Many LDS singles may write this off as some same-old-ball-and-chain response that doesn’t really help them, but I won’t. President Nelson answered the question in a way that helps LDS singles move forward in their lives. We just need to dig a little deeper to see that answer, which lies in the covenant path. We walk that path when we heed the call of the Master, “Come, follow me.”
Choose to follow Him
President Nelson speaking of the covenant path shouldn’t surprise us. That idea has been prominent since he became the Prophet. The Brethren have used that phrase significantly more after President Nelson became the Prophet than they did before.
I believe it’s essential for LDS singles who desire the blessings of family. “Where is my family?” you ask. I answer, “Along the covenant path.” Listen to these words from a living Prophet.
Did you catch that? “Christ has offered His mighty arm to help all who choose to follow Him.” Christ will help you achieve your blessings, but only by staying on the covenant path will you attract the companion who’ll go with you to the House of the Lord to begin your eternal family.
Examine your assumptions
Much of the frustration people have stems from fault assumptions. Assumptions provide the foundation behind our actions. We typically don’t act contrary to what we assume is true. That’s just how we’re biologically hardwired.
President Nelson cited two false assumptions many in the world make regarding eternal families. He mentioned how love songs have popularized the false notion that love is all you need to be together forever. And he described how some have twisted the truth about the Resurrection to extend beyond just saving individuals from physical death.
Of course, quoting from D&C 132:7, which President Nelson did, sufficiently quells that erroneous assumption. But what other faulty assumptions do people have regarding eternal families? In particular, what faulty assumptions do LDS singles have regarding eternal families?
Think about those questions as you consider President Nelson’s words:
Here we see people assuming things will just work out. Many LDS singles make a similar assumption: Righteousness alone provides the blessings of an eternal family. I can’t tell you how often I’ve wished that were true. I’d have shed my single status a long time ago. But the world our Lord made works a little differently.
Stay on the path
The Lord has taught that “when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:21). If the blessing of temple marriage rested upon righteousness, then righteousness should always result in temple marriage. Because that’s obviously not true, it follows that righteousness alone is not the law upon which the blessing of temple marriage is predicated.
What then is? The fundamentals of dating teach that each major step in your journey to temple marriage is essentially an agreement — a mutual decision between you and someone else to take that next step. How do you secure an agreement? By being agreeable. Often that means offering something of value.
How can you make yourself more agreeable? Righteousness alone doesn’t cut it. And you won’t get the something more you need if you step off the covenant path. Doing that makes you less likely to receive the revelation you need to know what that something more is.
So stay on the covenant path. No other path leads to the temple and the blessings of an eternal family. By staying on the covenant path, you heed the call of the Master to come and follow Him. And by following Him, He can more easily bless you with the revelation you need and other tender mercies to support you in your righteous quest. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Positive energy can grow and spread like a virus. As long as you keep feeding it, your positive energy level can exert an increasingly greater influence over not only what you do but what others around you do. You’ll attract into your life positive people who provide more fuel for your fire, increasing your PEL even more.
Plus there’s no downside, just an upside that gets better and better and better. If you haven’t done so already, you definitely want to catch the contagion.
Make the switch
Of course, the natural question is this: How do I get positive energy if I don’t already have it? Positive energy is like anything else that can grow; if you don’t feed it, it dies. You also need to nurture it in the early stages of growth.
Transitioning from habits of negative emotion to habits supporting positive energy can present challenges. But none of those challenges are insurmountable.
You have the power within you to make this happen. How do I know? The Lord himself declared it. “For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward” (D&C 58:28, emphasis added).
Did you catch that? The Creator of the universe has decreed you have power within you — power to do great things and bring about goodness into the world around you. Those great things and that goodness include switching to a positive-energy-filled life. You can overcome whatever challenges stand between you and that life, because the power is in you.
Get it to grow
Here it’s natural to start asking after specific actions you can take to make the switch. As I said, positive energy will die if you don’t feed it. So how do you feed it?
Start by recognizing the two aspects to growth: You must germinate the seed, and you must nourish the growth. You germinate the seed of positive energy by changing the way you think. In my experience, those who struggle with embracing consistent positive energy have a mindset that feeds negative energy and is reinforced with negative self talk. You must think in ways that support positive energy, or you’ll never be able to keep it even if you happen to catch it.
So examine your habits. Don’t like what you find? Evaluate the assumptions behind those habits. Often, those trapped in negative emotion patterns work off of faulty assumptions. For example, a negative self talk piece common amongst many LDS singles is “I’ll never be accepted by a potential companion because I don’t have __________ .” Fill in the blank with whatever you like, but the result is the same. Working under that assumption will never lead you to the positive energy you need to have your best life.
Once you germinate the seed. you must feed your positive energy. That means replacing negative self talk habits with positive ones as well as exercising care with the inputs to your life, especially in terms of media and people.
Spread it around
You’ll know you’ve caught the positive energy “bug” once you get it. There won’t be any doubt, because like a virus it’ll spread to influence every area of your life. When that moment comes, you’ll feed your positive energy by spreading it to others.
This really is the best part. You’ll radiate positive energy to others, and they have their own positive energy that radiates back to you, feeding your positive energy, which you give back to them. It’s a continuous cycle of growth that feeds itself.
So catch the contagion. The difference between life without and with positive energy is so night and day you’ll never go back once truly have it. The goodness you bring into the world with your positive energy will inspire untold numbers to do the same, yielding untold blessings into your life. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
You may or may not get any presents when your birthday comes around. But on that special day (and every other day as well), I hope you give yourself a very special present — the gift of letting go.
Let go of resentment
We don’t often think of a gift as something we release. Usually a gift is something we receive. But letting go of some things lets you receive other things of far greater value.
