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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Finding Joy in Life

Taught by Terry S.

During the past year we have been focusing on "Having a heart like His".  Each month something was handed out in Relief Society to help us remember to do our visiting teaching with 
"A Heart like His".  The following story by Sister Virginia Pearce, reminds us of one way of opening our hearts.

"Several years ago I took my mother shopping for a winter coat.  Shopping is not my favorite activity, and it was getting close to dinner time before we finally found the right coat.  It was a soft grey wool with raglan sleeves that brushed the tops of her shoes.  The sales woman sent for the alterations lady, who helped mother onto the raised platform and went to work.  I sank into a chair in the corner of the fitting room, lost in my own little world, wondering if I had time on the way home to stop at the grocery store to pick up something for dinner.

Gradually, on the edges of my consciousness, I began to hear a conversation.  Mother would ask a question, and the alterations lady would answer.  At first the answers were rather brief, but as the questions and interest from Mother continued, the answers became longer.  By the time we left, the two of them were laughing together like old friends.  And I was left out- a shriveled, self-absorbed, tired little soul in the corner.  I looked at Mother.  She had come in just as weary as I but was leaving with an added spring in her step.

I learned something about opening hearts from the coat-buying encounter.  An open heart often coaxes open someone else's closed heart.  It's almost magical.  An open heart or a "Heart like His", presents a safe place that others sense, and they respond, sometimes immediately and sometimes more slowly.  No matter, however, whether they respond or not, because in the meantime, we feel so much better living this way.

Take the initiative to get outside yourself and express an interest in those you encounter.  Pray for the courage to do so.  You will find greater joy in life.  

Our new theme for 2013 is found in Doctrine & Covenants 68:6
"Wherefore be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you..."

Elder Richard G. Scott says, "It is clear that no one who has an inclination to live the commandments of God would intentionally do things that would separate him or her from the lord..  I am confident you have the intention of doing all the right things.  Yet I wonder, are you doing them as fully and completely as you are capable of doing?  That is not an accusatory question.  It is one asked in sincerity to help you, if needed, to open your eyes and evaluate each day's decisions to confirm that what you are doing will lead you to where you most desire to be".

Elder Scott suggests a list of things you can do for happiness:
  • Pray with faith to Jesus Christ.
  • Love and serve others.
  • Receive the Temple ordinances. Return to bless others.
  • Listen to the prophet and obey his counsel.
  • Be grateful for what you have.
  • Smile more!

Please remember sisters, that we are not perfect.  Perfection can sometimes be the enemy of righteousness.  When we get caught up worrying about being perfect it's easy to become discouraged, because none of us will ever be perfect in this life.  Even though our Savior commanded us to be perfect like Him, He has no expectations that we will accomplish that in this life.  It's impossible.  Remember, He taught Moroni that He gives us weaknesses so that we can be humble.  And if we humble ourselves, His grace is sufficient to make those weaknesses become strengths but not perfections.

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