Life does not always seem fair with its cycles of good and bad times, ups and downs, periods of joy and sadness. We are faced with many kinds of challenges: the death of loved ones, a difficult marriage, health issues, financial setbacks, hurtful actions of others; the list could go on and on.
When our lives turn in an unanticipated and undesirable direction, sometimes we experience stress, anxiety and depression. We start to ask a series of why questions: Why me? Why now? Why work so hard for something or do all that I have been asked to do and still end up disappointed? Why am I not happy?
One of the biggest challenges for each of us is to not allow the stresses and strains of life to get the better of us — to endure the seasons of life while remaining positive and not fearful.
We recently celebrated the greatest event in the history of mankind, the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. His gospel encourages us all to develop the capacity to learn from the past, from the present and to see the opportunities that can be ours in the days to come.
This life is a teaching experience. We need to understand and accept that we will have ongoing experiences for our growth and development. Some of these experiences are more pleasant than others, but there is purpose in all of the experiences we go through. Self-pity and discouragement are not found in any of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The unknown can cause us to be cranky, apprehensive, short with others, fearful and just plain unhappy. Even though we can’t change the circumstances in which we work or live, we are the masters of our actions and can always change our attitudes.
By seeking the Lord through prayer and through his holy scriptures, we can learn to see and develop positive attitudes. The Apostle Paul in writing to his friend Timothy stated; “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
We can’t predict all the struggles and storms in life, not even the ones just around the next corner. We do have the power to decide, to have a positive and optimistic attitude by focusing more on the many good things in our lives: family, friendships, talents, and opportunities.
You are not powerless unless you choose to be the victim.
You can choose your reactions to difficulties and challenges by keeping them in proper perspectives. You can choose to reach out to help another even when you are hurting, a true act of Christ-like love. You can choose to keep a balanced view of what is going on around you and know that just as the day follows the night, that new day provides new and wonderful opportunities for you.
We are never alone to face the challenges in life because of him who willingly laid down his life for us.
Richard Meyer is Stake President of the Kennewick Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.