Today I read President Uchtdorf’s talk from the April 2009 General Conference, “We Are Doing a Great Work and Cannot Come Down“. Since this talk was given during the Priesthood Session, you might have missed it. Here are a few tidbits:
“We know what matters most in life—the Light of Christ teaches this to everyone. We as faithful Latter-day Saints have the Holy Ghost as a “constant companion” to teach us the things of eternal value. I imagine that any priesthood holder listening to my voice today, if asked to prepare a talk on the subject “what matters most,” could and would do an excellent job. Our weakness is in failing to align our actions with our conscience.
Pause for a moment and check where your own heart and thoughts are. Are you focused on the things that matter most? How you spend your quiet time may provide a valuable clue. Where do your thoughts go when the pressure of deadlines is gone? Are your thoughts and heart focused on those short-lived fleeting things that matter only in the moment or on things that matter most?
What grudges do you bear? What excuses do you cling to that keep you from being the kind of husband, father, son, and priesthood holder you know you should be? What are the things that distract you from your duties or hinder you from magnifying your calling more diligently?
Sometimes the things that distract us are not bad in and of themselves; often they even make us feel good.
It is possible to take even good things to excess. One example can be seen in a father or grandfather who spends hours upon hours searching for his ancestors or creating a blog while neglecting or avoiding quality or meaningful time with his own children and grandchildren. Another example could be a gardener who spends his days pulling weeds from the soil while ignoring the spiritual weeds that threaten to choke his soul.
Even some programs of the Church can become a distraction if we take them to extremes and allow them to dominate our time and our attention at the expense of things that matter most. We need balance in life.
When we truly love our Heavenly Father and His children, we demonstrate that love through our actions.”
His words really touched me, and I felt the the tugging of the Spirit asking me to consider if I am focusing on the things that matter most most in my life.
President Uchtdorf goes on to discuss matters related to priesthood responsibilities for the men, but we can draw a parallel for the women by studying The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
“Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations…By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.”
I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels that my “to-do” list is much longer than the hours available in my day: Clean the house, make nutritious meals, work on food storage, develop my talents, exercise, read good books, teach my children, support my husband, help a neighbor, write in my journal (or blog!), go grocery shopping, magnify my calling…All of these things are good things, but it’s near impossible to do all of them everyday. The key here is balance, and it’s something that I am really trying to work on. Some days I do better than others, and some days I wish I could do things over.
President Uchtdorf counsels ” We cannot and must note allow ourselves to get distracted from our sacred duty. We cannot and we must not lose focus on the things that matter most.”
As a wife and a mother, my most important role is to nurture my family. How I carry out that role is a matter of prayer between myself and the Lord (and it will look different for every woman). But while I struggle to get things right in my life and my family, I’m thankful for the words of latter-day prophets who remind me of where my priorities should be.