Over the past few months, two friends asked me similar questions. They both asked me how I manage to get done all I need to get done.
Let me insert a HUGE asterisk here. I am NOT claiming to be doing more than anyone else. I know countless people who put me to shame with their dedication and work ethic. But I do try to work hard. And, obviously, in the eyes of these two friends, I was doing more than they can imagine themselves capable of doing.
I've spent some time thinking about this question.
I have changed as a person over the past 10 to 15 years. Since my early 20's, I have tried to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I am currently much more "anxiously engaged" than I ever have been. I feel like I am working harder than I ever have. So, what's changed?
Superficially I think, "well, I just decided to work harder." But, the idea that any of us "just decides" to do change rings hollow. So, what is it? Why am I different?
I'm not sure I have the answer, but I'd like to share today's theory.
Here are three quotes to explain my theory:
(1) "…those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish…"
(Lose Yourself in Service, Thomas S. Monson)
I am nowhere close to being the man I want to be. My scripture study is often superficial. My prayers lack intensity. And I'm an impatient and sometimes critical father and husband. But, I try to make serving others a priority. Which I am certain has made an enormous difference in my spirituality.
(2) "When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives."
(The Great Commandment, Ezra Taft Benson)
In my teenage years and then later in my 20's, I spent a lot of time playing video games and watching sports. Many hours were spent destroying aliens and eating mushrooms. Sundays were the church of the NFL, and 82 games in an NBA season wasn't nearly enough.
I play video games with my kids maybe a couple of times a month. I catch a little NFL on Sundays and only watch basketball during the playoffs. I still enjoy these things, but they're not a priority. And to be honest, I'm OK with that.
(3) "…the enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity."
(Strength Beyond Our Own, David A. Bednar)
My favourite part of this quote is where Elder Bednar states the Atonement enables us to do things "beyond our own individual desire…." So, not only does God help us do things we want to do, but he also helps us want to do the right things.
I'm a better person than I was 15 years ago. Hopefully, I can say the same thing 15 years from now.