Finding Joy In Life
Liz's talk given June 10, 2012
Good Morning Brothers and Sisters.
My topic today is “Finding Joy in Life” which was a General Conference talk given by Richard G. Scott in April 1996. (I’ll be quoting from this a lot.) But before I get into that, let me introduce us.
I’m Liz, and that’s my husband John, and out mailbox says we are the Evans’.
We both grew up in Kaysville about three blocks from each other, although I don’t remember meeting him until High School.
We were just casual friends for a while until we met again at a CES Fireside after I had graduated, and I distinctly remember having the feeling that something was going to happen that night that would change my life forever. And there he was. From that night on we pretty much spent every day together as just friends. He always had a girl friend, that wasn’t me, and I had a boyfriend that wasn’t him.
But it wasn’t long until I had fallen head over heals in love with him and just had to bide my time. He left on his mission and 6 months later I left on mine. John served in the Canada Toronto West Mission, and I served in the Washington DC South Mission (Which is the greatest mission in the world.) After writing each other weekly for those two years he came home in July 2001 and I followed in August 2001.
From there he had to dump his girlfriend, because he had realized that it was me he wanted, and *then* we finally dated.
We went on three official dates before we got engaged on Thanksgiving and were married January 2002.
He bought me a house for our 10th anniversary, and that’s how we ended up here.
In the past 10 years we have:
Been through the deaths of 4 close friends, 1 cousin, 1 grandpa, and 1 sister.
Made 3 trips to the emergency room
Had 1 ambulance ride
1 Neurological Disorder
Been through 4 cars
3 car accidents
2 years of unemployment
1 back surgery
Numerous Illnesses and Injuries
Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
And a law suit.
Despite all of this, we are happy. How? Because we know the plan of happiness, and we take the time to enjoy the good parts of life when they come.
In Richard G. Scott’s talk he says:
“Sadness, disappointment, and severe challenge are events in life, not life itself. I do not minimize how hard some of these events are. They can extend over a long period of time, but they should not be allowed to become the confining center of everything you do. The Lord inspired Lehi to declare the fundamental truth, “Men are, that they might have joy.” 1 That is a conditional statement: “they might have joy.” It is not conditional for the Lord. His intent is that each of us finds joy. It will not be conditional for you as you obey the commandments, have faith in the Master, and do the things that are necessary to have joy here on earth.”
We have been handed a load of hard experiences in not a lot of time, but I want you to know that all this stuff isn’t who we are. It’s helped us to become the people that we are today, by teaching us that we are stronger than we thought we were.
We have learned some really tough lessons through our trials that we hope will make us more compassionate and that we’ll be able to help others who may have fallen on some hard times as well. We’ve learned that this is just how life goes sometimes.
Elder Scott’s talk continues:
“Your joy in life depends upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His holy Son, your conviction that their plan of happiness truly can bring you joy. Pondering their doctrine will let you enjoy the beauties of this earth and enrich your relationships with others. It will lead you to the comforting, strengthening experiences that flow from prayer to Father in Heaven and the answers He gives in return.”
He goes on to say:
“The Lord is intent on your personal growth and development. That progress is accelerated when you willingly allow Him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter, whether initially it be to your individual liking or not. When you trust in the Lord, when you are willing to let your heart and your mind be centered in His will, when you ask to be led by the Spirit to do His will, you are assured of the greatest happiness along the way and the most fulfilling attainment from this mortal experience. If you question everything you are asked to do, or dig in your heels at every unpleasant challenge, you make it harder for the Lord to bless you.”
I know I am guilty of this all the time. I’m a bit stubborn that way.
I was recently directed to a website called Billion Clicks.org. It was created by an LDS singer who tried an experiment where she got a manual clicker and counted the negative thought she had for a week, and after 7 days felt more gloomy and depressed for doing it. She decided that instead of counting the bad thoughts she would start counting the positive/uplifting/optimistic thoughts she had, and was amazed at how pausing for just that moment to “click” for that good thought, it made her realize her blessings and changed her mood for the better. There is a counter on her website where you can log your own clicks to make it to a billion. I think I need a clicker.
According to Elder Scott,
“Simple, rejuvenating experiences surround us. They can be safety valves to keep the tension down and the spirit up. Don’t concentrate on what you don’t have or have lost. The Lord promised the obedient to share all that He possesses with them. You may temporarily lack here, but in the next life, if you prove yourself worthy by living valiantly, a fullness will be your blessing.
Find the compensatory blessings in your life when, in the wisdom of the Lord, He deprives you of something you very much want. To the sightless or hearing impaired, He sharpens the other senses. To the ill, He gives patience, understanding, and increased appreciation for others’ kindness. With the loss of a dear one, He deepens the bonds of love, enriches memories, and kindles hope in a future reunion. You will discover compensatory blessings when you willingly accept the will of the Lord and exercise faith in Him.”
My life is full of compensatory blessings. I am so grateful to have them as tender mercies to some of the experiences we have encountered. We do need to qualify for them though. We need to follow the commandments of the Lord and do what is right and expected of us. When I do, I am given more blessing that I get when I’m not obedient.
“The Lord has said, “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” D&C 24:8”
What a comfort it is to know that I am not alone. I know that I have a Heavenly Father who knows me. Who knows my trials and shares in my joys. I know that as I keep the commandments I will be blessed. He has given me so much, that most days my trials truly feel like a thing of the past, but I know there are more ahead of us. We just need to remember, and take the time to appreciate the good things in life and the blessings that our Father wants to pour down upon us.
I’ll end with this scripture from Mosiah 2:41 as King Benjamin was teaching his people he said:
And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ,