- The chorus of one of my favorite hymns entreats, “Lift up your heart! Lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!” The dictionary defines rejoice as “to feel joy or great delight”. The source of the kind of joy which causes us to rejoice is an understanding of the plan of salvation.
- The Resurrection and Atonement wrought by the Savior and the promise of eternal life with our loved ones are of such overwhelming significance that to not rejoice would demonstrate a lack of understanding of the Savior’s gift. Joy comes when we have the Spirit in our lives (see Alma 22:15 ). When we have the Spirit, we rejoice in what the Savior has done for us.
He shares a story about asking his son about what he wants to be when he grows up and he tells him a doctor like his uncle. The next week he asks him and he says he wants to be a pilot because doctors can't take time to watch Saturday morning cartoons. He likes the Saturday morning cartoons to distractions in our lives that take us from going after the things we want most in life.
- In addition to attaining saving ordinances and following the living prophet, we need to live in accordance with certain fundamental spiritual principles, such as prayer, scripture study, righteous living, and service to others. It is well understood that if we engage in sinful conduct, we must repent. Let me suggest three distractions we need to avoid in order to maintain joy and rejoice more fully in the Savior’s gift:
- (1) avoid distractions which keep us from doing what we ought to do.
- (2) avoid the magnification of small imperfections.
- (3) avoid unfavorable comparisons with others.
As he goes on to detail these three areas, he shares with us:
- We are often unaware of the distractions which push us in a material direction and keep us from a Christ-centered focus. In essence we let celestial goals get sidetracked by telestial distractions.
(1) avoid distractions which keep us from doing what we ought to do.
- The greatest gift to all mankind is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If we are to rejoice in this gift, we need to avoid the Saturday Morning Cartoons of life which distract our focus from the Savior and the celestial goal for which we strive.
(2) avoid the magnification of small imperfections.
- A second group who do not find joy are distracted by magnifying small areas of imperfection so as to drive out happiness. Some have allowed their own perceptions of imperfection to cloud the reality of their lives. They are unduly critical of themselves and of others. They have become accustomed to exaggerating small imperfections and underestimating great blessings and have lost the capacity to rejoice.
(3) avoid unfavorable comparisons with others.
- A third area of distraction that can destroy joy is comparing our talents and blessings with others. The growth in our own talents is the best measure of personal progress. We usually judge others at their best and ourselves at our worst. Comparing blessings is almost certain to drive out joy. We cannot be grateful and envious at the same time. If we truly want to have the Spirit of the Lord and experience joy and happiness, we should rejoice in our blessings and be grateful. We should especially rejoice in the blessings that are available through the temple
This is great advice about being happy. I have found in my life, I am always happier when I have set aside some time and put in some effort to fulfill my calling or meditate on the things of God. Spending some time reviewing my life and if I am focusing on the correct things is an exercise that allows me to refocus on what is most important to me in life. To find true happiness, I must be living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Elder Cook reminds us that we can rejoice and have peace in this life but it is only through properly living the gospel.