Forgiveness is my next iteration of gift giving, though I give it more to myself. To that gift, I wish to add another — the gift of partnering. No, I’m not talking about an eternal companion (although I don’t object to such “gift giving”). I’m talking about partnering with the Lord. Is there any better time than Christmas to partner with Him? Is there a better way to celebrate Christ than to commit or recommit oneself to the road of discipleship? With Christmas just around the corner, ‘tis the season to partner.
Partnering with the Lord has been a longstanding theme of Joy in the Journey Radio. Christ is the source of all true joy, so how can we maximize the joy in our journey without Him? And the best way to include Him is to partner with Him.
That partnering includes everything in life, not just the spiritual aspect. Christ’s work is “to bring to pass the eternal life and immortality of man” (Moses 1:39), which clearly has a spiritual component but cannot be complete without also including the emotional, mental, and physical aspects as well. Partnering with the Lord takes life to a whole other level when approached holistically.
And why shouldn’t it be so? Christ is interested in every aspect of our lives and blessing us in any way He can. If we partner with Him, He’ll want to help us thrive and succeed emotionally, mentally, and physically as well as spiritually. Thus, partnering with Him means involving the Lord as a full partner in the emotional, mental, and physical aspects of our lives as well as the spiritual.
Unfortunately, far too many think of partnering with the Lord strictly or primarily in spiritual terms; involving the Lord in the other aspects of their lives means primarily asking for help. They struggle with employment prospects, for example, and so ask for help in finding a job.
Asking for help is of course good. But partnering means more than just asking for help. It means counseling and involving in decision making. So instead of asking for help finding work, for example, partnering with the Lord means discussing how to approach your job search, sharing your successes and your challenges, and seeking His input as you decide what actions to take next.
Alma the Younger counseled his son Helaman, “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good” (Alma 37:37, emphasis added). Involving the Lord in the spiritual aspect of our lives and heeding His direction will of course bring us closer to Him. Heeding His instructions regarding the emotional, mental, and physical matters of our lives as well as the spiritual will bring us all the more closer to Him. But He’s less likely to provide that direction when we don’t involve Him in those matters.
And what better time to involve Him than the Christmas season? In the holy trinity of holidays, we start with gratitude at Thanksgiving, then celebrate the hope for new life we have because of the birth of that new life in the manger, and conclude by resolving to act better in the new year. Partnering with the Lord in every aspect of your life is a wonderful way to celebrate the reason for the season.
That celebration will be most meaningful if it leads to actions that produce positive results. Many holiday traditions are simply rote performances; you do them because it’s that time of the year. But rote performance doesn’t change you. The richer celebration is one that leaves you changed, and truly partnering with the Lord will do just that.
If you are not now partnering with the Lord in every aspect of your life, now is a great time to start, for ‘tis the season to partner. Make partnering with the Lord your new Christmas tradition. When you do, He “will direct you for good.” And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
I also like how each year the Light the World campaign just gets better and better. Just when I think there’s no way next year can be better, next year comes along and proves me wrong. The Church always finds a way to take it to the next level, and this year is no exception. This year, the tradition gets a whole lot simpler. And the simple truth is the world needs your light.
I just love that emphasis for the tradition this year. Typically there is a calendar with a suggested activity for each day. This year, it’s all about sharing the light of Christ that all of us have within us. You share the light within you because the world needs your light.
Now don’t get me wrong. I thought the calendars from previous years were great. I loved them. But I find myself loving this shift to emphasize individual initiative even more. Part of that is from the highlight of “25 Days of Kindness.” There is a beauty in the simplicity of not having everyone be part of some program but rather recognizing and sharing the seemingly small acts of kindness all around each one of us.
I say seemingly small intentionally. What may seem small to us can make all the world of difference to others. Too often we discount our own power to influence for good because in our own eyes we don’t measure up to whatever (often impossible) standard we adopt for ourselves. But you don’t have your light just because it can dispel the darkness for someone. You have your light because it will dispel the darkness for someone. The world needs your light.
