Make yours a great life….
The topic that I was assigned is on the Article from the January ensign, MAKE YOURS A GREAT LIFE, BY ELDER PAUL V JOHNSON of the Seventy. What an amazing topic for us to talk and to learn from on this beautiful Sabbath afternoon. I know that this talk was something that I sure needed to read and learn from.
I am going to start out by first sharing a quote that I have had here in my scriptures from my seminary days. “Every day is a happy day, only you can choose a different way.” Many of us get caught up in the world wind of drama going on around us and are unhappy for whatever that reason is. We must not dwell too long on these thoughts or we may become bitter and discouraged. We are the only one who can change our day and our attitudes.
From the article it states… The world today seems to be on an economic roller coaster. We see businesses and governments trying to stabilize the situation. There is conflict and war in the world. Many are abandoning morals and eternal truths in favor of the deceptions of the adversary. In Isaiah 5:20 it states: Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil, them that put darkness for light and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! More and more we see evil being called good and good evil, these are challenging times.
How many of you, when faced with a challenge continue on with faith? How many of you just give up and say I just can’t endure this trial or adversity anymore? Don’t despair, put the Lord on your side and ask for his guidance and help and put your faith in him, he is willing and wanting to help us move forward. We are all faced with many challenges throughout our lives, but what if we just gave up and did not persevere through these challenging times? Where would we be today if we had just simply given up? I know several times throughout my life I thought I was going through some of the most challenging times and trials and that I simply just could not endure them on my own and wanted to give up. Then I realize I am not alone andI turn to one of my favorite scriptures to keep me going, Alma 36:3. I like to personalize it to fit me, so that it reads… And now, O my daughter Megan, behold thou art in thy youth and therefore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me, for I do know that whosoever shall be supported in their trials and their troubles and their afflictions shall be lifted up in the last days.
This is one of my favorite scriptures that I turn to often; it is a constant reminder that I often turn to when I am struggling and about to just give up. Then I remember that I just need to trust in the Lord. He is there for us, we just need to be willing to ask for his help, and have faith in him and his eternal plan for each and every one of us. We often lose faith and forget that we are here for a reason and are tried for a specific reason. He will never give us anything that we can’t handle, and we are never alone going through these challenging times.
There are many historical figures with whom we are all familiar who went forward with faith in challenging times. One such person lived in a country occupied by the Romans. She was from humble beginnings and probably wondered about her future. Her espoused husband couldn’t find a decent place for her to give birth to her son, and later, because people wanted to kill her baby, the young family had to flee to another country. It seems like such a difficult way to start out in life, yet Mary went forward and helped raise the Savior of the world. Most people who looked at her early life might have thought she didn’t have much of a future, but because of her faith and willingness to do the right things, she was truly “blessed … among women” (Luke 1:42).
Moroni grew up in a time when his society was crumbling. (See Mormon 1–8; Moroni 1, 9.) The people rejected God and were on their way to destruction. It was a time of slippery riches, great violence, sexual immorality, and war. Moroni’s father, Mormon, almost single-handedly staved off the destruction of his people for a time. Both Mormon and Moroni lived in extremely difficult times but fulfilled their destinies.
Joseph Smith did not start out in a promising position for success as far as the world was concerned. His family was poor. As a young man he faced tremendous opposition, which continued throughout his life. Yet he persevered and overcame the obstacles in his path.
None of these people allowed the challenges they faced or the conditions of their world to determine the trajectory of their lives. They went forward with faith, and through the blessings of the Lord, they all became what they were meant to become.
How many of you would have kept trudging through these challenges and endured till the end and would go forward cheerfully in faith? Your future is not determined by the conditions around you, it is determined by your faith, your choices and your efforts. Yes, we are faced with challenging times, but so did Mary, Moroni, and Joseph Smith. You don’t have to be carried along the current of times. The lord can and will help you set your own course. The challenges you face will serve to strengthen you, not break you down, as you move forward with your life. Each of you has a bright future ahead of you that you can’t fully comprehend right now.
How will you face your challenges? Some will complain and blame circumstances or others for their problems. They won’t let go of bad feelings. They portray themselves as victims and become bitter. They seem to spend so much time and energy justifying themselves and pushing off the responsibility to others that there is no energy to go forward with their lives.
