Archive for the ‘happiness’ Tag

Men Are That They Might Have Joy

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:25

Sometimes when I am going through a particularly hard time I start to feel as if I will never be happy.  However, Lehi tells us that men are meant to have joy:

Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

God created us with the purpose of giving us joy.  As Lehi has spent the whole chapter explaining, in order for us to have real joy we must 1) be able to choose for ourselves and 2) have a sense of what it means to have pain.

This scripture is always one I love to read when I am feeling down because it reminds me that God wants me to be happy and that if I remain faithful through my trials I will eventually have great joy.

Today I am going to write a list in my journal of the blessings that God has given me that give me the greatest joy.

What in your life has given you the greatest joy?  What joy are you looking forward to?

All-Knowing God

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:24

Today is an exciting day in our house.  It is our baby’s first birthday.  Also, my sister-in-law is in labor and it looks very much like our little girl will be sharing a birthday with her cousin.  We are excited for our own baby’s growth, and for the birth of a new baby in the family.

The scripture I am discussing today seems especially poignant.  2 Nephi 2:24 says:

But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

When I am happy, and things are going well (like today), it is easy to believe that God is in control and that he knows what he is doing.

However, when things are not going well it becomes harder for me to have faith that “all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all thing.”  However, I know that many of the trials I have experienced in the past have helped me to better appreciate the good things that happen.

For example, if it weren’t for my own experiences as a mother over the past year and a half (pregnancy, birth, and onwards) then I wouldn’t feel so happy that my baby is a year old, or that a new baby is being born.  Before I was a mother I could not appreciate the amount of work and sacrifice it takes to bring a baby into the world and to raise them, so I didn’t have the depth of appreciation I have now for these precious moments and milestones. I see that God is directing me on a path to teach me and help me have joy.

Today I am going to give myself a little break and just enjoy the birthday celebrations, and appreciate what God has given me.

What things do you better appreciate now that you have experienced some trial or sacrifice?

Happiness Through Christ

Reading: “The Atonement Can Secure Your Peace and Happiness,” Elder Richard G. Scott, Liahona, November 2006

In American society we seem to think that happiness comes through wealth.  Our society is focused on consumerism and the buying and selling of goods and services.  If I can make more money, we always seem to think, we will be more happy.  All this despite the fact that there is little evidence that wealthier people are actually happier (except for TV shows and movies, which are imaginary).

The gospel teaches that true happiness come through following Christ.  When we live according to the principles taught by Christ in the scriptures we are happier.

In this talk Elder Scott teaches us that when we let Christ lead our lives, we will find the greatest happiness. He says,

Your life can and should be wondrously rewarding. It is your understanding and application of the laws of God that will give your life glorious purpose as you ascend and conquer the difficulties of life.

In my life sometimes I get focused on stuff that doesn’t really matter.  Like, having a totally clean house, or accomplishing some project, or sometimes, increasing my amount of stuff.  When I do that I get stressed out, depressed, and unhappy.  When I am really focused in on what matters: my family, the Savior, and living the gospel, I am happier.

Today I am going to do all my goals that I made (which I’ve been doing fairly good at) and let them be the focus of my day.  I will do other things, too, of course, but they will be secondary to my most important goals.

Are there times in your life when you thought something would make you happy, but then it turned out you were looking in the wrong place?

Creation and Compassion: Keys to Happiness

Reading: “Happiness, Your Heritage,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Relief Society Meeting, Sept 28, 2008

In the past I have written a few times about perfectionism.  When we are perfectionists, we demand that we be perfect right now and forget that becoming perfect is a life long pursuit, with which God wants to help us.  When I read Elder Uchtdorf’s talk, that is immediately what I thought about.  In his cooking story he shows how his wife is never fully satisfied with her cooking, that she demands more of herself than maybe she needs to.

Elder Uchtdorf gives us two ways to combat bad feelings in our lives, such as those that come from perfectionsim.

First, he encourages us to create.  He is careful to leave the definition of creation wide open.  He points out that while we may not be as artistic as others, we all have talents.  I know that few things make me happier than having a really clean house, or finishing a project, or even writing in my blog.

Second, he encourages us to have compassion for others.  He encourages us to seek out others and help with whatever problems they may have.  He says that when we help others to overcome their problems, we will feel better ourselves.  I know that when I feel like I’ve helped someone to feel better, especially my husband or my baby, I feel a lot better about myself.