For example, when you let go of resentment and the desire to “set things right,” you give yourself the freedom to forgive. I’ve heard countless stories about singles who suffered injustice because of their single status. I’ve also had my own experiences, some of which I’ve shared in this forum. But I also understand that holding onto excess baggage only weighs you down, making your journey more burdensome than it needs to be. And that’s what resentment and the self-righteous insistence on “setting things right” are — excess baggage you don’t need.
I understand the grip of resentment. You feel so justified in righting a wrong and reversing injustice. Letting go seems to be the last thing you should do. But it’s the first thing you must to do to be free to forgive. Let the past remain the past. Let go of your resentment and focus instead on the bright and glorious future you can have ahead of you.
Let go of faulty thinking
Likewise, you should let go of any faulty thinking holding you back from achieving everything you were meant to become. False assumptions and negative self talk are two especially festering faults common among singles.
I’ve spoken at length previously about the dangers of self talk; you hold yourself back with your own messages. But false assumptions can also hold you back from achieving your potential as well as dreams and goals.
For example, many LDS singles assume the eternal companion they seek is about their age. That assumption keeps you from considering a larger sample of prospects. And that larger sample just might include the one you’re seeking.
Case in point: President Hinckley’s parents were 13 years apart. Would we have had President Hinckley’s wonderful influence if his father had not adopted different assumptions about age in a companion? And would President Hinckley’s father have experienced the same growth had he kept more traditional assumptions? Now there’s food for thought.
Let go of the hurt
Many LDS singles also need to let go of their hurt. No matter if their pain comes from never getting married, divorce, or the death of a spouse, many singles restrict themselves from the joy they could otherwise have, most especially the freedom to love.
Letting go of hurt is perhaps the scariest type of letting go. As strange as it may sound, many find staying inside one’s shell of pain more comfortable than the alternative. That’s because the alternative leaves them vulnerable to be hurt again.
Hey, I get it. The Prophet Joseph once said, “A burnt child dreads the fire.” I’ve experienced many types and intensities of pain in the more than two decades I’ve been single, deep and pointed pain associated with my singleness. But you’ll never feel the joy you want to feel if you don’t open yourself to love, because that type of joy can’t exist without trust. And there’s no need for trust if there is no vulnerability. If you want to be free to love, you must let go of the hurt.
Letting go of our resentments, faulty thinking, and hurt isn’t easy. But it’s not meant to be. The freedom we find on the other side wouldn’t be worth much if it came with little cost on our part. And that high-priced freedom is worth every penny. So give yourself the gift that truly keeps on giving — the gift of letting go. When you do, you can find a freedom to forgive, grow, and love like you have never known. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
President Hinckley often compared decisions to the hinge on a gate. The hinge is a rather small device, but what a difference it makes to the movement of the much larger gate. A very small movement of the hinge creates a much larger movement in the gate.
That analogy applies well to much of life and especially to the challenges LDS singles face. Many of us are looking for “the way out,” as if singles life were something horrible to be avoided at all costs. Other singles accept their situation but are frustrated that it never seems to end. For these and indeed all of us, small changes in thinking and behavior can make a huge difference in our lives. We just need to get steppin’!
The first step is a step up. Own your life. Too many of us have a victim mentality. We’re the victim of other people’s choices. We’re the victim of unfortunate circumstances. We’re the victim of our imperfections.
And the list will keep growing and never end until we step up out of that mire and embrace the truth: Everyone who ever succeeded in anything also had to deal with the choices of others, unfortunate circumstances, and their own imperfections. The difference is they chose to be a victor instead of a victim.
Think about it. Every moment we choose our attitude in that moment. We can choose to cower beneath the pathetic realities that everyone in mortality faces, or we can choose to step up and rise up against the challenges that confront us. Our reality in the moment will be the same with either attitude, but choosing to be a victor feels a lot more satisfying.
There’s another important difference, one connected with the future. A victim mentality will never drive positive growth; it keeps one under the bondage of a persistent mediocrity. A victor mentality, on the other hand, can’t help but fuel personal improvement. Once you feel the fire, it’s contagious!
That brings us to the next step: A step out! We restrict ourselves far beneath our potential, spending way too much time on the sidelines of life. Who am I, we wonder to ourselves, to be spectacular or to achieve some great thing?
Actually, who are you not to be spectacular? Who are you not to achieve greatness? You are a child of the Creator of the universe! You have inherited the seeds of everything spectacular and great. Your potential is unlimited. That’s simple genetics, man!
So step out of the prison of self-imposed restriction you have built for yourself with your defunct thinking based on faulty assumptions and limited vision. Change the way you think, and you will change your life. Step out of the old you and into a new you, a vastly superior you because you’ve made the seemingly small choices setting you on the road to greatness.
Finally, make sure you step with the covenant path and the Lord’s plan of happiness for you. Step with the Savior. You can do that more easily when you partner with Him for your life. That’s especially valuable in the adoption of a personal ministry, something I’ve discussed many times in this forum.
Stepping with the Savior also means developing a sensitivity to the Spirit so you can receive the revelation you need. What action do you need to take today to move closer to your dreams and goals? What action do you need to take right now? The whisperings of that still, small voice can give you the answers you need to those and other questions as you navigate being single.
So get steppin’! Step up to your potential, step out of your limitations, and step with the Savior as you march your way to a bright and glorious future. Small changes in your thinking and your actions can produce big changes in your life.
You were not put here to fail. You were put here to succeed, and that gloriously! When you walk with that faith in every footstep, you’ll be just as single but enjoying your life exponentially more. And that will bring you more joy in your 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 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.
Joy in the Journey Radio offers many free resources to help LDS singles everywhere, but it certainly isn't free! Help Joy in the Journey Radio in its mission to improve the lives of LDS singles by donating today.
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