We are less than a month away from General Conference. I’ve never been great about preparing ahead of time for the upcoming session, but this time I am really trying. I am reading the sessions from last conference in October 2017. I highlight the things that stand out to me and try to implement that into my life. The talk I read a couple days ago was “The Needs before us” by Bonnie L. Oscarson in the October 2017 Saturday morning General Conference. She talks about how important it is to give service to those that are close to us in our family, ward family, neighbors, friends, and community. I have been trying harder lately to serve others, so this talk came at the perfect time for me.
She quotes the Savior, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” President Monson said that this scripture meant “unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives…”
This reminded me that I need to do more service. Sometimes I feel like my life doesn’t have much purpose. Ya, I’m a mom of five kids and I’m supposed to raise them, and nurture them, and help create great, amazing adults, and that should be my purpose. But most of the time, I feel discouraged, like I’m not doing a very good job at raising them, and wonder if I’m doing the right things. I would like to feel more purpose, and happy about my purpose. After reading this part of the talk I’ve realized that if I want to feel more purpose, I need to serve more.
She also talks about how being on devices too much can distract us from service opportunities. If we don’t get off our devices, we will miss spiritual promptings to serve. I have noticed I’ve been on my phone a little too much lately. I don’t play games or anything, I read emails, Facebook group posts, etc. I’m trying to learn, help others, and be caught up on my emails, but it’s taking up a lot of my time during the day. It preoccupies my mind so I can’t hear the promptings of the spirit throughout the day, I’m not spending as much time with my kids, and it’s really distracting. So I have a goal now to just check emails in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening, and leave Facebook for the evenings. I think this will help me be more intune with the spirit throughout the day so I can look for people to serve.
The order of service Sister Oscarson suggests is family, ward family, and then community. She says, “even if-and maybe especially if-your family situation is less than perfect, you can find ways to serve, lift, and strengthen. Begin where you are, love them as they are, and prepare for the family you want to have in the future.” This hit a cord for me. I’ve really been struggling with my kids lately. They seem to be fighting ALL THE TIME. They say mean things to each other, they hit and throw things. It’s really gotten me down. When I read this part of the talk, I thought that maybe service in our family will help them be kinder to each other. So I’m going to try to live by example and serve each of them on a regular basis and try to help them have a desire to serve each other.
I felt like Sister Oscarson was talking to me when she mentions how sometimes we are looking for ambitious ways to change the world, or serve people that might have had natural disasters on the other side of the country or world. Whenever there is some kind of natural disaster, I wish I could drive my family there and serve. To help repair their homes and their lives. I would like to send them a care package, or money. I’d like to travel to a third world country and help those that are less fortunate than us. But Sister Oscarson points out that we aren’t seeing the most significant needs right here near us. We need to be looking for service opportunities in our families, with our friends, in our wards, and our communities. She says the best way to help those in other parts of the world are by paying a generous fast offering, and contributing to the Humanitarian Aid.
The timing of rereading this talk couldn’t have been more perfect. A few weeks ago we had stake conference and our Stake President talked about how we should lift those around us by serving them. I’m on the Relief Society committee and we focused on the Stake President’s words for our theme this month and shared ways we could serve in our ward and local community. And just a few months ago, there was a need in our ward that needed to be met. I didn’t jump at the service opportunity because I wasn’t sure how it would work out if I took my kids. And it was on Fridays, which I leave my Fridays open for field trips. So I didn’t sign up. Then the email was sent out a second time looking for some helpers again. I still didn’t sign up. And then, when the email came out for a third time, I realized it was meant for me and I should have listened to the spiritual promptings the first time.
When talking about serving neighbors, friends, and our ward family, Sister Oscarson says, “Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs.” I had never thought of it that way. If I’m not in tune with the spirit and looking for people to serve, I won’t be able to serve those that Heavenly Father thought could use my service. It’s nice to think that He believes I have something to give to someone specifically. This past week, I started asking Heavenly Father to help me make my to do list and prioritize it in the order He would like me to get it done. And one of the things on my list every day is “Who do I serve?” and “How?” Everyday I thought of a specific person to serve and a specific way to serve them. And I think service can be anything from a nice text message, an email, a card, a visit, watching their kids, etc. If you let the spirit guide you, it will be what that person needs. It felt really good to follow the promptings of Heavenly Father this week and to give someone service. I hope I was able to uplift them in some way.
Sister Oscarson also mentions, “there will always be someone at every church meeting you attend who is lonely, who is going through challenges and needs a friend, or who feels like he or she doesn’t belong.” By keeping this in mind when we go to church meetings and ask ourselves, “Who needs me today?” we will be able to do a lot of good and help others feel our love and Heavenly Father’s love. I know there are plenty of times at church I’m feeling lonely and would love it if someone would show some love toward me. This is a reminder that I’m not the only one. President Kimball reminds us, “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.” There have been many times that I wish I could feel Heavenly Father’s love for me more, like the love of a family member or friend. I have a hard time recognizing his love for me. When I read this, I realized that when someone gives me service or shows me love, Heavenly Father is using them to show his love for me. This helped me realize he does love me. And I can help others feel his love by serving them.
I hope that this talk has resonated with you like it has for me. If more people served others and didn’t expect recognition for it, this world would be a better place. And I’m grateful for the leaders in our church who are inspired to give up these amazing talks twice a year.
What do you do to serve those around you?
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