But these ideas remind me of what I know to be true, and today I thought I'd share them.
(Each idea originated from a talk at our church's recent General Conference, so I've linked to each specific source.)
Idea #1: The most important part of the service we give is our daily spiritual preparation.
Sometimes I mistakenly believe that I need to "rush into my work" because there is an overwhelming amount to do. But putting spiritual preparation first is essential. Taking time to pray, study scripture, record impressions, and connect with the Lord first is the way we ensure that the rest of our day's work and activities will matter.
More on that topic here.
Idea #2: "Using all our strength" means something different than we often think it means.
This story has been coming back to my mind over and over again:
A young boy was trying to smooth out the dirt area behind his house so he could play there with his cars. There was a large rock obstructing his work. The boy pushed and pulled with all his might, but no matter how hard he tried, the rock wouldn’t budge.
His father watched for a while, then came to his son and said, “You need to use all your strength to move a rock this large.”
The boy responded, “I have used all my strength!”
His father corrected him: “No you haven’t. You haven’t had my help yet!”
They then bent down together and moved the rock easily.
That is the story of my life.
I work as hard as I can to "move rocks," (often doubting myself and wondering how on earth I will possibly be able to do it), but the moment I remember to ask my Father for help, the rock moves . . . easily.
Idea #3: Remember that "good timber doesn't grow with ease."
Have you heard this poem?
Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Douglas Malloch, “Good Timber,” in Sterling W. Sill, Making the Most of Yourself (1971), 23.
I love this.
Idea #4: We need to identify which spiritual vulnerabilities of ours the adversary tries to exploit.
I believe that there is an adversary out there, and he knows where we're weak. One of my biggest vulnerabilities is my tendency to feel anxious when things are unknown or uncertain. So I'm doing everything I can to strengthen my faith, to develop habits that reduce my anxiety, and to hopefully turn this weakness into a strength.
Idea #5: A grateful person is content.
It's so easy to think, "Life will be great once we've taken the family to Europe." or "Once we have our dream house and our dream jobs and our dream family and our dreamy life, we won't have any problems."
Silly, I know.
We definitely want to move forward in creating beautiful, meaningful lives--and that can include a lovely home and fun vacations and work we love--but if we're really grateful to the Lord for all He has given us, we will feel contentment now.
Idea #6: We must recognize the simple and subtle blessings the Lord has given to us.
It's common to notice the big blessings, but if we step back and ask ourselves, "What blessings would the Lord like me to notice?" we will definitely identify hundreds and thousands of ways we have received the Lord's grace.
Idea #7: "Fatigue is the common enemy of us all—so slow down, rest up, replenish and refill."
I really, really, really needed this one. I've been staying up too late and feeling so anxious during the day that I haven't been able to rest during quiet time, and then because I've been so tired, life has felt more overwhelming than it needs to feel. (Has that ever happened to you?) I like when I'm reminded to slow down and rest. We all need that.
Idea #8: The Father is generous with His power.
This idea touches my heart every time I think of it. Sometimes life, for all of us, feels so heavy. But God has the power to handle everything. When we feel like we're lacking in knowledge, ability, resilience, mental strength, or anything, we turn to our Father, and He blesses us. This has been true for me in every case throughout my life so far.
If you have any additional ideas to share, I'd love to hear them.
Hope these ideas are helpful for you.