"Christmas is a time of reflection on what we can become because of God's sacred gift. As we discover the gift, we learn of the immeasurable love of God and our absolute need for a Savior. As we embrace the gift, we strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire to become more like Him. As we share the gift, we follow in the Master's footsteps, who invited all to hear His message."
-Elder Russell M. Nelson
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
In 1847 the Latter-Day Saints began to gather in the Salt Lake, Utah Valley after having been persecuted and forced from their homes and communities multiple times. They migrated to a faraway and isolated desert. They wanted to flourish and establish a permanent home for themselves. This meant that the Saints needed to learn skills that would allow them to take care of all their needs. While many specific duties of temporal self-reliance are different today, the principles behind these duties remain constant: Latter-Day Saints are counseled to do all they can to provide the temporal necessities of life for themselves and their families.
*Learn to love work, and avoid idleness
*Acquire a spirit of self-sacrifice
*Accept personal responsibility for spiritual strength
*Accept personal responsibility for health, education, employment, finances, food, and
other life-sustaining necessities
*Pray for faith and courage to meet challenges that come
Spiritual self-reliance is essential to our eternal well-being. When we are spiritually self-reliant our testimonies do not depend on the testimonies of others. We seek our own spiritual experiences through praying daily, studying the scriptures, and exercising faith in Jesus Christ. We turn to our Heavenly Father for His help to resolve our own difficult problems. We are also able to strengthen others in their times of spiritual need.
What have you done to become more spiritually self-reliant? How have you been blessed by being spiritually self-reliant?
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are taught to be self-reliant. This includes making decisions for ourselves. I have heard often that no child is the same. Each child comes to the world needing, wanting and giving different things. However, we find ourselves listening to others tell miraculous tricks that work on improving their life at work, at home, and in their social lives and, as readers, we believe that those tricks would work on us as well.
I believe in listening to those who are experienced to learn from them. But I also know that we are born with different talents and that the things I learn from others are to be applied in my life after modifying it to fit me personally. For example, I have a talented friend who wakes up every morning before six to run to her gym to exercise. I know who I am, and I know that if I wake up that early, no one would want to be around me. I also know that I don't have a strong motivation to exercise. So I took her wisdom and started waking up half an hour earlier than normal to exercise in my living room while I listen to instructors on the internet. This is much more suitable for my personal needs but I still improved my health by listening to my friend.
This also applies to our bigger choices in life. We have parents, teachers, peers, and other leaders telling us to make the same choices they did in life. I believe that those who loves us tell us to make their same choices because they care and it has worked fore them so they think it will work for us. And I don't think they tell us what to do because they think they are better than us. I also believe that self-improvement books are written by someone's personal experience and that is why there are so many different types of self-improvement books to choose from. While listening to other's advice is always a smart choice, the choices you make should be the one that is best for you at the time. So how do we make our own choices in a world that is accustomed to following other's opinions? How do we break the bad habits of our previous generations or improve on the good ones?
In Alma chapter 37 verse 37, it reads, "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good [...]."
This scriptures helps me understand that if I want to be better, I need to counsel with the Lord in all that I do. This includes the small and almost insignificant routine that you've developed in your life whether from personal habits or from habits you learned in the home. For instance, my family had various schedules so we would go to bed whenever we finished our work, homework, house chores and even watching TV or playing games. My parents would go to bed at different times as well as all my siblings. So when I married my husband and he told me that his parents went to bed at the same time, I prayed to figure out what I wanted in my future home. And I broke the habit of sleeping whenever to gain a healthier relationship with my husband--even if that meant I had to forgo my personal indulgences of Netflix shows.
In Doctrine and Covenants section 9 verses 7-9, it states, "Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me."
These versus summarize how we can be self-reliant in our choices. If we want to make the best choices in our life, we need to study our options, gain an understanding of those options through parents, friends, and other people or through books and the internet, and then we need to pray to our Heavenly Father if the choice you want to make is the best one. We can't assume that God will stop us from making the wrong choices if we haven't done our part in researching all of our options. And we can't blame God for the wrong choices we have made if we didn't research carefully and ask Him with a sincere heart before making those choices.
I know that it can be challenging to go against the cultural norm even if you know that your choice is the better one. I know that if we take the time to contemplate our life and how we can change it for the better, God will help you find what you are searching for. I know that we can improve our personal life, family, work life, and our society by learning how to make our own decisions. We can only do this by gaining more knowledge and seeking for God's will in all that we do.
What are some experiences you have had when you have made your own decisions based on the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Work is honorable. Developing the capacity to work will help us contribute to the world in which we live. It will bring us an increased sense of self-worth. It will bless us and our families, both now and in the future.
We should set high goals for ourselves, and be willing to work hard to achieve them. Develop self-discipline, and be dependable. We should strive to do our best in our employment, schoolwork and other worthwhile pursuits. Our Father in Heaven has given us gifts and talents and knows what we are capable of achieving. If we seek His help and guidance as we work to achieve our goals, He will bless us.
Have you seen blessings from working hard to achieve your goals? How has our Father in Heaven helped you?