This coming weekend, we’ll have the great opportunity to gather together as a worldwide Church to hear the words of our Prophet and leaders of the Church. For a period of two days, we have the chance to learn from the Lord’s chosen witnesses of Christ and receive modern-day counsel concerning how we can draw closer to our Heavenly Father. We often will spend days preparing the questions we hope to have answered during the sessions Conference, and we listen with reverence to feel the love of the Lord.
Sometimes we can feel completely overwhelmed in the world we live in, and it can feel that each and every one of our beliefs is being tried and tested. Conflicting voices are heard all around us, and we can often get lost in the noise of our society. General Conference can be a weekend where we can rest from that noise, and focus on the calming words of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being taught by the leaders of His Church.
Among the many lessons taught at General Conference, what brings the most peace is the reiteration of those simple and beautiful truths that impact our daily lives. Here are 5 beautiful and simple truths to help when things in our lives become confusing and it seems difficult to see the hand of the Lord.
Truth #1 – God is our loving Heavenly Father.
We may live in confusing times, but we are often reminded by Church leaders that we live such a blessed time. Elder Bruce R. McConkie once said that he did “not know what we did in the preexistence to merit the wonderful blessings we enjoy. We have come to earth in this great season in the long history of mankind” and that “it is a marvelous age, the best of all.” Cultivating a healthy sense of optimism can remind us that we do have so much to be grateful for in each day and that we are truly blessed to be alive at such an important time in the world. When we face confusing times, we can always turn with greater sincerity to our loving Heavenly Father and know that He will hear our prayers.
Truth #2 – He is always just a prayer away.
One of the greatest gifts we have in this life is the gift of prayer. In those moments when we feel we can barely navigate all of the confusion and noise of our day, a quiet prayer of gratitude or requesting help can be exactly what we need to refocus and find the clarity we need to continue moving forward. Each question and plea for help is heard, and the answers, though often arriving when we least expect them, will surely come. Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:
“To strengthen our relationship with God, we need to spend some meaningful time alone with him.”
Sincere prayer will help us to find peace and clarity, and our Heavenly Father is always eager to hear from us. I once heard a missionary explain prayer like a telephone call to your parent when you haven’t seen them in a while. They will rush to the phone and are thrilled at the sound of your voice as you tell them about your day to day experiences, even the little details we think are insignificant. Our Heavenly Father feels the same about our prayers and is always happy to hear our voices and hear of our experiences.
Truth #3 – We are doing far better than we think we are.
Comparison can be one of the biggest drains on our mental and spiritual health. We all are seeking to become better each day, and it can sometimes feel like we have a mountain of inadequacies, weaknesses, and things we desperately want to change within ourselves. This paired with comparing ourselves to others can quickly lead us down a path of discouragement. However, our Heavenly Father did not place us on this Earth to feel inadequate or to compare ourselves to others. He placed us here to have joy, and to feel of that joy of progressing. Like finishing a run, a project, or a good book, the journey is just as important as the destination. Lloyd Newell captured this perfectly when he said:
“No masterpiece is ever created all at once. So be thankful for the small successes, the simple joys, the good times, and even the hard times. Each one is another brushstroke, another stanza, another note toward the finished product. Each one gives us experience, teaches us, and strengthens us for what lies ahead. Life is a process of change and improvement: becoming a little kinder, a little stronger, a little better. So be patient with the process, and remember that each of us is a work in progress—a masterpiece in the making.”
Truth #4 – Faith is a journey not just a destination.
It often seems that when we are trying our hardest to actively choose faith in our daily lives, we suddenly become aware of how much more we need to do to increase our faith. In those moments when we feel like we have so much to do, we can take comfort in knowing that having faith is a true journey. It is a guiding influence in our lives that goes through a variety of hills and valleys. Even the most valiant of those that serve the Lord have had moments when they felt they did not have the faith to continue on. Our Heavenly Father has so much love for us and knows of our doubts and questions. The most important component of the Plan of Salvation is our agency, our ability to choose. Our loving Father in Heaven wants us to seek Him personally, and utilize all of the tools available to us to draw closer to Him. The words of the Prophets and Apostles, especially during General Conference, will help us to feel of His love and revive aspects of our faith that may have grown tired. We can take hope in knowing we are on a journey with our faith, and each effort is a success in the Lord’s eyes.
Truth #5 – We are children of God.
While serving as a missionary in Tokyo Japan, I remember witnessing a number of miracles that will stay with me forever. One that will always stand out to me though is that of the calming influence of the primary hymn, “I Am a Child of God.” Tokyo is a melting pot of different countries, cultures, and people. While serving I sang “I Am a Child of God” in a variety of different languages, but the calming influence of the Spirit always filled the room in the same way. Above all else, we are children of God. To Him, we are priceless. We do not need to have high status, a perfect body, wealth, or even a perfect faith to be enveloped in His love. All He requires is that we try, and give our best effort to follow His counsel and His commandments each day.
In preparation for General Conference this coming weekend, be sure to view our recap video of the April’s sessions by clicking the link here.