Everyone’s talking about the new year upon us. There’s all kinds of conversations. Some people have the usual list of resolutions. Others just want to simplify their lives. Yet a sense of hope 2016 will be better than 2015 underlies many conversations.
Not every one is hopeful, though. Many LDS singles wonder if they really do have any hope of achieving righteous blessings. Will this year really be any different than last year?
That’s why I found an excellent Ensign article about being positive so appropriate. I recommend it to everyone, single or married. What I like best about it is its underlying message. Although not directly stated, the article strongly implies an important truth. If you aren’t positive in your outlook, then you’re just not living the restored gospel.
Your focus determines your reality
I remember some years ago a Sunday School lesson taught in a former ward on the East Coast. I remember the instructor saying unhappy people are unhappy because they aren’t living the gospel. I remember him saying if only they’d repent, they could be happy. And I remember feeling like he targeted me even though he never said my name.
Yes, living a lifestyle of sin won’t bring happiness. We all know Alma 41:10. But just because wickedness never was happiness doesn’t mean the reverse is also true. Sometimes unhappiness isn’t related to sin.
Sometimes unhappiness comes from the way we approach life. While I appreciated the interest in me, albeit a tongue-in-cheek one, I knew my standing before the Lord. I thought being single in a family-centered culture made me unhappy. But I was wrong.
My unhappiness came from my focus. I had lots for which to be grateful, but instead of constantly expressing gratitude to God for His bounteous blessings towards me, I focused on what I lacked. And so my reality became one of lack.
That’s natural law. It’s the way God created the universe. When you constantly focus on the negative, your reality becomes negative. And a negative reality means your focus is negative.
But if a negative reality comes from a negative focus, does a positive reality come from a positive focus? The restored gospel of Jesus Christ answers with a resounding “Yes!”
There’s always hope because there’s always Christ. We sometimes sing “The Lord is my light.” How can that be true for us if we don’t feel the glory of His light chasing the darkness out of our lives? If you aren’t feeling it, then are you really living the restored gospel?
I know some of you have your defenses up. Yes, you go to church and say your prayers and read scriptures every day and otherwise do what identifies you as an active Latter-day Saint. But if you’re just going through the motions, you’re not digging deep enough to feel the real power of the restored gospel.
I wanted real on Day 1 in 2014, and I still want it today in 2016. I’m done with just going through the motions. I’m done with living a life of mediocrity. “Men [and women] are that they might have joy,” (2 Nephi 2:25), and so this man wants to embrace life. This man wants to experience all of the joy God wants for all His children and makes available to them every single day.
Being real means more than just going through the motions. Happiness comes not from just doing the right things but from bringing your all to the right things. If you don’t feel inside of you the truth of the hope and optimism enshrined in the gospel, then how much of yourself are you bringing to the right things?
Give your all
Your life doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. If you aren’t feeling the hope that really exists for you because of Christ, you can. Just give your all to the right things.
One of those right things is gratitude. I don’t care what has happened to you. God has blessed you abundantly. Begin with that truth, and you’ll begin to see the windows of heaven have always been open for you. When you make gratitude a lifestyle, you’ll have a lifestyle of seeing the blessings all around you. Your focus always determines your reality.
There’s much more we can do. I’ve talked about them on my blog, and I’ll continue talking about them now on my radio show. The restored gospel gives us great reason for hope and optimism. You can feel that positive energy every day, no matter how much life may knock you around. It all comes back to how you think and how you approach life. Give your all to those right things, and 2016 and every year thereafter can be gloriously wonderful and joyous.
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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