Giving Our Spirits Control over Our Bodies by Russell M. Ballard
Content by Grace Hamner
It's noon and I’ve already done four loads of laundry. I have catered to dozens of snack requests. I’ve fielded two arguments between my 5-year-olds that were about to turn physical. I’ve listened patiently to the hundreds of facts about their new Bakugan toys (what even are these things?). I have done the dishes, wiped butts, and remembered to renew our library books to avoid a fine.
These are the details that make up my typical day. These are the “daily consecrated efforts repeated thousands of times through the years that [keep] our family functioning.” Think about the things that keep your family functioning. I’m sure the list is endless. The primary trait of motherhood is selflessness, from the time we give up our bodies to bear our children to the end of our days.
Selflessness doesn’t mean that we need to eschew self-care. Take time to ponder what things keep you functioning. What are you doing to ensure that your needs are being met? For me this looks like taking time for continuing education through books, lectures, and conferences. It looks like setting time aside to work with clients and develop professionally. It looks like listening to conference talks and audibly praying while I drive. It looks like addressing depression and anxiety through therapy and medication. It looks like crushing up a few Oreos into some chocolate ice cream for a tasty snack. These things aren’t selfish; they are empowering.
Often, my mind is caught up in spiraling thoughts. Am I doing enough? Are we providing a good enough life for our children? Am I patient enough? Kind enough? Faithful enough? The hours blend into days and the days blend into years. Sometimes it can be easy to minimize the power of daily, intentional actions.
In his talk, we are gently reminded of this eternal truth: we are all going to die. This is not meant to be a worrying or morbid thought. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Death becomes ennobling when we pair it with the power of Jesus Christ’s Atonement. Through seemingly small efforts, our lives are sanctified. Daily repentance prepares us to meet God. Scripture study helps us to know Him. Prayer teaches us that He is there.
President Ballard reflects on the simple, intentional act to sit with his beloved Barbara each afternoon, “Memories of those special hand-holding sessions are now very, very precious to me.” Though her mind was mired by Alzheimer’s, I know that those memories are equally precious to her.
My son just called excitedly, “Mom! You better come look at this!!” I got up from writing, walked over to him, and invested time into him. This seemingly small effort is creating a lasting bond of love and trust between us. My son knows that I love him and that I will take time away from my responsibilities to share memories together. That is a bond we will cherish forever.
Take time to reflect and refocus on the small and simple things. You won’t regret it.
I AM STATEMENT
I am first and foremost and always a spiritual being. I am spiritually minded in all things.
FAITH IN ACTION
Just as President Ballard does, ponder your life and repent each night. If you have any serious sins, please schedule an appointment with your bishop right now! It will only take a few minutes to schedule, and I promise it won’t be as scary as you think.
Think of how President Ballard just sat with his wife, watching the ending of her favorite movies over and over near the end of her life. This is what ministering is all about: connection, listening, and love.
Look into the eyes of your family with love. Then take the time to express that love and appreciation, whether through words or gentle actions. Also consider: what is one way I can “just sit with” those that I minister to?
Jacob chapters 1 & 4 teach us how Nephi prepared Jacob to take over the role of prophet, and the task of writing the words of God in the scriptures. As you study this week, ponder: what themes do I see about the importance of the scriptures?
“Today, 'living right' can be a pretty confusing concept, especially if you spend much time on social media, where any voice can declare real truths or false concepts about God and His plan for His children. Thankfully, members of the Church have eternally true gospel principles to know how to live so that we might be better prepared when we must die.”
In order to be more in-tune with how to live right, go on a family social media fast! You can choose to fast for one day, one week, or one month... it really is up to you. During your fast, use the time that you would have spent on other apps in more intentional ways. Spend time together as a family, minister to those around you, and study the words of God through ancient and modern-day prophets.