I also love how this year the Church combines a simpler emphasis with a notched-up professional production. The video they made to introduce the campaign this year is really top class. That’s not to say videos from previous years weren’t great. There just seems to be a professional grade quality that’s next level up from last year.
And the upgrade in quality isn’t just in the professional look and feel of the video. It’s also in the emphasis on seemingly small yet simple ways of letting your light shine. We don’t see anyone in the video doing anything grandiose. They’re doing what anyone can do. And the difference that light makes to those who receive it is evident. Again, the world needs your light.
We spend far too much time focused on reasons not to give and not to influence for good. We convince ourselves we can’t make a difference. We doubt ourselves and the ability we all really do have to dispel the darkness in the lives of others.
Yet if we reflect on the real reason for the season, we can realize that He never concerned Himself with how His actions would or wouldn’t be received. His approach was simple. He just gave. When it came to kindness, He just was. When we follow that example and simply give, we can lift our light higher and let it shine in a world growing ever more dark.
Yes, the world needs your light. You were given gifts and talents so that you could offer others the light they need. You don’t need a lot to make a lot of difference. You just need to give and let your light shine. In so doing, you’ll help others remember the real reason for the season. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
You’d think that situation would turn me away from gratitude, but I had an experience the other day that turned me around. I realized that anyone can adapt to undesired change. You just need to find your new joy.
Coming to terms
We’re all creatures of habit, and I certainly have habits when it comes to the holidays. As I just mentioned, many of those habits involve food.
My condition won’t last forever. One day my recovery will end. I don’t expect I’ll go back to how I was before my first ER visit, and I’m not sure I’ll want to go back. But I am sure I’ll want to partake of my favorite foods occasionally — and indulge a bit when the annual holidays come around.
That’s all cold comfort for me right now. Or at least it was. Sure, the thought of being around people gorging themselves on delicacies I can’t now enjoy doesn’t exactly fill me with delight. I already cancelled my birthday food plan. Now I’ll need to cancel my food plans for Thanksgiving and probably also Christmas and New Years. You’d think I wouldn’t have gratitude from this — and you’d be right before I had this wonderful experience the other day.
Seeing new perspectives
I was shopping for some new diet items and of course conscious of the items in others’ carts — items I wanted in mine but dared not on penalty of pain. So I tried distracting myself by focusing on accomplishing the task before me. I would get what I needed and go.
That’s when the thought came to me. I’m not that bad off. First, I’ve been moving towards my present diet for some time in increments. I just didn’t want to surrender my favorite foods completely. My current condition won’t tolerate the increments; I have to be there now. That sudden shift gives new perspective on how much moving in small increments was really worth, and that’s something to be grateful for.
Second, removing those foods from my diet left a lot of space, so I’ve been searching out recipes online that meet my restrictions. One by one, I’m finding them. Not only that, I’m finding new worlds of flavor as I avoid usual fillers like sugar and embrace spices and seasonings. I’m not sure I’d have all these wonderful new taste experiences without my health challenges driving me, and that’s something to be grateful for.
Third, many of these recipes are so easy to make and way cheaper than the pre-packaged versions that I’m finding a new perspective on convenience. The short term convenience of time I get a can or a box doesn’t outweigh other conveniences like more flavor in my mouth, more health in my body, and more money in my bank account. All that’s something to be grateful for.
Finding new joys
When I put it all together, I have an experience I wouldn’t otherwise have. And that gives me a new perspective on not just my health but also living my life and finding more joy in it.
Yes, I’ve had some undesired changes in my life, but I still have access to joy. It’s not the same joy I had previously; my circumstances won’t permit that. But new doors open for every old one that closes, and behind those new doors are new experiences, perspectives, and joys that all give reason for gratitude. So even though I won’t be partaking of the usual Thanksgiving Day feast tomorrow, I will be reflecting on how grateful I am for the new joys I’ve found and continue to find in my new life.
