My week is insanely busy. In addition to my job, I’m taking a course to qualify me to teach classes online. The course includes making the first four weeks of a real class, and creating all this content is hugely time consuming.
Then my dad, recently diagnosed with skin cancer, has surgery this week. The doctor has great confidence all will be well, but it’s still a little more stress to my already hectic week.
In the midst of all this bustle, my mind reaches back to a time that seems so long ago but really isn’t. I’m talking about the start of the year. At that time, I talked about the high hopes people had for this year and the sense that 2016 would be better than 2015.
I had high hopes as well, but as I examine my life at present, it seems like a far cry from what I hoped it would be. What happened?
Seeing the gulf
Here’s the Reader’s Digest version: Life happened. Life tends to crowd around you and devour every scrap of time and energy.
That and bad habits tend to linger. Without a good support system, it’s hard to change. That’s because we’re hardwired to adopt a habit and stick with it, regardless of how good or bad that habit may be.
Take my aspirations towards diet and exercise. I was really pumped at the start of the year. Confidence that 2016 would be my year filled me. I was ready to go!
Then life happened. Work got busier, my online course started, and my personal life began demanding more. Slowly my exercise routine became less demanding and more brief. My diet followed suit, other demands screaming for my time. Convenience is the cry of today.
My scripture study is another victim. Visions of sessions immersed in genuine study are replaced with reading a quick chapter and calling it good. My life demands convenience!
I could go on, but you get the point. Many of you have the same experience. Life is happening to you. A great gulf separates what we see now from what we once thought we would be.
I want to bridge the gulf in my life. Can it be done?
Start with the foundation
The answer is yes. It begins with two words: Start over.
Faith in Jesus Christ and repentance are the first principles of the gospel, so starting over is the very foundation of our belief. But is it?
Many carry incredible burdens believing they’re trapped. Life has crowded them into a corner they never imagined. But if we truly believe the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, we know we’re never trapped. We always have the opportunity to start over. We just don’t always take that opportunity.
And our life won’t change until we do.
We also have the tendency to carry our past mistakes. That burden influences us to think we’ll never have our best life. But carrying that burden holds us back.
The Savior said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me . . . and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Through the power of His Atonement, the Lord can help us drop whatever holds us back from our best life. He can help us to start over.
Build the structure
Accessing the Atonement is the best way to our best life. It’s the foundation of the support system we need to foster positive change. The next step is to complete that support system with quality people in our lives.
That’s one of the biggest reasons why my efforts to embrace a healthy lifestyle failed. I’m in it alone. No one in my life really supports me in that direction. There’s plenty who think it’s a good idea. But there’s a world of difference between agreeing with a good idea and supporting one.
Partnering with the Lord can help us to assemble our support team. He can help us bring people already in our lives on board and find new ones to cheer us on. And we’ll find a lot of the support we need when we first give that support to others.
It’s easy to get swept away with the tides of life. But by making conscious choices, you can start over. And with the help of the Lord, you can move into your best life. I want my best life. If you want yours, make that move with me. Come to Christ, let go of whatever holds you back, and start over. He still believes in you. Isn’t it time you believed in you as well?
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 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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