Sunday, April 26, 2009

Determined to be Happy

Last night I attended the Saturday night session of Stake Conference. I was scandalous because I was wearing pants (nice black ones mind you, not jeans) since I had been at the U's library for a few hours and didn't bring a skirt to change into before walking over to the Institute building. I thought about going home to change, but traffic and parking was horrible since there was an event at the U and so I just decided to go the way I was so I wouldn't miss any of it.

This session didn't disappoint. I was worried when the first two speakers were a newlywed couple who had been assigned to speak on marriage. Trust me, the last thing singles want to hear is a cheesy couple gushing over the wonders of marriage and how you should try it too, especially because it's required for exaltation. We already KNOW that. I don't think there is a single single (ha ha) who doesn't get that the Church emphasizes celestial marriage. 

But you know what? The talks were good. They were both older and had been in singles wards for a long time and knew what it felt like to do the righteous thing and come to Saturday conference and then leave feeling like a failure because they are STILL burdening the kingdom with their singleness. So they didn't focus on that. Instead they shared their personal experiences along the way and some things they had learned. Rather than being depressing, their talks were inspiring.

But the highlight of the evening for me was my stake president's talk. I have been in this stake for a while and every talk he's given has been great. I really like him. But this talk,"Determined to be Happy" was was especially poignant. He didn't share any magic formulas for how to be happy; instead he focused on how we need to diligently and obstinately make right decisions and apply the Atonement. Confession: diligence is not my strong point. It's something I definitely need to pray for and strive for (diligently, ha!) because in the end it's what separates the wheat from the tares, the happy from the unhappy.

President D. also shared a special message from President Monson that was for our stake particularly. The prophet said two things that struck me. First, he talked about how we need to make the choice of whether our standards will be low or high. Second, we need to be joyful that we get to be on the earth now. I realized that I need to improve in both of these areas.

I won't bore you with further details, but I'll just say that President D. told us that God wants us to be happy, that as we get our lives in order, He will pour out His blessings upon us, yes, even including the miracle of marriage. He will help us determine our own happiness if we let Him. 

I thought about it the rest of the evening and I realized that too often I place my happiness in something else. A great career, an educated, sharp mind, a thin, healthy body, stylish clothes and other material comforts; all of these are good things and certainly worth working toward but these are things I sometimes think will determine my happiness when really I'm missing the mark. These things may come or not, but it is only as I seek to know and follow God's will for me that will determine my happiness, regardless of my external circumstances.

I'm glad I showed up to Saturday night Stake Conference in my pants. I came away determined to make the changes I need to in order to determine my own happiness.

1 comment:

tammyfaye22 said...

I was wondering what President Monson's special message was, so I'm glad to have the mystery debunked. Also, good for you Jamie Lyn! I know that these kinds of things can sometimes be hard for you, but I'm glad you felt they were helpful. Don't feel too bad about going in pants; another friend from the stake and three other guys came fresh after branding cows for two days. I'm pretty sure their attire can't hold anything to your nice black pants. . .