So when your situation changes in a way you really don’t want, please take a moment to consider what you do have and find your new joy. You’ll gain new perspectives and new experiences you’ll wish you would have found earlier, and you’ll find yourself grateful you did find them. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Assessing the moment
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, which the pancreas can heal on its own. But to do so, it must be allowed to focus on that task. Calling it away for its usual duty of producing digestive enzymes or insulin will distract it and thereby prolong healing.
That restriction has wrecked some havoc on my diet. Initially I was on a liquid diet and then slowly graduated to more solid food. So long as I stay within my restrictions and keep my meals small (this also helps the pancreas to focus on healing), I should be fine. That said, I still feel swings in my abdomen. Some moments feel better than others.
I have even worse swings from my pulmonary embolism. The blood thinners I’m on have some funky side effects, one of which is lightheadedness. It comes and goes, some moments being better than others. Today was particularly bad. The lightheadedness was extreme as I’d never before felt in my life, and it stayed with me the whole morning. I spent much of the day today in the emergency room, where the doctor finally concluded I was experiencing a side effect of my meds.
Confronting the moment
How do I deal with a condition that not only constantly changes but changes so often I don’t really know how I’ll be the next day? The only real option I have is to do the best I can to attend to the demands of the moment. My condition forces it on me.
But that’s not very different from what I’ve been sharing here on Joy in the Journey Radio. We find our best joy in life from living in the moment. Letting go of what things will mean tomorrow opens a door that otherwise remains closed.
For example, LDS singles leave much joy on the table when dating by worrying about what different social interactions will mean for them tomorrow. “I don’t want to sit next to those people because then they’ll think I’m interested, and I’m not.” We think we know so much, yet in truth, we don’t know that much, and we see even less. There’s countless tales of couples who didn’t think they were right for each other but who are very happy today because they let go of what they thought they needed and embraced the opportunity in the moment.
Embracing the moment
Of course, letting go of what things will mean tomorrow isn’t license for leaving the covenant path. I’m in no way suggesting we ignore the consequences of sin. What I’m saying is that within the confines of our covenants we too often focus outside of the present moment, and that focus leaves a lot of joy on the table we could have every day by living in the present moment.
By embracing the moments that come within the confines of our covenants, we position ourselves for maximum joy. Redefining what we consider opportunity to be reveals more pathways to experience that joy. The road can still be rough, as I can attest. Some of the moments that confront me are less than pleasant. But I know by doing my best with each moment, I know I’m making my journey as good as it can be.
Embrace your life one day at a time. When you stop living in some future that never seems to come or the past that you cannot change, you find more possibilities in your life. You’ll gain more perspective that breeds more hope for the future. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Faith clarifies vision
We all judge too much by what we see directly around us, and this feature especially manifests itself in dating. Far too often LDS singles look around for someone they’d like to date and, not seeing what they define as acceptable, quickly become discouraged. That scene repeated often enough leads to hopelessness in the future.
Bright futures start with faith. Faith helps you see what’s there but not readily seen. In the context of dating, this could mean, first, you don’t see that acceptable candidates around you because they aren’t doing what you normally do and going where you normally go. When you branch out and see new vistas, you’re more likely to cross paths with them. The world is a bigger place than your own backyard.
Second, faith helps you see the person you discounted may be the one you’re looking for. So many singles insist on having the “perfect” partner that they reject knowing many less-than-top-shelf candidates who’d make good partners. Falsely assuming only the best can produce joy in life has kept and continues to keep many LDS singles single long than need be.
Action feeds power
Lack of hope in the future often attends feeling powerless. A focus there will lead only to despair. To change your reality, you must change your focus. Instead of focusing on the “evidence” for why what you want won’t happen, seek out reasons to believe.
