- When stress levels rise, when distress appears, when tragedy strikes, too often we attempt to keep up the same frantic pace or even accelerate, thinking somehow that the more rushed our pace, the better off we will be. One of the characteristics of modern life seems to be that we are moving at an ever-increasing rate, regardless of turbulence or obstacles.
We need to be sure that our daily tasks are not burdening us with unnecessary responsibilities that get in the way of our spiritual development.
- It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks.
What Is the Solution?
- The search for the best things inevitably leads to the foundational principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ—the simple and beautiful truths revealed to us by a caring, eternal, and all-knowing Father in Heaven. These core doctrines and principles, though simple enough for a child to understand, provide the answers to the most complex questions of life.
The Power of Basics
- I think most of us intuitively understand how important the fundamentals are. It is just that we sometimes get distracted by so many things that seem more enticing.
He shares that he understands how the message of the gospel can get overshadowed in our everyday responsibilities.
- It is so easy for the basic gospel message to get lost amidst the deluge of information that hits us from all sides.
He encourages us, in order to gain that foundation back, that we spend some more time in the scriptures and with the words of our prophets. The scriptures are the foundation for our lives and will allow us to focus on things of an eternal nature and not just on the daily tasks to be done.
- The holy scriptures and the spoken word of the living prophets give emphasis to the fundamental principles and doctrines of the gospel. The reason we return to these foundational principles, to the pure doctrines, is because they are the gateway to truths of profound meaning. They are the door to experiences of sublime importance that would otherwise be beyond our capacity to comprehend. These simple, basic principles are the key to living in harmony with God and man. They are the keys to opening the windows of heaven. They lead us to the peace, joy, and understanding that Heavenly Father has promised to His children who hear and obey Him.
He promises that spending time in the scriptures and with the words of the prophets will give us great blessings.
- Diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the world.
So What Are the Basics?
President Uchtdorf outlines four basic things we can focus on to make sure we are on track with what matters most in our lives.
- As we turn to our Heavenly Father and seek His wisdom regarding the things that matter most, we learn over and over again the importance of four key relationships:
- with our God,
- with our families,
- with our fellowman,
- and with ourselves.
- First, our relationship with God is most sacred and vital. We are His spirit children. He is our Father. He desires our happiness. As we seek Him, as we learn of His Son, Jesus Christ, as we open our hearts to the influence of the Holy Spirit, our lives become more stable and secure. We experience greater peace, joy, and fulfillment as we give our best to live according to God’s eternal plan and keep His commandments. We improve our relationship with our Heavenly Father by learning of Him, by communing with Him, by repenting of our sins, and by actively following Jesus Christ, for “no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Christ].” To strengthen our relationship with God, we need some meaningful time alone with Him. Quietly focusing on daily personal prayer and scripture study, always aiming to be worthy of a current temple recommend—these will be some wise investments of our time and efforts to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. Let us heed the invitation in Psalms: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
- Our second key relationship is with our families. Since “no other success can compensate for failure” here, we must place high priority on our families. We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together. In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home. We talk with, rather than about, each other. We learn from each other, and we appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities. We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayer, gospel study, and Sunday worship.
- The third key relationship we have is with our fellowman. We build this relationship one person at a time—by being sensitive to the needs of others, serving them, and giving of our time and talents. I was deeply impressed by one sister who was burdened with the challenges of age and illness but decided that although she couldn’t do much, she could listen. And so each week she watched for people who looked troubled or discouraged, and she spent time with them, listening. What a blessing she was in the lives of so many people.
- The fourth key relationship is with ourselves. It may seem odd to think of having a relationship with ourselves, but we do. Some people can’t get along with themselves. They criticize and belittle themselves all day long until they begin to hate themselves. May I suggest that you reduce the rush and take a little extra time to get to know yourself better. Walk in nature, watch a sunrise, enjoy God’s creations, ponder the truths of the restored gospel, and find out what they mean for you personally. Learn to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you—as His precious daughter or son with divine potential.
Rejoice in the Pure Gospel
Finally, President Uchtdorf gives so some final advice about focusing on those things that matter most in our lives.
- If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most. Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light. It comes from placing our attention and efforts on the basics of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most. Let us simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship—the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace.
I love this talk. How blessed we are to have someone so wise share with us that we need to return to the basics of the gospel to find true happiness. We all have things to do that occupy our day. My work schedule is hectic, I work a lot of hours, I have lots of people that depend on me to succeed. But my happiness, my view of the world, will not be benefited by excluding or ignoring my spiritual life. I have found the opposite to be true. When I focus on my spiritual health, when I spend time studying the scriptures, when I spend time reading the words of the prophets, I have a cleared mind to focus on my work. My desire to complete my tasks quickly and to return to my family are increased. I recognize that I am able to be more patient, more relaxed, and a better worker when I assure myself that my family and spiritual life is where it should be. I would encourage you to spend a little more time in the scriptures and with the words of the prophets and see if the same blessings are found for you.