Sunday, December 8, 2013

Oh, remember, remember

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like everything went wrong?  You know what I mean.  First you woke up late and didn't have time to prepare for the day like you usually do.  You went to eat breakfast and realized that you're out of milk, so no cereal for you.  You quickly throw together a lunch and head out the door, only to realize it's like -20 degrees outside and you've got to spend a half hour scraping off your car, by the end of which your ears are frozen off, your fingers are completely numb, and you're pretty sure you hurt muscles in your arm you didn't know existed.  

You get in the car and drive off, only to get stuck in traffic because everyone is driving no more than 20 miles an hour due to the snow.  All day nothing seems to be working out and you just have this sick feeling inside all day, feeling like nothing is working.  You get home, manage to eat something, relax for a few hours and then hop into bed, hoping that it all is better tomorrow.

I'm pretty sure we can all empathize with that.  Luckily I haven't had one of those days for a week or so, but it is no fun.  Sometimes the day just doesn't go right.  I can only imagine what it's like to have kids and a family at home to add on to that stress.  

So what do you do?  How can you get through those tough days?  How can we make it through the rough stretch?  This has been something that has been very difficult for me personally.  I remember when I served my mission in Argentina, sometimes days were just like I described above.  Nothing was going right, everyone slammed the door in your face, all of your appointments fell through, and it decided to rain cats and dogs all day.  Those days are tough.  But I learned something, and this is what I want to share with you.

It's a very simple concept, which, when applied, will change your life forever.  I believe that all scripture points to this specific principle, all scripture invites us to practice this principle, and it can be said in just one word, a mere 8 letters, only 3 syllables: remember.  

Now, you might be asking, "remember what?  What are you talking about, Ben?"  

Let me explain using a scripture found in the Book of Mormon:

"And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.
Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people...yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One--yea, and this because of their ease and their exceedingly great prosperity."

Does that make sense?  What is it that we don't remember?  We don't remember all the good things that have already happened to us!  We forget the many times that God has blessed us.  We forget about the time that everything was going wrong and God sent someone to brighten up our day.  We forget about the experience we had in church when we felt how much God loved us.  We forget that we are sons and daughters of a God.  

Instead, what do we do?  We focus on the here and now.  We focus on how everything is going wrong.  We don't think about the fact that this is probably a trial God has given us to see how we will act after he has just blessed us.  Will we act like spoiled children that want everything to be nice and fair and easy?  Or will we step up to the plate and show God how much we love Him and what we are ready to sacrifice for Him?

I promise you that as you keep that eternal perspective, as you choose to search for the positive in the negative, as you remember the many ways in which God has blessed you, the "negative" will not be negative at all.  You will be grateful that you had those extra minutes to sleep, that you had the opportunity to eat something else other than cereal, that you got a workout while scraping your car.  You'll be grateful for the opportunity to learn patience and good driving skills while driving around in the snow with everyone else.  You'll be grateful for a warm home to come back to, for a comfortable bed to fall asleep in.  And you know what?  Your day will not be negative at all.  In fact, you might actually learn something and have a positive spiritual experience that day.  

This is what God wants for us, His children, and I promise you that it is possible.  God is the author of all that is positive, and He cannot produce anything negative.  So if you are feeling negative, remember who that really comes from, and remember instead all of the positive that God has given you.

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