Faith comes first
My grandfather’s funeral made this week challenging. His passing emphasized for me the urgency to get the stories of our ancestors. And it flooded my mind with many memories.
I once lived with my grandfather, who let me borrow his car so I could be with my folks for Thanksgiving. When he learned of this magnanimity, my uncle reminded my grandfather of the accident I caused in “the little tan truck”as we all called it. I’ll never forget my grandfather’s reply. “It’s just a car.”
This week at the funeral, I learned stories about my grandfather. For example, a good family friend who drove a beat-up pickup once needed to go to Salt Lake City for medical care. This friend telephoned my grandfather and asked if he would care for his horses while away. My grandfather consented then showed up at his friend’s house 15 minutes later. Giving him the keys to his car, my grandfather said that, if his friend would drive his car instead of that old, rickety truck, he wouldn’t need to worry about making the trip there and back. I came to understand how my grandfather could give so generously to me years later. He’d done it before!
Most things get easier the more you do them. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, it’s not that the nature of the thing has changed but our capacity to do has increased. My grandfather wasn’t ever perfect, but he certainly increased his capacity to do good. The more he tried, the more habitual his devoted service became.
Examine your habits
Many of our decisions we make from habit. By design, habits automate much of what we do. But habits have a not-so-great side: Everything around us can change, but our habits will keep us keeping on whether they help or hurt us.
I’ve written before about habits in this blog and my upcoming book, especially the first chapter. You can read the first 60 pages for free. But it all comes down to this question: Where are your habits leading you? A life of faith and joy? Or a life of fear and stagnation?
When married Latter-day Saints speak insensitively, what’s the first thing we singles want to do? To “defend” our perspective? Or to encourage patience and efforts at understanding?
When we feel the pangs of loneliness all singles encounter, how do our habits prompt us to respond? To allow negative emotions to overwhelm us? To give way to doubt and discouragement? Or to believe in God and His ability to strengthen us to overcome all things?
When we encounter opposition to our righteous desires for family, where do our habits lead us? Do we join the pity party beckoning at our doorstep? Do we wallow in the mire of disappointment and lost opportunity? Or do we replace negative self-talk with wise words of encouragement and hope in new opportunities to come?
Do our habits lead us down the path of faith or fear?
I used to repeat to myself messages of discouragement and hopelessness. I rationalized away this negative self-talk habit as just reviewing the facts. But negative habits always lead to a negative reality. It’s natural law. Only when I embraced positive self-talk did things turn around. That’s natural law too.
Do your habits lead to faith? If not, reformat and reboot yourself with new, more positive habits. God is anxious to work a miracle in your life. But faith must come first.
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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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