As 2018 dawned, I had heard about the Church’s new self-reliance initiative but didn’t know much about it. I became more interested upon learning part of it concerned starting a business.
Then a self-reliance fireside in my stake was announced from the pulpit, and I went. I learned stakes throughout the Church now hold self-reliance classes every 12 weeks in four areas:
After the presentations, everyone divided into groups based on which area interested them most. In this way, we formed ourselves into class groups. Group members then decided when and where to meet for the next 12 weeks.
Now that the 12 weeks are ending, I can’t say enough good things about this new self-reliance initiative. This program can bless everyone to improve upon themselves. But it can also bring joy to LDS singles while making them more attractive for eternal blessings.
Throw off frustration and hopelessness
Many LDS singles feel frustration and hopelessness in their pursuit of eternal blessings. Paired with negative self-talk, that frustration and hopelessness can grow to astronomical levels.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Frustration results from having unmet expectations. Change your expectations, and you can avoid frustration.
But changing an expectation so it’ll be met doesn’t discard hopelessness. That feeling comes mostly from the sense of lacking motion. It’s easy to feel hopeful when you’re moving in some direction. Even if you don’t know where you’re going, at least you know your destination might be a better place.
That’s why I’ve long advocated LDS singles adopt a personal ministry. Working towards worthwhile objectives from a personal ministry provides a feeling of progress many LDS singles aren’t finding in their dating journey. And a personal ministry just might ease that dating journey, because everyone is more attractive when devoted to worthy pursuits.
That’s not the only way to feel a sense of progression. The Church’s self-reliance classes can accomplish the same ends. They align directly with the noble pursuit of improving oneself.
I really like the program’s structure. There’s no dedicated instructor. Instead, the Church provides basic materials we all use to learn from one another. Each lesson contains commitments which class members are supposed to keep, and keeping them provides valuable lessons. At the start of each new lesson, class members report on how well they kept their commitments and what they learned from it.
Class members are also paired as action partners. Action partners contact each other during the week to provide support for keeping commitments. I really love this model of everyone helping someone else. That’s a great environment for improving oneself.
And let’s be honest. Some of us are single because we need to improve ourselves. We need more education or a better job to attract the companion we desire. The Church’s self-reliance program can help there.
Bring it all together
Attending my classes, I learned more about how to start a business. But I also learned how intertwined the gospel is into every aspect of our lives.
Each lesson begins with a review of foundational principles — gospel standards of living found in the scriptures and the teachings of modern-day prophets and apostles. These foundational principles connect to the rest of the lesson content as well as the commitments we need to complete during the coming week.
The Lord cares not just about the spiritual aspect of our lives, but every other aspect as well, including the way we provide for our temporal needs. We can and should partner with the Lord to improve ourselves and our temporal situations. Those who are more self-reliant — and therefore less dependent on others — are able to give more, serve more, and satisfy the needs of more people.
Taking my self-reliance class over the past 12 weeks has taught me more than just how to start a business. I’ve learned more about how much the Lord truly loves all of us, how interested He is in the details of our lives, and what glorious potential we can fulfill when we partner with Him in every aspect of our lives. When we do, He’ll make more out of our lives than we can by ourselves. And that will bring more joy in our journey.
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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