Others seem to live in the past and dwell on how things used to be. They are so unwilling to leave the past that they don’t turn around to face a future that would be bright if they would only approach it properly.
Some people dream about the future but don’t do much to move into it with power. They don’t realize that what they do or don’t do now will profoundly affect their future. People, who go to work with faith knowing the Lord will bless them if they do what is right, are the ones with a bright future. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve gave a talk entitled “Come What May, and Love It.” He explained how people should handle challenges: He stated: “If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead toward times of greatest happiness.
Your future can be bright or cloudy, that all depends on you. When I was up at USU in Logan we made these blocks as a constant reminder that we will be faced with challenges, but we need to take the opportunity to learn and grow from them. It is guaranteed that we will all face trials and challenging times, it is necessary part of mortality
In 1993, when President Howard W. Hunter was president of the Quorum of the Twelve, he told young adults: “I am here tonight to tell you that despair, doom, and discouragement are not an acceptable view of life for a Latter-day Saint. However high on the charts they are on the hit parade of contemporary news, we must not walk on our lower lip every time a few difficult moments happen to confront us. … “Knowing what we know, and living as we are supposed to live, we really have no place, no excuse, for pessimism and despair. “In my lifetime I have seen two world wars. … I have worked my way through the Depression and managed to go to law school while starting a young family at the same time. I have seen stock markets and world economics go crazy, and I have seen a few despots and tyrants go crazy, all of which causes quite a bit of trouble around the world in the process. “So I am frank to say tonight that I hope you won’t believe all the world’s difficulties have been wedged into your decade, or that things have never been worse than they are for you personally, or that they will never get better.”
There are no better days than these days, because “these are [your] days”. You are here on earth at this time for a reason. You have what it takes. You have skills, knowledge, and natural talents given to you from God. If you live righteously, you will have access to the inspiration and strength you will need to triumph over any challenge you face. You will have the protection of a worthy life; guidance from the Lord through the Holy Ghost and prophets, seers, and revelators; and the power of sacred promises that are yours because you keep your covenants. Take these things that are yours and have a great life!
The Lord is our reason that we all have a bright future ahead of us; he lives and loves each one of us. He has plans for each and every one of us. As President Uchtdorf stated last night in the General Relief Society meeting, don’t wait around for your Golden ticket, we need to move forward with faith that things will work out. Yes, we do live in challenging times, but many others have as well like Mary, Moroni, and Joseph Smith and many others will be faced with challenges as well. Don’t get carried away in the current of life.
I want to testify to you that the Lord does love us each individually; he has a plan for us. We need to remember to put our trust in him and our faith; he knows what is best for each of us. I know this to be true, I have seen many challenges and trials throughout my life, but I have stepped up and moved forward. I did not let circumstances make be bitter and discouraged; If I had, I wouldn’t be standing in front of you today. I come from an inactive family, I could have strayed away for good like the rest of my family had, but I didn’t I found my way back. I have felt like the Lord really didn’t care about me, or he wouldn’t have given me such hard trials for me to bear at such a young age. But what I did learn was it was part of his plan, he does love and care for me, he wasn’t trying to hurt or damage me; he was trying to strengthen me for my future. I know I have a bright future ahead of me, although at times I feel like it is really dark and don’t know what to do. In those dark times, I put my faith and trust in the Lord to guide me to the bright side. I know he has plans for each of us, even if they aren’t what we want to do he has need of our service. I wanted to serve a mission, but the Lord has made it pretty clear for me that it is not part of his plans for me at this time, he needs me here. I was stubborn and did not want to listen to his guidance, but then he really made it clear to me that my service is needed here and not out in the mission field. We need to remember Elder Wirthlin’s saying come what may and love it! Don’t let yourself get caught up in the despair and discouragement, don’t blame others or become bitter, remember that your future is bright and the decisions that you make today will affect your future. I could be bitter and mad at the Lord, for my injury and not being allowed to do the things that I had in mind for my future, but what good would that do me? I can blame my circumstances and become angry, or I can take the challenge and learn from it. The Lord knows what is best for each of us and will guide us in the direction that we are needed; we need to remember it’s not our plan, but rather the Lords plan for us that we must follow. Remember that only you can make yours a great life. So come what may and love it.