Make no little plans; they have no magic [there] to stir men’s blood
And probably themselves will not be realized.
We must recognize that excellence and quality are a reflection of how we feel about ourselves and about life and about God. If we don’t care much about these basic things, then such not caring carries over into the work we do, and our work becomes shabby and shoddy.
Real craftsmanship, regardless of the skill involved, reflects real caring, and real caring reflects our attitude about ourselves, about our fellowmen, and about life.
To improve your relationships, don't look to others to change and don't look to easy, step-by-step shortcut, sunshine formulas that do not strike at the roots. Look to yourself. Be honest with yourself first - the roots of your problems are spiritual. So also, therefore, are the root solutions. The key lies in your own heart. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (Proverbs 4:23)
You are called to be a light, not a judge. Build your own character and relationships on the light of this world. Build your home and family around him.
I believe that days one and two (to use the analogy of the six days of creation) for most of us involve getting more control over the body - such as getting to bed early, arising early, exercising regularly, eating in moderation, staying at our work when necessary even though tired, etc. Too many are trying to conquer other higher weaknesses (day four, five or six), such as procrastination, impatience, or pride, while still a slave to their appetites. If we can't control our tongue (a part of the body) or overcome emotions of anger, envy, jealousy, or hatred. Can I truly love and gossip also? Algebra precedes calculus.
Many pray for the blessings of days five and six (love, spirituality, wisdom, specific guidance in decision-making), and are unwilling to obey the laws of days one, two, three, and four (mastering appetites and passions). One may give lip service to the principle of consecration and yet not participate in the quorum projects or magnify his home teaching calling.
We must be aware of the dangers of comparing.
"Tom, there is simply no reason for you to bring home a report card like this. If only you'd apply yourself like your brother, you could get good grades too!" This may be true, but if our children's (or our own) sense of worth and personal security comes from being compared with others, how insecure and anxious they will be - feeling superior one minute and inferior the next. Opinions, customs, fashions are fickle, always changing. There is no anchorage or security in changing things. Internal security simply does not come externally. Borrowing strength from any source that does not build and internally strengthen the borrower will internally weaken him.
From what sources, then, can we borrow strength without building weakness? Only from the sources that build the internal capacity to deal with whatever the situation calls for. For instance, a surgeon borrows strength fro his developed skill and knowledge; a mile runner from his disciplined body, strong legs, powerful lungs; a missionary from his developed capacity to love and teach and testify.
In other words, we ask the question: What is it that the situation demands? What strength, what skill, what knowledge, what attitude? Obviously the possessions, the appearances, or the credentials of the surgeon, the athlete, or the missionary are only symbols of what is needed and are therefore worthless and deceiving without the substance.
But when we borrow strenth from divine sources and eternal principals, the very nature of the borrowing demands our living better, and we thus build strength inside.
"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life..." (John 6:27.)
No matter what our backgrounds or the quality of marriage our grandparents or parents enjoyed, we can in time and with the Lord’s help achieve the ideal. If our heritage includes a spiritually strong family with healthy marriages and close relationships, we will be able to build and even improve on the foundation that has been laid. If our heritage is not as strong, we can resolve that our children will receive a richer legacy.
Above all, I hope that we will vow never to be satisfied with a mediocre marriage. Not long ago a friend told me that one of his young children had asked, “Do you think Grandpa ever kisses Grandma?”
I certainly hope my wife and I are sufficiently in love and demonstrative about it that our grandchildren will not have to wonder. We can never afford to let our relationships become merely mutual toleration or accommodation.
Eternal marriage is godlike marriage. The term eternal describes the quality of marriage as much as its duration.
What an opportunity! But so many would like to talk about other things—the weather, politics, or to talk about something that was just done in the ward, the division of a ward, the reorganization of a bishopric, the reorganization of the Relief Society presidency, or any of the numerous things that could be done in the ward that people might find reason for questioning or criticizing. How glorious is the privilege of two sisters going into a home, de-emphasizing anything that could be detrimental, and instead, building up all the authorities of the Church, the Church itself, its doctrines, its policies, its practices.
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