Those reasons to believe will be easier to embrace when you take proper action. I’ve never seen anyone busy working to make his or her dreams a reality feeling powerless, and neither have you. That’s because it’s impossible. When you busy yourself with the business of doing, you’re so immersed in evidence of your own power you can’t feel powerless. It’s when you’re not doing anything that feelings of powerlessness can take hold.
Start feeling that power and savoring your life by listing what makes up your best life. If you could have your best life, what would it look like? What would you be doing? Put those activities on your list. Then start to fill your calendar with those activities.
So if you think your best life involves horse riding, great. When are you going to ride that horse? If you think your best life involves learning how to crochet, great. When will you learn that? Whatever you want your life to be, start doing what you can to live that life. Don’t let what you lack prevent you from embracing — and finding joy in — what you already have.
Partner with Him
While you’re making that list, don’t forget to partner with the Lord. When you include Him in crafting your best life, you’ll get there much more easily than if you go it alone. He might even help you see that what you think is your best life really isn’t. Make the course correction He suggests, and you’ll not leave any joy on the table.
The key to maximizing joy in life is focusing on fundamentals. Far too many LDS singles focus on finding ways to cross paths with that special someone, all the while forgetting that if they aren’t agreeable enough, no quantity of paths crossed will produce the desired result. When you focus first on living your best life as much as you can, you make yourself more agreeable and your life more inviting. That life is also the more joyful one, and that joy will only increase your attractiveness to a potential companion.
The future really is as bright as your faith. When you focus on fundamentals, you can take more effective action. More effective action produces more effective results. More effective results will help you feel more powerful and desirous to do more, and thus the cycle continues ever upward. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
The problem LDS singles have comes when they give too much prominence to what they want. Then dating becomes all about satisfying their demands to the exclusion of what they have to offer. As we discussed last week, taking your dating focus off of what you bring takes you out of alignment with the fundamentals of the dating journey. That’s why you need balance to find the right place for what you want in dating.
Be the best complement
As we’ve discussed more times than I can count, your focus determines your reality. So you won’t truly enjoy your dating journey with the wrong focus. Enjoying your dating journey requires a focus leading to that reality.
What’s that focus? There’s a huge clue in the definition of happiness we’ve discussed so many times on this program. Happiness is giving your all to all the right things for you. That definition applies just as much to dating as it does to any other part of life.
Being the best complement to your eternal companion, whether or not that person is now in your life, is one of those right things for you. And happiness comes when you give your all to that and every other right thing for you. That’s why truly enjoyable dating is about what you bring.
Yet too often LDS singles focus solely on themselves. They think of their dating journey as the search for what they want, so much so they think little if at all about what they bring to a potential relationship. As we discussed last week, it’s not about what you want. When you align yourself with the fundamentals of what you’re trying to do, you find your path to success easier.
Reject the natural mindset
Notice I said easier, not easy. The propensity to approach dating with the focus of what you want is rooted mainly in the natural mindset, which will dominate you if you don’t dominate it. And that fight for domination isn’t always easy.
That’s because the natural mindset always prioritizes self-gratification over all else. The natural mindset also always leads to misery. What else do you expect from a constant focus on taking in order to satiate one’s own desires? We’ve all been around people who constantly take and give little if anything in return. No one wants to be around those people.
We all want to be around those who constantly give and take little if anything in return. So your dating focus should be on being that person. Be the complement your companion needs, and you’ll more easily find the complement you need in a companion.
Stop chasing after complication
This isn’t to say that what you want plays no role in dating. You’ll of course make choices in who you decide to date, both casually and exclusively. In these two stages of the dating journey, you have many opportunities to express what you want and the individual uniqueness underlying those inclinations.
But ultimately what you want from your dating journey is a thriving, enriching relationship. What you want is a complement. Yet too many chase complication by focusing their efforts too much on what they want to receive and too little on what they have to give. When you adjust your focus to align with the fundamentals of the dating journey, you’ll stop embracing complication in your dating life because you’ll quit chasing after it.
