Friday, July 18, 2014

Be of Good Cheer

April, 2009. The Global economy is taking a nosedive. The financial outlook is grim, and it's near the beginning of what's now being referred to as "the Great Recession." In the next couple years, jobs will be lost, companies will go down, and people will lose some of what they have worked hard to gain. What's more, increasing suffering and discord is shown on the news every day.

What did President Monson have to say at this point in time? "Be of Good Cheer." How is this possible, you might ask? He didn't just start with this phrase. He explained the negative situation many people in the world were finding themselves in. He was sensible, and admitted that there were problems. President Monson explained,

"It would be easy to become discouraged and cynical about the future—or even fearful of what might come—if we allowed ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong in the world and in our lives. Today, however, I’d like us . . . to focus instead on our blessings as members of the Church. The Apostle Paul declared, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 

April 2009 Conference address, Sunday Morning Session, emphasis added. 

The Prophet then continues to explain that none make it through this life without problems, tragedies, and misfortunes. He admits this is for us to learn and grow while here on earth, and that as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we understand that we will have suffering and hardship in our lives. He then references 2 Nephi 2:25: Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." How then do we find joy in our lives, despite all that we face? This is a good question--one which many of us ask ourselves each day.

And yet, I think sometimes we don't even ask that question. We just wonder why we're sad. But asking how we can find joy is important, because it shows a true desire to seek after it. After all, anyone who has struggled knows that joy doesn't just come when you want it to.

President Monson then answers his own question with another scripture, found in D&C 68:6 Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.

It occurred to me the other day while reading Alma chapter 2 that one of the greatest themes of the Book of Mormon is that God is with us. How many times do we read about the Nephites vs a much larger army of Lamanites, and them prevailing because of their faith and righteousness? He will stand by us, so we should not fear. Instead, it becomes possible for us to be of good cheer. Notice we are not told to "feel of good cheer," or "strive for good cheer," or even "be open to the idea of good cheer." No. We are told quite clearly, "be."

Although it appears to be a command, I think that from this urging, we can know that it is possible to be of good cheer. It is attainable! We just need to focus on the good, instead of the bad, because there will always be bad. But with that, there will always be good, too.

President Monson later stated in the same talk:

The history of the Church in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, is replete with the experiences of those who have struggled and yet who have remained steadfast and of good cheer as they have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives. This attitude is what will pull us through whatever comes our way. It will not remove our troubles from us but rather will enable us to face our challenges, to meet them head on, and to emerge victorious.

Did you see that? Whatever comes our way. We have the assurance that we can deal with it when we have an attitude of steadfastness and good cheer--making the gospel the center of our lives. This assurance comes from a Prophet of God. 

President Monson ends his talk with a beautiful testimony, saying that "the future is as bright as your faith." If one of your struggles is dealing with keeping the faith, or even feeling like you have any, this is also true for you: the future is as bright as your true desire to gain that faith. If you have a righteous desire to build your faith, God will bless you. "Ask, and ye shall receive. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you."

I really believe that whatever your problem, we can be of good cheer. The Lord loves us, and is with us. As agents, we are able to make the choice to focus on the good, and to look for the Lord's hand in all things. For me, I don't lack much. I am afraid for the future sometimes, what with taking a new job, graduating, and moving to a new place. But I am so grateful for the truths of the Gospel, which provide the light of my life. I hope I can always see God's hand in all things, that I may focus on the good, and be of good cheer.
The Lord stated,
"In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

He overcame all, so that we don't have to. But, if we must overcome some, we can be of good cheer, because He understands fully and infinitely.

*I've obviously drawn much from the talk given by President Monson referenced at the beginning of this post. I would highly recommend that you read it. It is wonderfully uplifting and faith-promoting.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


 This post is in honor of my husband's birthday! Wooooooooooooo! He's turning 23!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Old fogey.

Anyway, typical birthday wishes aside (I love you, you're amazing, I'm so glad to have you in my life), I thought I'd make a fun and (hopefully) witty post to explore my thought process on the 20-something experience, as well as an excuse to write something just for my baby on his birthday.

And, without further ado, here it is

23 things you realize when you turn 23:

  1. Life has suddenly turned into a race to out-achieve your peers–from traveling the world to starting a 401K.
  2. At least one major cultural trend went by without you having the slightest idea what it was, e.g. who is Iggy Azalea anyway (who dat, who dat)?
  3. You laugh at the horrifying reality that someone you know is responsible for molding the minds of a classroom of children.
  4. You’re not sure what’s more difficult; doing your own taxes, or finding a full-time job.
  5. You’re old enough to know everything, but too young to actually know anything.
  6. You worry about the stupid neighbors who don’t know how to park like normal human beings.

  7. You’re beginning to realize that “planning your future” is somewhat useful, and useless at the same time, because it all ends up its own way anyway.
  8. It does not seem financially feasible to have a child within the next ten years.
  9. You’ve outgrown eating ridiculous amounts of candy (wait, who are we kidding here—you freaking LOVE candy) . . . or rather, you just exercise small amounts of self-control.
  10. You’ve started to qualify your age with what year you graduated high school, which seems inherently wrong. You didn’t even care about high school, so why does it determine how you measure time?
  11. Rather than comparing petty things like size and strength, you’re more interested in comparing job benefits and student debt.
  12. You’re not sure how many more years you’ve got until you can no longer be proud of the fact that you like bands like Mae.
  13. You’ve only got a few more years until you can eat fast food without tremendous repercussions.
  14. Fortunately for you, grey hair is closer to being the latest trend instead of an embarrassment.
  15. You’re around five years older than most popular movie and NHL stars.
  16. Five minutes from now, you’ll probably get really tired for absolutely no reason.
  17. You’ve quit taking the bait on itemized/numbered articles like, “23 things 23 year olds do.”
  18. Your life centers around work, school, work, and Netflix/watching and re-watching your favorite TV shows.

  19. You now actually know what AKA means. #nojudgement
  20. You’ve begun to lose touch with friends for the sheer reason of no reason at all.
  21. You’re beginning to identify less with pesky neighbor kids, and more with parents. And you actually say the word “pesky.”
  22. You’re pretty sure all your thoughts are a giant cliché, you know they’ve all been voiced before, and you’re pretty sure any contribution you could make to society has already been contributed. But you try anyway.
  23. You identify all too well with certain Blink 182 songs, and realize that teens today think of them as an “old band,” if they know who they are at all.

Happy Birthday, sweetie. I love you!!