Rise to the challenge
I’ve been thinking about a recent monologue in which I took a new spin on the expression and it came to pass. Our trials always come to pass and never to stay. This perspective can help us to endure our trials better.
That monologue is one of my best since I started blogging about LDS singles life almost four years ago. Yet the more I think about it, the more I sense something’s missing. Yes, our trials will always pass with time, but that perspective alone doesn’t make them any easier to bear in the moment. Is it possible to have real, deeply felt joy while your world is crumbling around you?
I believe the answer is a resounding yes. And I believe the key goes beyond perspective and embraces attitude. Like so much in life, it’s all in how you approach it.
You make it
What happens to you doesn’t determine the quality of your life. It’s what you do about it. We all have challenges in life, but not everyone has the same quality of life.
Mortality challenges us by design. It’s part of the plan to help us grow and achieve our eternal potential. That means we came here to have challenges.
The typical response to trial is to wallow in despair and self-pity. We ask, “Why does this have to happen to me?” But what does that approach provide? It certainly doesn’t make us stronger. If anything, it makes us weaker. And the more we embrace that attitude, the weaker we become.
Obviously, we need a different approach if we want a different experience. Perspective can help with that, but it’s not the whole answer. We need a new way of thinking.
That starts for you when you accept the truth. What happens to you doesn’t determine the quality of your life. You do. If you want your world to change, then you must change. You must make the life you want.
You choose it
What happens to you happens to everyone. Sure, you may have a challenge others don’t seem to have. But guess what? Others have challenges of their own you don’t have.
Again, that’s by design. We’re here in mortality to experience challenges so we can fulfill our eternal potential. That’s why marriage, which so many LDS singles consider the solution for their problems, really isn’t a solution at all. You’ll leave behind some challenges, yes, but other challenges will take their place. Mortality is designed to challenge everyone.
We’re all challenged by something, so there are no real differences. What happens to you happens to everyone. The Savior taught, “for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). The difference is in how you choose to respond. You have a glorious gift called agency.
You don’t have to give the typical response to trials. You don’t have to ask, “Why me?” You can instead ask, “What can I learn from this experience?” Or “How can I use this experience to make a renewed and better attempt?” Or “How can this experience help me be a better person?” Or “What opportunities does this experience provide?” The person asking these questions isn’t some pathetic clod in a corner. The person asking these questions is rising to the challenge in confident nobility.
You become it
Our trials never come to stay and always come to pass. As good as that perspective is, we still have this question: What good will that passing provide? Will your challenges change you into something more than you were before? Or will they simply pass and leave you the same?
The answer is entirely up to you. You have agency. You decide what your response will be. And that response dictates what effect your trials have upon you.
In the end, we all make it to the end. You determine what that end is for you and the quality of your journey there by the choices you make. So what life will you choose to make for yourself? Will you shrink in the sulking of self-pity? Or will you rise with your regal heritage as a child of the Ultimate Creator and meet your challenges head on?
The natural man inspires the typical, destructive approach to trials. Christ inspires a different, constructive approach. It’s more than just perspective. It’s even more than attitude. It’s a lifestyle. When you adopt that lifestyle, you can have joy in your journey no matter what challenges you. That’s part of the miracle of the Atonement. And you can have that everyday if you but choose to rise to the challenge.
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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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