Balancing what you want in a companion and what you should be in a companion isn’t easy. But LDS singles who strive to strike that balance center their efforts around complementation. They focus on being a better complement for the person they want in their life. This is the right place for what you want in dating. When you embrace it, dating really will become more about what you bring. You’ll find it easier to make you a better you and make your life more interesting, thereby making you more agreeable to a potential partner. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Sister Newbold acknowledges a common singles attitude: Identifying yourself by what you don’t have. When you do that, you’ll live in a space where you’re deficient. Sister Newbold’s response is an effective one: Live in a space where you see yourself as you’ll be, because that’s how God sees you. By living “as though” God’s promises are fulfilled, you can be joyful now.
Understand the challenge
Sister Newbold recognizes the difficulty of reconciling as yet unfulfilled promises with the reality of LDS singles life. Her answer is to live “as though” those promises have been fulfilled, though she admits that’s challenging. She writes, “Given that God is a God of promises, it becomes hard at times for me to reconcile why certain promises have not yet been fulfilled in my life.”
I’m sure many singles can relate. I myself felt that challenge a few months ago. In the midst of my most challenging semester of school ever, questions about my patriarchal blessing began to feel more demanding. And given my age, I began to wonder how my promised blessings will ever come to me.
Sure, it’s easy to say, “Well, sometimes patriarchal blessings get fulfilled in eternity.” But that doesn’t apply to the married life the Lord promised me. Very clear and unambiguous language speaks of my temple marriage in this life and actions my children and posterity will take in this life. These and other blessings are promised to me in this life, not the next.
Given I’m in my late 40s and not getting any younger, questions of how those promises would be fulfilled troubled me. At the time, I really struggled with those questions. Now I simply feel a quiet confidence somehow it’ll all happen.
Consider three solutions
Sister Newbold’s answer to that challenge, as mentioned earlier, is to live “as though” promised blessings have arrived. How do we do that? Sister Newbold shares three suggestions.
First, she suggests considering a variety of promises. LDS singles tend to fixate on the marriage they by definition don’t have right now. That focus blinds them from seeing other promised blessings they already have, many of which they take for granted. Recognizing these less appreciated but bountiful blessings invites gratitude and trust God will keep all His promises.
Second, she suggests recognizing God’s hand in our lives. Many in today’s world focus on what they lack, and as long-time audience members will tell you, your focus becomes your reality. Focusing on lack creates a reality of scarcity, which inhibits the ability to feel joy. But focusing on what you have creates a reality of abundance. I really like how Sister Newbold extends that idea to the sacrament.
Third, Sister Newbold suggests helping the Lord keep His promises to others through Spirit-directed service. When you follow the Spirit’s promptings to help others, you can help answer their prayers. You can find joy in being the Lord’s hands.
Trust in Him
Honestly, I appreciate a perspective centered on our focus rather than the traditional and highly unhelpful ”Just hold faithful, and everything will be right in the next life.” Additionally, Sister Newbold readily admits that “trusting in His promises is not always an easy choice.”
She also says “living ‘as though’ will look different for everyone.” I suspect that’s only true in the particulars. I could summarize what that looks like for her as making and keeping as many covenants as she can, in essence living all of the gospel she can. I think that would describe living “as though” for any LDS single.
God will keep every promise made to every one of us. He has thousands of years of experience doing just that for the generations that came before us. And the Spirit can remind us of moments when He’s kept promises in our own lives. So we can trust He’ll keep every as yet unfulfilled promise. When we live“as though” by walking with faith He’ll do just that, we can be instruments in fulfilling His purposes, all the while experiencing the quiet confidence that somehow it’ll all happen for us. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
See the situation
The story begins with Phil Connors, the weatherman for Channel 9 News in Pittsburgh. The man is clearly full of himself, so it’s no surprise no one really likes him, not even himself. He’s a rather disgruntled man who thinks covering the Groundhog Day Festival is beneath him.
