Archive for the ‘priorities’ Tag

Staying Focused

Reading: “We are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, April 2009 General Conference, Priesthood Session

Life is busy, and many times it may become easy to lose our focus.  In this talk President Uchtdorf encourages us to remember what matters most and stay focused on that thing.  To illustrate this President Uchtdorf shared the story of a plane whose pilots became so focused on figuring out why the landing gear had not deployed they stopped paying attention to their altitude, not realizing that they were gradually descending in the night until they crashed into a swamp, killing all 100 occupants of the plane.  President Uchtdorf tells us,

We know what matters most in life—the Light of Christ teaches this to everyone. We as faithful Latter-day Saints have the Holy Ghost as a “constant companion” to teach us the things of eternal value. I imagine that any priesthood holder listening to my voice today, if asked to prepare a talk on the subject “what matters most,” could and would do an excellent job. Our weakness is in failing to align our actions with our conscience.

Reading this talk reminded me of an experience I had while I was pregnant with our daughter.  Early in my pregnancy I felt overwhelmed by all the things I wanted to do before I had the baby – from making blankets, to organizing the house, to keeping a journal of my experiences, and more.  I decided in order to sort out what was most important I would write down everything I wanted to do and arrange them by order of importance.  As I did this it became apparent that what was most important was taking care of myself, and keeping myself unstressed and healthy so that the baby would be healthy.  I quickly realized that all of the extra stuff wasn’t near as important as that main goal, and that by trying to everything I was defeating what was most important.  After that I scaled down my efforts a lot more, and although I didn’t get as many blankets sewn and my nursery room wasn’t as cute as it could have been, I didn’t mind because I knew I had stayed focused on what was most important. I am so very grateful for the reminder about what was most important because it made a huge difference in how I experienced my pregnancy.

I really needed to read this talk today because lately I have been feeling overwhelmed by the many projects and priorities vying for my attention.  Today I am going to write them down and decide what is most important and what is keeping me from staying focused on those things.

What is most important to you?  Is there anything else that is taking your attention away from those things?  How can you stay better focused on your first priorities.

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Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

Reading: “Life’s Lessons Learned,” by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 2007

Now that Christmas is over, it is that time of year when we are lead to look back on the past year, and also look forward and plan what we would like the next year to be like.

In this talk Elder Wirthlin, who passed away at the beginning of this month, talks about some formative experiences in his life.  He observes that it was his continual commitment to the most important things that kept him on course in his life.  He says,

I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them.

This year as I have been thinking about all the goals I would like to have, I realized that there are more than I can accomplish realistically.  I’d like to keep my house cleaner, become more educated, be more patient, be healthier, and do all the little things I think I should be doing.  If I were to try to do all of it at once, I would probably fail.

So, instead, I decided to focus on a few small things that I feel are most important.  These include being more patient and loving with my family, saying prayers every morning and night, reading my scriptures, writing in my journal, and following the promptings of the Spirit.  Then, I’ll just turn all of that other stuff over to the Lord and have faith that he will be better able to help me improve in those other areas than I could do on my own.

This is my version of “keeping my eye on the ball” for right now.  How do you keep your eyes on what is most important as you work to improve yourself?