I remember thinking his address was good when he delivered it. But for some reason it didn’t resonate
with me like it did during this most recent reading. And while many have claimed this past Conference wasn’t very friendly to singles, Elder Clayton’s remarks have direct application to LDS singles life.
Few of us will ever endure an experience as harrowing as Sailor’s. But all of us will, at some time or another, have to traverse our own spiritual wilderness and undertake our own rugged emotional journeys.
Rugged emotional journeys. If that doesn’t describe typical singles life, I don’t know what does. But here’s the follow up from Elder Clayton.
In those moments, however dark or seemingly hopeless they may be, if we search for it, there will always be a spiritual light that beckons to us, giving us the hope of rescue and relief. That light shines from the Savior of all mankind, who is the Light of the World.
When we think of rescue from the vicissitudes of singles life, many of us think of finding that eternal companion. But if we carry with us ineffective habits of thinking and living, married life can be even harder than singles life.
That’s why the only source of true rescue comes from the Savior. Only He can break the bonds of ineffective habits and change us into new creatures. But He’ll only go as far as we let Him.
Belief lights the way forward
Many singles don’t believe enough in the blessings that God wants to grant them. Sure, they readily accept those blessings coming into the lives of others. But when it comes to believing those same blessings could come to them, they think they’re too imperfect — too short, too tall, too fat, too thin, too whatever — to qualify.
Living under this sort of belief contributes greatly to the rugged emotional journey many singles experience.
I like the way Elder Clayton put it.
There may be times when we have been hurt, when we are tired, and when our lives seem dark and cold. There may be times when we cannot see any light on the horizon, and we may feel like giving up. If we are willing to believe, if we desire to believe, if we choose to believe, then the Savior’s teachings and example will show us the pathway forward.
Who doesn’t want to know the way forward? Yet too many of us singles keep looking for that special someone as the embodiment of that way forward. In so doing, we have already decided what the way forward is. And often that “way forward” really leads backwards — back further into doubt and despair.
The way forward is not getting married to the first available and attractive partner ASAP. The way forward is first to believe in the Savior and His teachings — believe that He loves you and that because He loves you He wants to bless you with happiness unlike anything you’ve ever known. Then trust in His guiding hand as He leads you along to your blessings.
Belief is choosing to work
Many singles simply refuse to believe that such a wonderful life can be theirs. Maybe that’s because they refuse to work for it. As Elder Clayton put it,
Belief and testimony and faith are not passive principles. They do not just happen to us. Belief is something we choose—we hope for it, we work for it, and we sacrifice for it. We will not accidentally come to believe in the Savior and His gospel any more than we will accidentally pray or pay tithing. We actively choose to believe, just like we choose to keep other commandments.
How many of us can honestly say we’ve worked and sacrificed to believe love like we’ve never known can and will be ours? And yet, in order for us to believe — I mean, really, truly believe — we have to work for it. Much of that work comes in the form of acting on that belief, whether or not we have it.
And so we choose to believe when we accept opportunities we might not think are opportunities. We choose to believe when we stop testing our dates with pre-programmed litmus tests and just enjoy the moment. We choose to believe when we quit practicing destructive self-talk about how we aren’t good enough or why the blessings we want can’t be ours. We choose to believe when we patiently pursue a life mission and let the process take the time it needs to bring our blessings to us.
Many of us don’t want to travel that road because it seems hard. But Elder Clayton offers some encouragement.
Sometimes progress in spiritual things can seem slow or intermittent. Sometimes we may feel that we have lost ground, that we have made mistakes, or that our best efforts to find the Savior are not working. If you feel this way, please do not give up—ever. Go right on believing in Him and in His gospel and His Church. Align your actions with that belief. In those moments when the light of your faith has dimmed, let your hope for the Savior’s love and grace, found in His gospel and His Church, overcome your doubt. I promise that He stands ready to receive you. Over time you will come to see that you have made the best choice you could possibly have made. Your courageous decision to believe in Him will bless you immeasurably and forever.
Although our culture teaches us so, our biggest problem as singles is not having a companion. Our biggest problem is not knowing who we really are and then not forging a solid relationship between that person and God.
When you know who you really are, you’re totally comfortable in your own skin. You don’t feel deficient or defective. You don’t need another person in your life to feel validated. And when you add to that a solid relationship with God, you have the added confidence He will bless you beyond your wildest dreams.
Love like you’ve never known is real and available for you. But you have to do the work required. And you take that first step when you choose to believe.
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 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.
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