So imagine his shock when he wakes up thinking it’s February 3rd only to find out it’s February 2nd again. The bewilderment continues as each morning he wakes up to find that somehow in his sleep he went back in time by one day. He keeps living the same day over and over again.
His first reaction is denial. This can’t be happening to me! Denial drives resistance, but no matter how he fights against his situation, the next morning is always February 2nd again. His denial then turns into despair. This report he gives at the festival summarizes his condition rather well.
That day ended in suicide, but it doesn’t end him. In despair, Phil keeps trying to kill himself in different ways trying unsuccessfully to escape his never-ending cycle.
Note the pivot
And then one of those February 2nd days becomes a pivot day when everything changes. Phil doesn’t escape the never-ending cycle, but he does find a new perspective on his situation. And what changed everything was Rita.
Rita is Phil’s producer. She’s also the apple of his eye. Previously he spent God knows how many successive February 2nd days trying to get into her pants. But on his pivot day, Phil approaches Rita with a different agenda. Instead of trying to satiate his lust, he sincerely cries for help. (Why do I have a Rick Astley song in my head right now?) Rita helps him and in the process begins to fall for him.
Of course, that disappears when everything resets the next morning. But Phil remains changed, and he starts spending his February 2nd days improving upon himself, working to become a better, more quality person. He takes up reading all kinds of books. He learns to play the piano. He takes up ice sculpting! Not only do his efforts make him a better person, they make his life more interesting.
And the proof is in this report. It’s the same day, same festival, but a completely different Phil.
Once he stopped trying to escape his situation and embraced it, Phil was able to tap into the joy life has to offer every single day. In the end, he escapes the cycle and gets the girl.
Take a lesson
The allegory here to LDS singles is so clear I wonder why I didn’t see it earlier. How many of us singles are in denial? No, I can’t be single. This can’t be happening to me! And no matter what we do to fight it, we seem caught in a never-ending cycle of singleness from which we cannot escape.
But if we’d stop trying to escape from it and start embracing it, we could turn everything around. We could start looking inside ourselves and working to become better, more quality people. We can do things to make our lives more interesting. We could tap into the joy God wants us to have every single day.
And we could help other singles to have their pivot day. Just as Rita helped turn things around for Phil, we can reach out to one another. Instead of looking only to satiate our own agendas when we interact with each other, we could help each other live better lives.
When we take a lesson from Groundhog Day, we can make the most of what seems to be a never-ending cycle of singleness. By embracing our situation instead of trying to escape from it, we can live our best life and help others to do the same. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
That vote of no confidence really punched me in the gut. Initially I was in a daze, uncertain of my path forward. But as time lifted that fog, I began to gain some clarity and regain some perspective. If you feel that way, know that all is not lost. There’s always hope because there’s always Christ. That hope says you can change for the better. And you can keep that optimism when you treat every day like it’s your birthday.
Live like a kid
At my age, birthdays just don’t seem as special to me as they did when I was a kid. I’ve been there, done that, got the shirt and the hat, plus I chair the membership committee. (Would you like to join? We have jackets!)
And that’s part of the problem. Something about becoming an adult sacrifices that childhood perspective of optimism and possibility on the altar of pessimistic reality. We’re more prone to point out barriers to justify why we won’t or can’t achieve than to believe that achievement is possible and look for a way to overcome the obstacle.
We also lose the joy of childhood. The adult perspective is so often serious. Kids naturally approach their day looking for fun. They don’t worry much beyond the present; they live in the moment. Certainly there are times when we need to buckle down and do some serious work. But we could all benefit from introducing an element of fun into what we do and living in the moment.
That’s what birthdays are all about for kids. They get absorbed in enjoying the moment. If we lived life like a kid, maybe some of our obstacles would disappear because our overly serious perspective that created them would be gone.
Treat each day special
Treating every day like it’s your birthday also recognizes the special gift each day really is. Too often we go through our days playing out habits that carry us from one moment to the next. And that lull of life lacks the joy each day can and does bring.
