But it doesn’t end there. Instead of changing their focus to what they have and can do, which will then change their reality to one of abundance and opportunity, many LDS singles pine for that perfect companion who will rescue them from their banal singles existence. And that perfect companion is just that — perfect.
Just like Santa, that ideal conception doesn’t really exist. The only man who comes down the chimney is already off the market anyway. Real men and women have imperfections, so forget the chimney. Only when you focus on the Savior and the truths He taught can you embrace the true spirit of the season.
For many singles, Christmas is an especially painful time. But what’s even more painful is the realization that they inflict that pain upon themselves with the way they think.
The results we all want in our lives come from action and only from action. But we act based on our perceptions, beliefs, and assumptions about ourselves and the world around us. If you can change how you think, you can change what you do, and that changes the results you have in life.
So if you want to feel more of the joy and peace that should characterize your Christmas season, exchange thinking about your own misery with thinking about the misery of others. Christ taught, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39).
When you surrender yourself to that truth, “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32) — but free in what way? You’re free to amend your errors, to change your ways, to embrace more effective ways of thinking so you can experience a more effective way of living.
I once resisted service as a balm for the woes of singles life, partly because others often threw it at me indiscriminately, and partly because I didn’t see how it solved my singleness “problem.” I’d been serving in many ways for years and still just as single as when I came home from my mission. Service just seemed like a band-aid, temporarily treating the pain of singles life while covering over the real underlying problem.
Now I understand that service is a band-aid for singles when they serve with agenda. When I served, I always had an agenda. Sometimes is was about being dutiful so I could feel good about myself. Sometimes it was about identifying myself with the larger group so I could feel I belonged. Sometimes it was about crafting an image I thought would help me attract the companion I longed to have.
But true service follows the example of the Savior Who always acted against the agenda of the natural man. His agenda wasn’t about Him but simply on giving to others for their benefit. When you forget your own agendas and act solely out of concern for those who receive your offerings, you can lose yourself in their service.
And that’s when you find yourself, because that’s when the peace and joy the Christmas season offers can come to you. Those who cling to their own agenda, even while doing the right thing, will never feel more than glimpses of that joy and peace.
As I said during the program last week, Christmas isn’t just a time to remember Christ but a time to experience Christ. As we simplify our traditions to create the time and space to feel the joy and peace of Christ, may we also simply our desires by stripping ourselves of our own agendas and adopting the agenda of the Savior.
What service can you give this Christmas season? What light can you shine? What difference can you make? When you lose yourself in service by losing the agenda centered around your needs, you free yourself to experience Christmas as you never have before. 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 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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