Monday, June 10, 2013

Enjoying the Journey

Yesterday I spoke in our ward with my husband.I thought for today's blog I would draw upon some of what I shared during that adventure.

After we were asked to speak, and were told that we could tackle whatever topic came to mind, I began praying to know what to touch on. I shouldn't have been surprised when I found myself wide awake early one morning with a multitude of thoughts running around inside my scrambled brain.

All of them had to do with finding joy as we journey along in this mortal life. I suspect this came to mind because so many of us are dealing with heart-wrenching trials during these interesting latter-days.

So, here's a snippet of what surfaced inside my head that morning: It is actually a commandment from our Savior to find joy in this life. In essence he has said: " . . . verily, I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst and have not forsaken you;" (D. & C. 61:36)

I was reminded that there have always been challenging times, beginning with Adam & Eve. Think about what they went through--going from a heavenly setting full of bliss and peace in the Garden of Eden, to a place where they had to work for every mouthful of food, create their own shelter, and basically, fend for themselves. It definitely could've been a time for self-pity and depression. Instead, both Adam and Eve celebrated this chance to learn and grow and have a family. (See Moses 5:10-11)

I was guided toward the wisdom of King Benjamin found in Mosiah 4:20. I found the humor in his wording of how we tend to "beg" for help when things hit the fan in our lives, and how our Father is always willing to listen to us and help us find peace and joy, regardless of what it is we're struggling through.

We've all been blessed with character-building moments--and since we're all very unique, they are all very different. These are the things that help us learn and grow, stretching us spiritually in our quest to become more like our Heavenly Parents. But it's seldom a "fun" process, gaining the education we came to find in this mortal world. And there are times when we wonder if we'll survive the curriculum. But there is always hope. I often find peace of mind by searching the scriptures.

Mosiah 7:33 basically tells us to do the following:
1-Turn to the Lord.
2-Trust in Him.
3- Serve Him--with a good attitude.
4-And if we are willing to do all of that, we will be delivered from the trial we are enduring, or receive the strength to hang in there.

Alma 36:3 states:
1-We must trust in God.
2- And if we are willing to do that, we'll be supported in our trials.

Proverbs 3:5 shares:
1- We must trust in the Lord with all of our heart (not just a tiny portion)
2- Realize that we are not always going to understand 'why' some things happen.

D. & C. 19:23 instructs:
1- We need to learn about our Savior.
2- We need to listen to His words.
3- Be meek enough to feel the Spirit.
4- We will be given peace.

So on and so forth. If you look through the topical guide under the word, "JOY," you will be amazed by how many references there are to this emotion. I was told once that if you find something mentioned in the scriptures 3 times or more, we need to pay attention. From what I have found, "JOY" is mentioned way more than 3 times. This means it's important. 

To sum things up: we're in mortal mode to learn and grow. This is not always a fun quest. We seem to grow the most from those soul-stretching adventures that come into all of our lives. Despite these challenges, we can find peace and happiness--if we'll seek a cheerful attitude. It's not easy--but things of worth seldom are.

As Lehi so eloquently phrased it: "Adam fell that men (and women) might be; and men are that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:24)

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