That’s why a life on autopilot will never lead you to your best life. There’s nothing to savor in simply going through the motions. Very often, we go through those motions without any awareness of what we’re doing. That’s how we’re biologically hardwired to operate.
Treating every day like it’s your birthday breaks you out of that mold. Because it’s not something you normally do, it doesn’t conform to routine or habit, which takes what you do out of the shadows and into the light of awareness. Being fully aware of what you’re doing does two things: (1) It opens you to the joy to be found in each moment of living, and (2) it increases your sensitivity to possibilities, allowing for creativity in finding solutions to overcome obstacles.
Overcome your current challenges
Applying these ideas to my current challenge, I can see a path ahead. I need to find someone knowledgeable I can trust to give me objective counsel and help me construct a plan going forward. And strangely I feel excited about that.
Treating today like it’s my birthday brought me there. I’m looking for the joy instead of wallowing in the mire of misery. I’m embracing optimism in a brighter future that I can forge. I’m opening myself to the hope that always is because Christ always is. I’m tempering the responsibilities of adulthood with the perspectives of childhood.
So treat every day like it’s your birthday. You’ll invite yourself to open more to possibility. You’ll do more to take care of yourself. You’ll experience more creativity as you embrace more optimism. And you’ll live your life more hopeful of the future that has you living your best life. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
I’ve felt free like I haven’t felt in quite some time. I still have lots to do, and I still don’t know how I’m going to accomplish it all. But I feel as though I have more than enough time to do everything needful, even though I did the math and know the numbers don’t fit. It’s a great blessing from the Lord, and I realize my choice to chase purpose, not proof, paved the way for my blessings.
Commit to purpose
Part of the difficulty I wrestled last week was feeling I needed to do more than time would allow. Meeting with my advisor helped resolve that by providing some clarity around exactly what effort was needed. And I felt the Lord’s guiding and supporting hand.
But the floodgates of feeling truly free and empowered opened only after I committed to my purpose. Don’t get me wrong. I committed to my PhD program back when I gave up my employment, got rid of two thirds of my belongings, moved the remaining third clear across the country, and accepted a lower standard of living — all to pursue a step towards my dream job.
But I hadn’t committed myself completely. I was busy with so many different things, all of them valuable but not all of them conducive to my commitment. Complete commitment is always reflected in completely prioritized time pursuing it.
Once I made that complete commitment in how I would spend my time, that’s when freedom swept over me. That’s when I felt I had the time I needed to do what was needed. That’s when I felt I could truly achieve my potential.
Align with happiness
Too many never do that. Even if they have a purpose they say they pursue, they aren’t really chasing after it. Instead, they chase after proof.
By proof, I mean evidence they’re accepted. They devote more time and energy to acquiring validation and belonging than to any life purpose. And by going off the path of their purpose, they go off the path of their potential.
We all have a deep-seated need for acceptance. We all want to belong, and we all want to be loved. There’s nothing wrong with those desires. But there is something wrong with not prioritizing your potential.
And here’s what’s wrong with it. You’re leaving happiness on the table. You think you’re chasing happiness, but you’ll never capture it by seeking to have something. Happiness isn’t about having; it’s about giving. Happiness is giving your all to all the right things for you. And one of those right things is achieving your potential.
Pursue your potential
Let’s look at an example. What do typical LDS singles do with their time, especially the time they aren’t compelled to do anything? Many spend their so-called “free time” consuming content or soaking in social media, looking for love and belonging, pursuing proof not purpose.
Happiness doesn’t come from having that special someone or having social media likes or indeed having anything. Happiness isn’t about having; it’s about giving. That’s why pursuing your potential is linked to happiness. The more of your potential you achieve, the more you have to give and the more happy you can be.
And you maximize your happiness by committing completely to your purpose, a commitment you demonstrate with the time you devote to that commitment. So take a look at how you spend your time and make adjustments where needed. Chase purpose, not proof. You’ll find yourself feeling more free and more connected with the Lord. 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 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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