Lately I’ve been feeling a little… weighed down? Empty? I’m not sure the best way to describe but I just haven’t been as excited for life as I have been before. Not in a depressed kind of a way but in a “I can’t wait for the semester to be over/I can’t wait to graduate/I can’t wait for so and so to come home/I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait…” type of way. Just in case anyone was wondering, that’s not exactly the way life was intended to be lived. Instead of the “I’ll be happy when…” attitude, you’ve got to remember to be happy NOW. Make the most of your day. Sure you can look forward to the future and be excited for it, but you can’t live for it. There are things happening now that are much more important than what hasn’t happened yet – you can’t make time go any faster and you can’t jump to a place you want to be without first living in the now.
Somewhere along the way in my Gospel learning, I was told that the word ‘remember’ is one of the most common and most important words in the scriptures. Since that point, it has become one of my favorite words and every time I hear it or see it, I think back to what I learned about it. Bear with me for a minute while I explain some definitions (words fascinate me and actually help me look deeper into the meaning of things).
Remember: be able to bring to one’s mind an awareness of (someone or something that one has seen, known, or experienced in the past).
Awareness: knowledge or perception of a situation or fact OR concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development.
So, according to these definitions, if we are remembering something, we are bringing back an awareness of something that happened in the past. I personally like the second definition of awareness as it pertains to Gospel matters, so I’ll go with that one. If we are aware of something, we understand it and it means something to us. Therefore, when we remember, we are recalling something that is meaningful and pertinent to us specifically. Now, with that in mind, let’s take a look at a famous scripture from the Book of Mormon that uses this word (TWICE):
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” (Helaman 5:12)
Now take a minute to think about why the word remember (as we just defined it) has been used TWICE here…
Our foundation needs to be Jesus Christ and our tool for maintaining that foundation is remembering. We need to remember our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Remember everything He has ever done for you. Don’t think about the scriptures that tell you about what He’s done for you (though that’s very important, too). Think about the specific things in your own personal life that He has done especially for you. Remembering those things is what strengthens our foundation. When you forget them, it’s easy for the devil to send forth his mighty winds and drag you down.
The past few weeks while I’ve been less enthusiastic about life are weeks where I’ve started to forget the things that are most important to me. Not on purpose, of course. But life – school, being social, etc – things that are draining and stressful for me distract me from the things that bring me happiness and strength (the Gospel, selflessness, service, etc). Fortunately, we don’t have to be dependent on ourselves to remember.
I’m very thankful for one of my dearest friends who is serving his mission in Brazil at the moment. Every week, he sends out his weekly email and every week, I look forward to reading it. Just last week, I was wondering what I needed to change to get back into loving everything about my life when I got one of these emails. There wasn’t really anything specific that stuck out at me, it was just that I could tell how much he’s loving his mission because of the wonderful missionary experiences he’s been having over the past 18 months. And it reminded me of my own mission. I remembered teaching people and seeing the joy in their entire countenances when they could see how the Gospel was changing and influencing their lives for the better.
I remembered the smiles on the faces of people who allowed us to serve them, no matter how small the task was. I remembered helping others to cheer up when it seemed as though their entire world was crashing down around them. This included companions, fellow missionaries, random people on the street, active members, less-active members, people who wanted nothing to do with religion. All of that made me remember just how important the Gospel of Jesus Christ really is.
In a nutshell: It reminded me that my life is so much better when it isn’t mine. And I will be forever grateful to my friend for that gentle, unintended yet much needed reminder.
Today, I invite you to evaluate your life and remember what’s most important to you. Then ask yourself why is it most important? Should it be most important? If not, then what should? Then take time to remember the times of your life when you’ve been the happiest. Why were you so happy? What makes the difference? Whatever it is, I invite you to incorporate it into your life again, to remember and keep that memory close to heart and mind. Remember who you are – a child of a loving Father in Heaven whom you should never take for granted or forget – and remember (or find out) who you can become.