LDS singles have approached their desire for a miracle “doubting nothing”? Most of us have doubts, some so much so they’re consumed by them. And yet “doubting nothing” is part of the price of faith we must pay for admission to the miracle show.
That means we’ve got work to do. It’s no surprise then to see President Nelson’s next words:
How often have we advocated taking ownership of your life, or doing what’s in your power, or partnering with the Lord? Results come from only one thing — action. To score points, you must quit sitting on the sidelines and get on the field. So often the miracle we want is perfection delivered to our doorstep. In reality, we need to partner with the Lord, accept His guidance, and do the work that will create our miracle.
Trust His promises
So many LDS singles wanting a miracle are faint. They’re weary. They’re beat down by the vicissitudes of life that point their gaze towards their weaknesses and imperfections, leaving them to wonder how their miracle could ever happen.
But none of that matters when you partner with the Lord, for He “giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” With Him, we can do anything, even move the mountain seemingly standing before us.
So yes, even if you’ve had the whole world against you, I still say seek and expect miracles. Believe they can happen for you. Partner with the Lord and do the work you must do to have your miracle. You can then live with confidence that in time your miracle will happen. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Power of spiritual momentum
To assist all in gaining and maintaining positive spiritual momentum, the Prophet makes five recommendations:
Far be it from me to discount the covenant path. It’s so essential the Prophet lists it first among his recommendations. That said, I’d like to begin with his second point: Discover the joy of daily repentance.
When I was a young man, I thought of repentance as something for the big wrongs we do. Few if any of us do anything big every day, so in this view, repentance becomes an occasional activity. Yet President Nelson’s sees more broadly. Not only should we embrace repentance daily, we can also find joy when we do.
Simply put, daily repentance is just daily improvement, making small changes every day that move us forward. President Nelson taught,
If that’s true, then daily repentance is the key to daily progress.
These ideas apply directly to LDS singles who want more from their lives. Far too many of us are waiting around for our happily ever after to be thrust upon us. We need to use the gift of agency God has granted us and choose to do the little things day by day that will over time aggregate into the happily ever after we seek.
And since we’re talking here about singles, it shouldn’t surprise anyone I’ll focus on the Prophet’s fourth suggestion: Seek and expect miracles. The battering many singles receive from ineffective approaches to dating leave many thinking the only way their happily ever after will come to them is by a miracle.
That thinking has led also to this conclusion: The miracle they need just won’t happen. They don’t see any way anyone they like could like them. They don’t see how anyone would accept them with all their imperfections and disadvantages.
But President Nelson sees very differently. He declared,
In the end, it all comes down to what you really believe. If you don’t believe, you won’t receive. Faith must precede the miracle. And as President Nelson taught, it must be the kind of faith that doubts nothing.
We’ll of course discuss these and more points from President Nelson’s address in the broadcast today. In the end, we always get what we give. Those who consistently give the small contributions to their success day in and day out will eventually get the success they seek.
In all of our efforts, we must remember patience. It takes time to build momentum. As we discussed earlier, just doing 1% more each day will result in a 38% improvement after one year. The first three months of that year, you go from your baseline (where you are now) to 2X. But in the last three months, you go from 15X to 38X. Why the vast difference in improvement? Because you have momentum by the time you reach the last three months, but when you just start out, you don’t.
And you can best hold to momentum when you partner with the Lord. He can show you the 1% improvement you need to make every day. He can support you in making it every day. He can strengthen you with patience as you build your needed momentum.
So experience the power of spiritual momentum. Make the small changes every day you need to make to lay your daily brick, and in time you’ll have a wonderful edifice housing your dreams and the best life that awaits you there. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Party your life
I then took that thinking a step further. What quality does my life really have if I’m too busy to enjoy it? That’s why I want to circle back today. I want to try to recapture part of what I missed when Cinco de Mayo passed me by uncelebrated, because to enjoy life truly, you need to party your life.
Celebrate every day
We’d all agree anything taken to excess is bad and occasional recreation is good. But what is recreation? I mean, what is it really?
If we examine the word, we find the prefix re-, meaning again, followed by creation. So literally recreation means creating again. And what are we creating again if not ourselves? Yes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and Jill a dull girl, but true recreation is not simply play. True recreation leaves us renewed, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle anew the challenges before us.
That doesn’t happen with just an occasional respite from our labors. The Sabbath provides that every week, and although I’ve certainly experienced a greater quality of life as I’ve honored the Sabbath, something’s missing. Yes, hard times come to everyone, but shouldn’t there be a general feeling of enjoyment in life? If I’m doing it right, shouldn’t I feel every day is worth celebrating?
