I recently read an article that stated that there is an increasing number of people suffering from some type of anxiety disorder. I think there really are more pressures on people than at any other time in history. We live our lives at an incredibly rapid pace due to technological advances. People are bombarded by enormous amounts of information and pulled in so many directions. We feel a great amount of anxiety over our work, home life, friends and the events of the world. People feel inadequate or uncertain about their roles in life and wonder if they could be doing better.
Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints can cause some to feel a great amount of anxiety from time to time. There are expectations to be lived up to that can cause people to feel inadequate. It is a serious commitment to belong to the church and kingdom of God on the earth. Church membership however should be a safe harbor and amidst the storms of life. It should offer us healing and not injury. This is what Christ meant when he stated – “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28)
How can we make our experience in the church be beneficial and not a drag on ourselves? After all, we commit our time and resources to callings and families. First off, think of the alternative – living a self-centered selfish life. One filled with the worldliness and the pride of the world. The scriptures say that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10). The only path to happiness is through service and keeping the commandments. Keeping this in mind, we know that we are on the right path and that the trials that do come will be for our good. We can go at the pace that is healthy and productive.
The plan of happiness is both short and long-term. In the short amount of time we are on the earth, we will experience sorrow and disappointment, but can still feel an inner peace through our trials. One thing we must all do is take the pressure off ourselves. We are to become “perfect”, but must understand that it is a state of maturity where we have arrived at as we do our best in our human existence. It is a state of becoming, not a state of arrival until after this life. Part of taking the pressure off of ourselves is in giving in to the will of God and letting his will be done in our lives and accepting that.
Another point to keep in mind in sthat this is not your work. This is God’s work. Note how Moses 1:39 says “my work” and not “your work” or even “our work”. You are called to support the work, not take it over. Don’t try and take credit for it or put yourself at the head. Just stand back and watch it roll forth, doing what you can to participate in it and help it along.
This kind of takes the pressure off in a way. When someone says – “How can your church ask these poor people to give up their meager earnings to pay 10% to your church? You must just be after their money!” President Hinckley was asked this very question in an interview while traveling through poor countries in South America. He responded that we have not asked it of the people, but it was God that required it. He further stated that we should not stand in the way of people receiving the blessings associated with keeping the laws of God. You don’t have to stammer for answers, you always have one ready for most questions. The most often available answer is that it is God that is requiring it and you are just the messenger.
Remember what Nephi told his brothers about going to get the plates? Lehi spoke to Nephi the following words. “And now, behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord.” – (1 Ne 3:5)
You job is to participate in the work and use your initiative and energy. That energy can be enhanced. Go and find the story President Hinckley told about his experience as a young missionary. He wrote back to his father to tell him that he was wasting his time and money. His father wrote back telling him – “Forget yourself and go to work.”
Find something worthwhile to do each day. This was pointed out so well by a talk given by Henrey B. Eyring when he said – “That assurance from the Master can help those of us feeling overwhelmed by our circumstances. In the hardest trials, as long as you have the power to pray, you can ask a loving God: “Please let me serve, this day. It doesn’t matter to me how few things I may be able to do. Just let me know what I can do. I will obey this day. I know that I can, with Thy help.””
Thomas S. Monson has these wise words to keep in mind – “If we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help.”