The lesson I taught in Relief Society (the women’s organization in our church) Sunday was based on Pres. Thomas S. Monson’s General Conference address from last October Finding Joy in the Journey. His talk could be broken down into three main sections or areas we should focus on to find joy in our journeys.
Adapt to Change
“At one time or another we’ve all heard some form of the familiar adage: “Nothing is as constant as change.”
“Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not. There are changes in our lives which are sudden, such as the unexpected passing of a loved one, an unforeseen illness, the loss of a possession we treasure. But most of the changes take place subtly and slowly.”
How well do we adapt to the changes that take place in our lives? Some changes we can plan for – a new baby, different landscaping in the yard, a visit to a loved one. But what happens when there are the unexpected changes that come – a miscarraige, a natural disaster or severe storm that ruins our yard and almost our home, and sudden death making that visit to the loved one full of sorrow rather than joy?
One older woman told how she loved being a mother and having her children around her. She dreaded the thought of having an “empty nest” so she prayed that her house would never be empty. And it is not. Four of her children live in the same town, she has sixteen granchildren here and there is always someone at her house visiting grandma. On the days she is exhausted she reminds herself she asked for this! And so she finds joy.
“Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now. The lives of all of us, of course, go through similar alterations and changes. The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details. Time never stands still; it must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes.”
Change brings growth. It causes us to stretch and reach, to leave our comfort zones, and to rely on God.
REALIZE WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT
This made me think of my rocks, pebbles, and sand post.
“Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important—and what is most important almost always involves the people around us.”
Do those we love know that we love them? Do we tell them? Show them?
“Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know. Wrote William Shakespeare, “They do not love that do not show their love.” We will never regret the kind words spoken or the affection shown. Rather, our regrets will come if such things are omitted from our relationships with those who mean the most to us.”
Send that note to the friend you’ve been neglecting; give your child a hug; give your parents a hug; say “I love you” more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved. Friends move away, children grow up, loved ones pass on. It’s so easy to take others for granted, until that day when they’re gone from our lives and we are left with feelings of “what if” and “if only.” Said author Harriet Beecher Stowe, “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.””
Makes you want to go write a letter or send some flowers to some one! Or maybe, just pick up the house a little better and have dinner ready on time when my husband comes home from a hard day of work. 😀
EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE ALWAYS
Definitely a virtue that is becoming lost in our world of “gimme, gimme” or “I deserve this” or”Woe is me.” I loved the quote that Pres. Monson shared,
“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend . . . when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”
We will always lack something. If we choose to focus on what we do not have we make ourselves miserable. We get caught up in the “if only’s” – if only I had this, if only I could do that – I would be happy.
“The ancient Roman philosopher Horace admonished, “Whatever hour God has blessed you with, take it with grateful hand, nor postpone your joys from year to year, so that in whatever place you have been, you may say that you have lived happily.”
One of my favorite scriptures of all time is a simple little one not often quoted. Phillipians 4:11, “Not that speak in respect of want; for I have learned in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content.” We will always have something to be grateful for in whatever stage of life we are in.
“If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.”
Now a little challenge if you’d like to try to have some joy in your journey. Choose one of these three areas Pres. Monson discussed and work on it for a week.
Be willing to go with the flow.
Show love to those who matter most to you.
Find something to be grateful for everyday.