Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Life's Great Balancing Act"

As I read my scriptures this week and studied the lesson material for both classes I am taking, I was struck with the fact that both classes taught about the importance of making decisions and having goals.  Our little family has been having a year of many decisions, at least it feels like we have had to make more decisions this year than we are used to making.  These are big decisions about buying cars, what kind of school do we want for our children as half of our children enter a new faze of life, medical decisions, and then all the day to day decisions on top of those big one.

Dealing with all these decisions can be hard and stressful.  I find comfort in the words of Elder M. Russell Ballard from his General Conference address back in April of 1987 (link to the talk).  He says that "a periodic review of the covenants we have made with the Lord will help us with our priorities and with balance in our lives...  Working out our own salvation requires good planning and a deliberate, valiant effort."  He goes on to counsel us on eight points that can help us in finding balance in our lives, such as goal setting, being careful with finances, strengthen family relations, study the scriptures, exercise, pray, etc.

An illustration of a boy in a blue polo shirt standing and putting money into a green piggy bank on a table.
In our world today, I feel that if we are more careful about how we spend our money we will be free from much of the stress that comes debt.  That is why this year has been a bit stressful as we have had to make decisions about items, or troubles, that would end up costing our little family a lot.
I took comfort in my scripture reading as a set of verses stood out to me while reading 2 Nephi 9.  Jacob, the brother of Nephi, is delivering many great teachings in this chapter and others surrounding it, but in verse 50 he says to "Come" and buy without money.  Now I am sure he is mainly talking about this in a spiritual sense, but in the next verse he says, "do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy."  This helps me to see that as we make our decisions each day on what we will use our time and money for, we can ask ourselves "Is this really of worth?" Or "Will I be satisfied after I have it?"  For the majority of our wants, the answer will most likely be no.

 A poster showing an image of the earth from space with a sign that reads “Everything for sale,” paired with the words “Don’t Buy It.”

I can see this as I raise my children and their wants just move from one thing to the next.  I often hear the words, "Oh, I have ALWAYS wanted this."  Yet, on occasion when we have bought that longed for object it ends up in the growth pile of longed for objects in their room, only to be looked at once or twice a year.  Truly this is not or worth and it hasn't satisfied my child because they continue to long for more.
So where can we be satisfied, what is of real worth.  When we open our hearts to feasting on the words of God, then our mind and spirit can be more aligned to what is of most worth in our lives.  We have a greater perspective on life, an eternal perspective, and this also helps us with our everyday decisions.

A white background with a peach border combined with the words of 2 Nephi 32:3.

Jacob, back in verse 51, says to "feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness."  When we choose to use our time to feast on the words or Christ, or read and ponder the scriptures and words of the prophets, we will find our souls feeling satified and full and the world can't take that away.  There is nothing in the world that can give us that kind of satifaction.

When we have that satisfied feeling, we really won't even want the things of the world.  We will be happy with what we have, and an amazing thing will happen, we will actually be blessed with an abundance.  We will feel we have more than enough and want to share with others.  When this happens, we need to do as Jacob counselled in verse 52, "pray unto him [God] continually by day, and give thanks unto his holy name by night. Let your hearts rejoice."

A conceptual photograph of a young woman welcoming falling rain while those around her put up umbrellas, paired with the words “Let It Pour!”

I love these teachings and feel in my heart that it is truth.  I feel full and satisfied and hope that all can "Come" to feast on the words of God through prophets of old and modern prophets.  I know this is the only way we can feel satisfied in this life and in this world.  We will then be able to maneuver through "life's great balancing act" (Dr. Suess, "Oh, the Places You'll Go") and make good decisions.