Last week I extolled gratitude for the good in our lives despite the life storms howling about us. This experience dovetails nicely with my recent scripture study.
When King Benjamin assembled the people for his final address, they came offering sacrifice to obey the Law of Moses but also to offer thanks (Mosiah 2:3-4). Verse 4 ends with “that they might rejoice.” When the storms of life come beating down our door, we naturally don’t feel like rejoicing. I have to believe these people had problems too, so what gave them hope to rejoice? King Benjamin had taught them to keep the commandments. And that’s where we can find reason to rejoice, too.
We all know what makes an active Latter-day Saint. Plenty keep that standard and are quite miserable. You can find them in many meetinghouses every Sunday. Clearly, happiness must be more than just keeping the standards.
And it is. Happiness comes by giving your all to the right things and not just doing the right things. When we truly keep the commandments, that’s exactly what we’ll do. And the longer I live, the more right I believe that to be.
Happiness means more
Of course, keeping the standards is one of those right things to which we should give our all. It’s just not the only thing. What lack we yet if we keep the standards and happiness still eludes us?
We need to align our thinking with true principles. Just keeping the standards won’t do that for us because our brains are naturally hardwired to follow the instructions encoded in habit. Without conscious choice, we’ll simply go with the flow wherever life takes us. We’ll live each day just playing out our habits. And life on autopilot isn’t much of a life.
How many of us LDS singles have lives like that? Do you go to activities and conferences and the like over and over again feeling like you’re not making any real progress? If all you do is go through the motions, of course happiness eludes you. That sort of life never can bring happiness.
Faith means more
That’s where aligning your thinking with true principles comes into play. When you replace negative self-talk with more positive messages that encourage faith in Christ, you’ll start creating on the inside the reality you want to live on the outside. And when you partner with Christ in that effort, He’ll help make that reality more wonderful than you ever could on your own.
Faith in Christ means more than believing He died for your sins. Faith in Christ also means believing He loves you so much He eagerly seeks opportunities to provide you with your righteous blessings.
I’ve wasted years of my life in negative self-talk that trained me to disbelieve in the Lord’s promises to me. All that time He truly wanted me to have the blessings I claimed to want. But I could never claim them because the misalignment in my thinking encouraged others to use their agency against me.
Instead of using those experiences to learn and grow, I found fodder for more negative self-talk. I saw only “proof” I was too imperfect to have my righteous blessings. I developed this habit through my own choices. And for years that habit held me back from the joy I might have had all along.
You can rejoice more
Since aligning my thinking with true principles, I see my life in a whole new light, and it feels so much better. I know the Lord loves me and wants me to enjoy my righteous blessings. And He wants to bless me now, not years from now or in the next life. He’s been trying to give me those blessings for years precisely because He loves me. His love for me is part of who He is. That doesn’t change or diminish with time.
Christ’s power can help us overcome any obstacle, any hardship, any setback, and any pain. When you truly begin to believe the Lord wants to bless you now, you stop focusing on why you aren’t deserving and start looking for the ways your blessings might come. And when you partner with the Lord in embracing a personal ministry, you start finding more and more of those opportunities crossing your path.
We all have great reason to rejoice, even amidst the storms that howl about us. Christ’s disciples anciently called out, “Master, the tempest is raging,” and He silenced the storm. The winds and waves still obey Him. Reach out to Him, partner with Him, and start giving your all to all the right things for you. Your life won’t be perfect overnight, but you’ll bask more in the joy God wants you to have in your journey there.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce 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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