Lighten your load
That’s where the idea to party your life takes center stage. That’s doesn’t mean all play and no work. Work is essential to self-esteem, but, as I just said, all work and no play makes us dull. There’s a sweet spot in the middle where we have a sense of balance.
That equilibrium point is, I believe, the party pad, the place where we enjoy the highest quality of life because that point is where we most feel to celebrate our life every day. The key, then, to party your life is balance. And I think that balance comes not only from what we do but how we approach what we do.
For example, if you’re being pulled in too many directions, your life won’t feel balanced. How can it when you’ve got so much competing for your limited time? But you get the same result from approaching life with too much emphasis on any one element. By concerning yourself so much with one element, you can’t effectively work on anything else.
The simple answer is to simplify. If you’re too busy to smell the roses along your journey, drop what you can so you can. Likewise, if you’re so focused excessively on one element, drop the excess baggage and lighten your load.
Come to Him
For many, that’s easier said than done. You can have so much of importance it feels like you can’t drop anything. And it’s not like you quit worrying about some concern just by flipping a switch, especially if holding onto that concern has become habitual.
If the key is balance, then the key to getting and staying there is your relationship with the Lord. He can help you see the way to balance because He is the way. Through His Spirit, He can teach you what you need to do. By coming to Him, He can carry your burdens and lighten your load. He can help you find and stay at that equilibrium point where you can most feel to celebrate your life, because it will be the life He has given you.
So party your life. Let God prevail and recreate you into more than what you could become without Him. When you do, you’ll better find the balance you need to party your life. In that space, you’ll not just feel better but be better. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
The mothers we don’t see
Yet the theme of broadening the definition of motherhood once more captures my attention. Especially among singles, we see women who haven’t given birth to children complain about how celebrating Mother’s Day simply rubs in their face the dream they want but don’t have.
The truth is you don’t need to birth a child to be a mother. But for many, that’s easier said than believed. So this Mother’s Day, let’s honor motherhood by helping everyone believe that. Let’s help our single sisters identify themselves as the mothers they are for the care they show to others. Let’s honor those who play motherly roles to others — the mothers we don’t see.
See what already is
I call them “the mothers we don’t see” not because we’re blind to them. Of course we physically see them. But too often we’ve not seen these women as mothers because they have no children of their own. We need to see these women for the mothers they already are.
Yes, they haven’t borne children, but they do have children who love them for the care these good women show them. Some of these women are Primary teachers or school teachers who find great fulfillment by “adopting” the children of others. And yet other single sisters show great care to grown children of our Heavenly Father. You don’t need to be a mortal child to appreciate the care shown by single sisters who adopt motherly roles for themselves.
Such broadened perspective reveals meaningful lives because motherhood is about something more fundamental than delivering a physical body into the mortal world. Motherhood is about sharing love with those who need it. And that’s something every woman can do, regardless of marital status or life circumstance. Celebrating those women who make that choice helps everyone adopt a broader perspective on what motherhood really is.
See what could be
Seeing our single sisters for the mothers they already are can also help them believe in the mothers they could be in the future. I believe many single sisters (and many single brethren, for that matter) keep themselves from having their own children principally because they don’t believe in their own potential. It’s always easier to believe in you when others do too.
But most people will take their cues about you from you. So when you don’t believe in the blessings our Heavenly Father wants you to have, you radiate an energy that broadcasts what you really feel and think inside of you. And others pick up on that energy. They presume you’re the expert on you, so if you think you don’t have a blessed future, most will simply defer to your expertise, thereby fulfilling a type of self-fulfilled prophecy.
Think for a moment what might happen if we celebrated women not just for the motherly roles they do play but the ones they could. We could help those sisters who haven’t believed in themselves to turn around and change course. We could help them become the mothers they’re capable of becoming, launching loads of love into the lives of people all around.
Celebrate a broader vision
We’re all biologically hardwired to get our sense of normal from those around us. So when everyone around us thinks motherhood means bearing children, it’s normal for us to think likewise.
But that works in other ways too. If everyone around us believes motherhood is really about sharing love with those who need it, then we establish a new standard for normal. It’ll be easier to believe that’s what motherhood really is all about. And it’s even easier to believe that when we celebrate the women who live that definition of motherhood.
So this Mother’s Day, by all means celebrate your own mother. But let’s also celebrate the mothers we don’t see, the women who we traditionally haven’t seen as mothers but who are mothers all the same for the love they share with others in need. More celebrations of love will encourage even more love, helping to push back the darkness of the world. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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