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Keep Perspective

I joined the Church as a 19y0 college student with all the passion and idealism of youth. I would surely keep every commandment perfectly. I would do anything, go anywhere, for The Church of Jesus Christ, even if that meant serving a mission in the most remote corner of the earth or having 17 children. But I wasn’t asked to serve a remote mission or bear 17 children. In fact, the things that I was asked to do were comparitively simple—teach a primary class, visit the less active, greet newcomers with friendship. But I often found myself  overwhelmed by life and feeling guilty about all that I felt I had neglected (and often still do).

A friend recently shared this quote from Elder Richard G. Scott:

“Keep perspective. When you have done all that you can reasonably do, rest the burden in the hands of the Lord. When I take a small pebble and place it directly in front of my eye, it takes on the appearance of a mighty boulder. It is all I can see. It becomes all-consuming—like the problems of a loved one that affect our lives every waking moment. When the things you realistically can do to help are done, leave the matter in the hands of the Lord and worry no more. Do not feel guilty because you cannot do more. Do not waste your energy on useless worry. The Lord will take the pebble that fills your vision and cast it down among the challenges you will face in your eternal progress. It will then be seen in perspective. In time, you will feel impressions and know how to give further help. You will find more peace and happiness, will not neglect others that need you, and will be able to give greater help because of that eternal perspective.” -Richard G. Scott (1988)

I am still learning how to put my burden in the Lord’s hands. It is so comforting to know that Heavenly Father will not allow my friends and family to be neglected when I have done all I can do.  I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Alison Moore Smith December 27, 2011, 11:27 am

    I tend to get annoyed at all the oooo-don’t-worry–you’re-just-awesome-sauce talks directed at women. (Particularly while men get a lot of tongue-lashings.) While I do know some women who work themselves to the bone and never give themselves a break, I know far more who — just like men — cut themselves a lot of slack and make excuses and justify behavior and waste a lot of time and gossip about others and never see themselves in messages of needed improvement. Generally speaking, I actually think we (and I absolutely include myself in this bunch) need to work harder, not sit back more.

    HOWEVER, I love, love, love this quote, Tracy. I think it actually contains the perfect message. It tells us to do “all that you can reasonably do.” THEN, you can be content with your efforts. THEN you can give the rest to God. THEN you can stop worrying about what you didn’t do.

    Of course, defining “reasonably” can be the tricky part, but this isn’t a pass. It’s a call to do what we really can and THEN to understand that we aren’t expected to do it ALL. And he tops it off with the remarkable idea that by having this appropriate perspective, we’ll actually end up being able to do more good than if we get all bogged down in our lack of perfection.

    Great post and a good way to think in the new year. :)
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Candles and the Holiday SpiritMy Profile

  • Tracy Polyak December 27, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Alison, I totally agree with you, both about talks aimed at men vs. women, as well about our need to generally work harder.

    When I wrote this, I was thinking about a period in my life when it seemed I was constantly recovering from either surgery or injury, and also struggling with severe insomnia all the while. I really beat myself up for not doing more than I was doing. Now that my health is better, I cannot believe how much less overwhelming those things are.

    But I also found that I had gotten into a bit of a habit of excusing myself from doing certain things, and now I need to kick myself a bit to make sure I am truly doing all I can do.

  • jennycherie December 28, 2011, 6:43 am

    “Generally speaking, I actually think we (and I absolutely include myself in this bunch) need to work harder, not sit back more.”

    So true – this was what I heard most strongly from Sister Beck’s talk in the RS General Broadcast. We can’t just be content with what we’ve always done. We must progress and do more. She said, “our Heavenly Father needs us to follow a higher path and demonstrate our discipleship by sincerely caring for His children.” She also specifically mentioned the need to improve our abilities to serve and minister as the Savior would.

    That being said – what a marvelous quote from Elder Scott. If we go to the Lord, he can make more of our efforts than we can alone. And, we can have peace instead of wasting time/effort (better used elsewhere) on worry.
    jennycherie recently posted…Joy to the WorldMy Profile

  • Tracy Polyak December 28, 2011, 8:36 am

    jennycherie, that is exactly what jumped out at me in this quote, our need to go to the Lord in all we do. One of my favorite scriptures is from Alma 37

    36 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.

    37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

    I wish I were better at counseling with the Lord and concescrating what I do to God, but I have a long way to go. Nevertheless, when I do, I am amazed at what the Lord can do with my small efforts.
    Tracy Polyak recently posted…What is CSMP Math?My Profile

  • Kristen Chevrier December 29, 2011, 12:00 pm

    Alison wrote: “I tend to get annoyed at all the oooo-don’t-worry–you’re-just-awesome-sauce talks directed at women. (Particularly while men get a lot of tongue-lashings.) While I do know some women who work themselves to the bone and never give themselves a break, I know far more who — just like men — cut themselves a lot of slack and make excuses and justify behavior and waste a lot of time and gossip about others and never see themselves in messages of needed improvement. Generally speaking, I actually think we (and I absolutely include myself in this bunch) need to work harder, not sit back more.”

    Kristen says: “Aaaaamen!!!”

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