His last statement is a promise that if we try to obey the commandments of God, and live the gospel, we will be able to overcome those feelings of inadequacy and other trials we may face.  He said,

My dear sisters, I have a simple faith. I believe that as you are faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, as you draw closer to Him in faith, hope, and charity, things will work together for your good. I believe that as you immerse yourselves in the work of our Father—as you create beauty and as you are compassionate to others—God will encircle you in the arms of His love. Discouragement, inadequacy, and weariness will give way to a life of meaning, grace, and fulfillment.

So, to apply Elder Uchtdorf’s teachings today I’m going to find something to create and also try to do an act of compassion.  I’m not sure what I’ll do yet, and I’m really not sure what will happen.  I will let you know.

What are times in your life where an act of creation or compassion helped you to deal with bad feelings or bad circumstance?

What Would Jesus Do? Follow Up: The Dishwasher

Yesterday I said I would ask myself throughout the day “What Would Jesus Do?” and report to you if anything happened. Well, something did happen.

We live in a little apartment that is a good size and a good price, but is also old and kind of falling apart in places. Our landlord has always taken the approach of doing the minimum necessary to fix any problems that come up. He’s not a bad landlord, or a mean landlord, but he’s not a great landlord either.

So, the other day when our dishwasher stopped working I was a little surprised (and annoyed) when the message I got back from the landlord was that according to our contract we are in charge of any dishwasher repair. Once I thought about it I remembered reading something about appliances in the contract way back when we signed it, but it did strike me as the landlord being cheap yet again.

I also should share the fact that the landlord has our apartment up for sale. Someone could buy the apartment tomorrow and we could be moving any time. Or, nobody could buy it for years. Or, someone could buy it as an investment property and want us to keep living in it. We really have no idea.

So, my first response was to do the absolute minimum to the dishwasher to fulfill our contract. After all, it’s wasn’t as if the dishwasher worked very well to begin with. At first, I wanted to just not fix the dishwasher and leave it until we moved, but we really couldn’t get away with that under the terms of the contract. My next preference was to spend the absolute minimum to get the dishwasher to what could be called “working” again.

Then, while pondering this, I asked myself “What would Jesus do?” I realized I had the totally wrong attitude. Just because our landlord does the least he can, didn’t mean I should act the same way. What I should do is live up to what I promised to do and really fix the dishwasher. And, if we did end up moving in a week then I would be doing a service to the people who moved in, rather than a disservice. Service is good, right?

I don’t know that my attitude change had a huge effect on the outcome of the situation. We had already decided it would be cheaper to buy a used dishwasher on craigslist than it would be try to get someone to repair it. Perhaps I would have tried harder to convince my husband to buy the cheaper, more questionable dishwasher rather than the more expensive, but definitely fully working dishwasher.

The real effect came inside me. I felt so much more at peace about the whole situation once I decided to do the right thing. I no longer felt angry at the landlord. I felt better about the prospect of moving. I knew I was doing the right thing and it made me happy.

Questions and Answers, Liahona, December 2001, 25

Last Sunday in Relief Society we had a lesson on “loving life and learning.” During the lesson we discussed at length how to love life and learning. During this discussion someone shared an insight that I have been thinking about since.

She shared a story of a friend who was not enjoying her mission. Her friend was disturbed by how unhappy she was and talked to her mission president about how to become happier. Her mission president told her to stop worrying so much about being happy and to focus on the Savior. Once the missionary did this, she did not have any more problems with happiness for the rest of her mission.

This story resonated with me because I often find the harder I try to make myself be happy, the worse I feel. It makes sense that focusing outward on the Savior would make one happier than just trying to be happy.

So, then, how do I focus on the Savior? I searched lds.org and found in Questions and Answers many answers to the question “How can I keep my thoughts centered on Jesus Christ during my daily activities?

Answers they gave included:

  • Strive to be obedient
  • Pray
  • Study the scriptures
  • Serve
  • Attend the temple and other Church meetings

I also enjoyed reading church member’s stories about how they focus on Jesus Christ throughout the day. It helped me to realize that I definitely could do much better about focusing on the Savior as I go through my daily activities.

So, I am going to resolve to think more about the Savior as I go through my day. I’m going to especially try to find ways to be more Christlike as I attend to my daily things. Perhaps I could be a little more patient with my husband? Perhaps I could think about the deeper meaning of a problem rather than just complain?

What do you do to keep your thoughts focused on the Savior throughout the day? Or, what do you plan to do to get better at this important key to happiness?