As I prepared to do my Visiting Teaching last month, I looked through all the conference addresses and settled on Of Things That Matter Most given by President Dieter F Uchtdorf. The article called out to my heart with the very first words, which were:
If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most.I started of by reading the entire article, and than reading it again and reflecting on the parts of it that I loved most. I loved how he talks about the pace of modern life. How it is so easy to be busy. How some of us think that the more we increase our pace, no matter what is happening in our lives, the better off we will be.
This talk reminded me of a speaker at Time Out For Women in Arizona this year. I don't remember which one, I am sorry, but the names of who spoke what are always the most difficult for me to retain. I do remember the content though, so I am sorry that I can't give you the name to go with it. However, one of the speakers talked about how pleased Satan is when he can convince any of the daughters of God to be involved in too many good things.
When I first heard this, I had to think about it for awhile. I have spent so much of my life in being involved in good things. Sometimes, I think that I am hoping that will be the deciding factor for me in whether or not I get to live with our Heavenly Father. I seem to feel in the very depths of my soul that I NEED to be filled up with doing good things. This was a new concept for me. To hear and realize that we can be doing too many good things. That by filling our lives with good things, we may be keeping ourselves from doing the best things.
The story of Mary and Martha came to mind. Martha was not a bad woman. She was just filled with a need to be busy. She was filled with the need to do too many good things. Keeping your house clean is not a bad thing. But choosing to do that over listening to the Savior was not the best choice she could have made. Martha and I are very well aquainted. I think we are probably a lot alike. She is one woman in the scriptures that I can totally identfy with. I understand her need.
One of the other things that President Uchtdorf said was: It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks.
As I read this, I could see myself being the person that he was describing. I could see how my need for business has become an albatross around my neck, dragging me into the need to keep ever busy, ever over-scheduled. I do not know what I would do with a peaceful day. I do not know how to slow down or relax or take it easy.
There is hope though. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, in a recent general conference, taught, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” It is not an easy road to change, but it is possible. Elder Uchtdorf even gives us the answer to that change when he says:
Yet amidst the multitude of voices and choices, the humble Man of Galilee stands with hands outstretched, waiting. His is a simple message: “Come, follow me.” And He does not speak with a powerful megaphone but with a still, small voice. It is so easy for the basic gospel message to get lost amidst the deluge of information that hits us from all sides.
He tells us that we need to get back to basics and identifies four things to start our change with.
- First is to develop a better relationship with our Heavenly Father. We develope that relationship by learning about Him. We find the knowledge that we need in our prayers and in studying the scriptures. We increase our knowledge of Him by asking for His forgiveness and by seeking to become more like Him.
- Second is to place a high priority of the relationships that we have with our families. We need to nurture those relationships by doing simple things together. Having dinner together in the evening, talking together, attending church together. He talked about how love is really spelled T-I-M-E. I know that this one is so true in my own family.
- Third is to develop a relationship with our fellowmen. We do this one at a time. We serve each other and those around us. We make friends. We bless the lives of others with our own unique talents.
- Fourth is to have a relationship with ourselves. We need to nurture ourselves and be good to ourselves. We need to remember that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father who loves us and we love Him. We need to learn to see ourselves as our Heavenly Father sees us.
Strength doesn't come from frantic activity in our lives. It comes as we simplify our lives and pay attention to the things that matter most of all. It comes as we remember our Savior and reach out to grasp His hand. He is there for each one of us. Perhaps the thing that I want to remember most about this talk is the very strong impression that I received that I need to simplify so that I can find Him. Only in slowing down, will I be able to see Him beckon to me. Only when I am calm and at peace will I hear His voice and be able to listen to His direction. I can only find Him after I have set aside my need to be everything, and realize that without Him I am truly nothing at all.