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How to feel peace and contentment today, rather than always looking toward the future

Our Heavenly Father has said that it is His work and glory "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39.) He has also instructed us to enjoy life amidst our trials and in spite of our imperfect bodies. By knowing grief and pain, we can better know peace and joy. Remember, "Men are, that they might have joy." (2 Ne. 2:25.)

I suggest the following:- Pray for peace. Part of finding contentment and joy in life is to be grateful for what we have. We are also instructed to ask God so that the Holy Spirit may strengthen us and comfort us.

  • Realize the need to repent. Without a clear conscience, it is impossible to find joy.
  • Serve others. We shouldn't just find someone who appears worse off than ourselves. Many who appear well off are lonely, unhappy and just need to know that someone cares.
  • Realize we need to help ourselves, starting with our attitudes. Peace and contentment come from how we react to situations, not the situations themselves. We need to read, jog, crochet, sing, write or meditate to relax and recoup. Even Christ took the time to stop, rest and enjoy the beautiful world.
  • Share peace and joy. Share your feelings with those you know, or record your feelings in a journal. Happiness is as contagious as a smiling baby. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of peace and joy, today and eternally. - Andreas K. Wesemann, Fayetteville, N.C.

What we did:

Accept yourself

In addition to prayer, scripture study, tithing, Church attendance and service, we need to make choices to feel peace now. We suggest the following:

  • Choose one good thing that happened during a crummy day.
  • Accept yourself as you are.
  • Dwell on the past good experiences you've had and don't worry about tomorrow.
  • Learn from bad experiences.
  • Make sure you choose to have a positive attitude.
  • Leave the past where it belongs - in the past. - Young Women of the Hart Branch, Grand Rapids Michigan Stake

Fervent prayer

Recently, I was in the Arizona Temple. I had experienced something rather disquieting a few days before that seemed to keep intruding on my thoughts.

I glanced around me at all of my fellow temple patrons and then said a silent prayer. Never were my prayers answered so rapidly. A sweet and gentle peace filled my being like I have never felt before. I felt my mind grasping truths that I had missed many times before.

The things we worry about are usually in the future. Most of them never seem to happen. If we then cast our burdens upon the Lord in faith with fervent prayer as He has suggested and then concentrate on the present, we find it usually turns out to be a pretty good day. - Patrick L. Whittle, Higley, Ariz.

Overlook blessings

When we always look to the future for happiness, we overlook the blessings Heavenly Father showers on us daily. On my front door, I've taped a piece of poster board on which are the words "Reasons to be Happy" in colorful letters. Each evening I scrutinize the day and list specific thoughts, feelings, observations or occurrences that gave me pleasure. The list includes simple things like, "It didn't snow today" or "Christi apologized to Daniel." My children add to the list as well, which enhances my list and enriches my happiness.

By listing specific items, I give adequate attention to blessings I probably would not have noticed. And, in turn, I feel daily peace and contentment. - Paula Watts Hicken, Heber City, Utah

Dreading the sorrow

When my husband died two years ago, the hurt was devastating. At that time, I kept wishing it were two, three, five years from then. I was dreading the feelings of sorrow and loneliness. Over the past two years, however, I have learned some important lessons in looking for peace and happiness today, even though I might be grieving.

  • Honestly identify what it is that is keeping you from happiness. Look for solutions. In my case, it was to be honest with my emotions and feel them, but then go on. Just putting one foot in front of the other each day and trusting the Lord helped.
  • Get a priesthood blessing and ponder what that blessing means. I receive a lot of strength from the blessings I have been given over the past two years.
  • Develop greater gratitude to the Lord for the wonderful things in your life. We all have trials, but we each have been blessed with so much. Counting blessings does not take away our pain, but it does develop gratitude - which brings peace.
  • Ask your Heavenly Father for insight into what He would have you learn from your present situation. When we learn what it is He is trying to teach us, then we can move on to calmer waters. Even during the hard times, if we can do this, we will have a feeling of peace and, at times, even joy.

No one can feel happy all of the time, but there is a difference between happiness and true joy and peace. The gospel of Jesus Christ will bring the latter if we do all we can to live the gospel. - Sherri Furness, Salmon, Idaho

Comes from inside

My mother, Theta Whitney Rich, was the happiest person I ever knew. Though she had many trials in her life, she taught my sister and me that happiness comes from inside. It isn't dependent on anyone else. This teaching has been a saving influence.

When our mother died at age 53 of cancer, we had engraved on her headstone: "Happiness Is a Habit." Now when our children visit her grave, the message is engraven upon their hearts also. - Mary Jane Rich Madsen, Kensington, Md.

`Whatsoever state'

" . . . For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philip. 4:11.) Whenever I have based my happiness on things or situations that may or may not come, I lose sight of today. "I'll be happy when I go on vacation. I'll be happy when I get a raise. I'll be happy when I complete a certain project." By predicating one's peace and contentment on what might or might not be, one is not assured of happiness today - or tomorrow. That no matter what, there will always be challenges to overcome.

Consequently, by living righteously today, then joy, peace and contentment come naturally and challenges are more easily endured. - Candace Estrada, Vancouver, Wash.


How to checklist:

1 Pray, live gospel; righteousness brings peace, joy.

2 Develop attitude of gratitude; realize daily blessings.

3 Don't look to, worry about future; leave past behind.

4 Reach out, serve others; happiness can be contagious.


WRITE TO US:

Jan. 6 "How to increase gospel knowledge through daily study of the Book of Mormon."

Jan 13 "How to help yourself or a loved one break the cycle of compulsive behavior."

Jan. 20 "How to help young people want to dress modestly and with dignity."

Jan. 27 "How to be more effective in your occupation."

Feb. 3 "How to remain in love with your spouse despite the realities of life."

Feb. 10 "How to help young men honor the priesthood."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2121 or use internet E-mail: [email protected] Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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