Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

It is the New Year.  This time of year is a wonderful time to reflect on those things we would like to do better.  People set all kinds of goals with the hope to become better, to be happier, to accomplish something they've wanted to do. 

This morning as I was reading the scriptures I read something that really struck me.  I would like to share it with you.  It was a phrase in Helaman 13:38. 

In this chapter, Samuel the Lamanite is preaching to the Nephites of their wickedness.  He is warning them that because they have set their hearts upon their riches and do not remember the Lord with hearts drawn out in thanks unto Him for their prosperity, but instead they cast out the prophets and seek to do their own will, rather than the will of the Lord, that they will be destroyed and their riches will be lost. 

When that day comes, they will wish they had listened to the prophets during their days of prosperity.  They will wish they had repented when they were warned by the prophets of their iniquity.

In verse 38 it says, "But behold, your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head."

The phrase I've highlighted really struck me.  Do we seek for that which we cannot obtain?  Do we spend our days seeking for something we will never find?  I thought about my goals for the coming year.  It made me wonder about the type of resolutions I set and my motivations for wanting to achieve them.

Do I seek for that which I cannot obtain?  Do I seek to find happiness in ways that are contrary to the will of the Lord?  Perhaps in making my resolutions I should consider the state of my heart.  Is my heart set on the things of the world or do I seek to know and do the will of the Lord?  Do my goals and ambitions reflect my desire to remember Him and be like Him or are they evidence that my heart is set on the things of the world?

I think we all want to be happy  I'm not saying that we shouldn't lose weight or set a goal to obtain something we've always wanted.  I think Heavenly Father wants us to be healthy and He wants to bless us with the things of this earth.  But those things do not inherently bring us happiness.  What brings us true happiness can only be found by conforming our will to His.  True happiness comes by living in accordance with His commandments.

What do we do now that is not in line with His commands?  That is perhaps a great starting point for setting our goals.  A couple years ago, I realized that I was not being obedient in having daily prayer and scripture study.  I set the goal to change that.  I'm not perfect yet, but it has become my morning habit to pray and read my scriptures every day before I do anything else.  I cannot tell you how that has blessed my life.  It has been the source of joy and knowledge and personal revelation.  My life is forever altered by seeking to be obedient in this aspect.

The best part is that we don't have to change overnight.  Through small steps we can make huge changes.  When I set the goal to pray and read, I started by saying I would read even just one verse.  I figured I could definitely take the time to read one verse and by so doing would be able to make it a habit more easily.  It worked.

I think we often overwhelm ourselves.  Start small and once you've mastered that, add more.  Pray for Heavenly Father's guidance to know what to change and how to begin. 

May we all seek for those things that will bring us true happiness.  May we recognize the futility of seeking for happiness in doing iniquity.  May we know the only source of true happiness is to align our will with our Heavenly Father's and to obey His commandments and may we know how best to do that in our individual lives.

Happy New Year!  May it be your best yet!