JUST ONE MORE! This is the phrase that many coaches use when training athletes to improve and excel. The idea of accomplishing something more than we did previously is a great model. I need a constant reminder of this truth. “Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities” (Thomas S Monson). When we stretch ourselves—just one more—to do more physically, spiritually, and mentally, we will be on track in developing Christlike attributes. This might appear to be a daunting task when viewed as an entire process. However, if we improve even in small measure from what we have done in the past, we are making progress. “We don’t have to be perfect today. We don’t have to be better than someone else. All we have to do is to be the very best we can” (Joseph B. Wirthlin).
She had suffered poor health for many years when I asked, “How are you feeling today?” Even though she had always maintained a cheerful disposition throughout her many trials, I expected a laundry list of aches and pains. But I didn’t get a list. Her answer was simply, “I have no complaints.” She couldn’t have honestly said, “I feel fine”—because she didn’t. Immediately, I made a mental note to remember these four powerful words to use in a variety of situations—striving to remain positive when things are going badly. In such a case, if someone asks, “How are things going?”—I will smile and say, “I have no complaints.” One day President Thomas S. Monson noticed a fellow elevator passenger looking dejectedly at the floor. Amused, President Monson asked, “What are you looking at down there?” Then added with a smile and twinkle in his eyes, “It is better to look up.” These six words added to the four previous ones make a total of ten powerful words that will make a difference in the way I maneuver through tough days. I will forget the day’s troubles and remember the day’s blessings.
I read a story about a lady who had become a constant worrier. Over time this condition increased until she felt keyed up all the time. Her worries about future conditions made it difficult for her to concentrate at work, and when she got home she couldn’t relax, even in that safe environment. Many in this world suffer similar feelings of anxiety about the future. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” He recognized a key to dealing with the stress of the unknown: Don’t worry about things you can’t control. “Faith in Jesus Christ and following His teachings give us a firm hope, and this hope becomes a solid anchor to our souls. We can become steadfast and immovable. We can have lasting inner peace; we can enter into the rest of the Lord” (Per G. Malm). I want to focus upon things that will sustain lasting peace, which is a heavenly gift. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Only He has the power to heal and strengthen my soul. He is Jesus Christ.
There was a day when my feelings were wounded by a person’s careless, perhaps unintentional words. Some pain is compatible with the Spirit, but this was not. It consumed my thoughts and furrowed my brow. I wanted to get rid of these feelings, but didn’t know how. As if holding a huge bag of trash, I frantically looked for a place to discretely discard my load. I prayed for help and reached for my scriptures. They fell open and my eyes landed directly on these verses: “Sue for peace…Lift up an ensign of peace…make a proclamation of peace…make proposals of peace…unto those who have smitten you, according to the voice of the Spirit which is in you, and all things shall work together for your good. Therefore, be faithful, and behold and lo, I am with you even unto the end” (D&C 105:38-41). I leaned back and closed my eyes, letting the words fill my soul. There were four references to peace, each with a different action verb, something I could do. I could request, summon, exemplify, stand up, speak and invite peace. It was all about peace. These words soothed me like loving arms. My silent prayer had been heard. The process of healing had begun.
On Easter Sunday we celebrated one of the most significant occurrences that affects every man who has lived upon the earth. Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. Because of Him, death is not the end, and life takes on new meaning. The Savior made possible everything—clean slates, new beginnings, hope, inspiration and strivings. I’ve experienced for myself what Jesus made possible and am grateful for His sacrifice. He also allowed all mankind the blessing of being resurrected. While I still have so much to learn in life, I am grateful to Him making eternal life possible. Please celebrate His life, gifts, and the infinite atonement . I invite you to visit the Mormon.org website to view a new video entitled, “Because of Him” and read additional details about the Savior.
As a very young child, I remember a specific day sitting up straight on a hard bench in Jr. Sunday school, hands folded in my lap, knees pressed together. For a few moments I listened intently to instruction and yearned with all my heart to be good, hoping that posture and attentiveness would qualify me. But in the many years following—try as I might—there have been missteps and lapses of judgment, immature actions, bungles and stumbles while learning to walk a spiritual path. Gratitude fills my heart that my Savior redeemed me from inevitable separation from God. Christ does for me what I could never do for myself. He forgives my mistakes, lifts my burdens, renews my soul, and transforms my nature. He promises resurrection after death and qualifies me for glory hereafter. In return for so much, I commit to receive the ordinances of salvation, love and serve His children, and continue an attitude of repentance and faithfulness throughout my life. As trials cross my path, my Savior speaks peace to my soul—promising that all things will work together for my good. Mercifully, He measures growth rather than height, and celebrates my baby steps forward. I feel my soul stretching toward His light just as leaves turn to the sun. The symbols of Easter—new birth, resurrection, and eternal life—are the greatest of all Reasons to Rejoice!
I enjoyed watching the recent NCAA basketball championship series. I am always impressed with the perfected level of athleticism resulting from many hours of rigorous practice. Every now and then my attention was drawn to the people wearing black and white striped shirts. These are the only ones on the playing court responsible for rules being followed. There are ten players watched over by only three officials. I suggest there are also officiators in our lives—our conscience and the Holy Ghost. Every person is blessed with the light of Christ, or conscience, to discern between right and wrong. The gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:12-17) is conferred through Priesthood authority following baptism. It is the right, based upon faithfulness, to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead. I have found it is best when I live in a manner to allow the promptings of the Holy Ghost to compliment my conscience pointing the right course to be pursued. I must listen for their whistles to blow when I have not observed all the rules. Then I must repent, allowing a new “shot clock” to restart. This analogy brings life’s experiences into spiritual learning.