Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Like the Rings on a Tree

I love general conference! It is such a blessing to gather to hear the words of the living prophets. One of the talks that stood out to me is the one that President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints, gave entitled Of Things That Matter Most.

  President Uchtdorf talked about the rings on a tree. He said, "One of the things we learn from studying the growth of trees is that during seasons when conditions are ideal, trees grow at a normal rate. However, during seasons when growing conditions are not ideal, trees slow down their growth and devote their energy to the basic elements necessary for survival." He drew a connection between this and flying an airplane through turbulence saying that "professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed." He says, "It is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions."

So what does this have to do with life? 

Presedent Uchtdorf says, "When stress levels rise, when distress appears, when tragedy strikes, too often we attempt to keep up the same frantic pace or even accelerate, thinking somehow that the more rushed our pace, the better off we will be...
"Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. They flood the open spaces in their time with lists of meetings and minutia—even during times of stress and fatigue. Because they unnecessarily complicate their lives, they often feel increased frustration, diminished joy, and too little sense of meaning in their lives.
"It is said that any virtue when taken to an extreme can become a vice. Overscheduling our days would certainly qualify for this. There comes a point where milestones can become millstones and ambitions, albatrosses around our necks."

So what can we do?

Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught, “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”

Pres. Uchtdorf said, "There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions." He says, "We would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most."

What are those things that matter most?  

President Uchtdorf talks about our four key relationships we have. First with our Father in Heaven, second with our families, third our fellowmen and last ourselves. He advises us to strengthen and maintain these relationships and gives some great advice on how to do this.

He then invites us to rejoice in the pure restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am so grateful that in this world of so much confusion and question that I have been blessed with that pure but oh so powerful truth that God lives, that He loves me! He truly sent His Son Jesus Christ to atone for my sins. I often get overwhelmed when I read something that explores things that we do not entirely understand. We live in a world that is so full of questions or guessing. It is a relief to have the opportunity to read the scriptures and know that it is not full of questions but answers. In this I can find peace and survive the struggles and hardship that my life may hand me.

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