As spirit daughters of a loving Heavenly Father, "happiness is your heritage," said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf Sept. 27 during the General Relief Society Meeting.
"You are choice daughters of our Heavenly Father and, through the things you create and by your compassionate service, you are a great power for good. You will make the world a better place. Lift up your chin; walk tall. God loves you. We love and admire you."
President Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, spoke to those who have "ever felt inadequate, discouraged or weary — in short, I would like to speak to all of us."
President Thomas S. Monson presided at the meeting, held in the Conference Center and broadcast across the globe.
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, attended the broadcast.
President Uchtdorf said sometimes the women of the Church undervalue their abilities; they focus on what is lacking or imperfect rather than what has been accomplished and who they really are.
"I would like to speak about two principles that may help you find a path to peace, hope and joy — even during times of trial and distress. I want to speak about God's happiness and how each one of us can taste of it in spite of the burdens that beset us."
President Uchtdorf said Heavenly Father is able to accomplish two great goals — the immortality and eternal life of man — because He is a God of creation and a God of compassion.
"Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father's perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate."
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul, said President Uchtdorf. "No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
"Everyone can create. You don't need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty."
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment, he said. Yet some, he added, may feel they are not the creative type.
"If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn't it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it — your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination."
President Uchtdorf said people were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fullness of joy. "Our birthright — and the purpose of our great journey on this earth — is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things."
He told members of the worldwide congregation that what they create doesn't have to be perfect. "Don't let fear of failure discourage you," he said. "Don't let the voice of the critics paralyze you — whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside."
President Uchtdorf said the more individuals trust the Spirit, the greater their capacity will be to create. "This is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come," he said. "Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."
Being compassionate, he continued, is another of Heavenly Father's great works and a fundamental characteristic of Church members.
"When we reach out to bless the lives of others, our lives are blessed as well," he said. "Service and sacrifice open the windows of heaven, allowing choice blessings to descend upon us. Surely, our beloved Heavenly Father smiles upon those who care for the least of His children.
"As we lift others, we rise a little higher ourselves.... As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness."
President Uchtdorf said in the world of pop psychology and feel-good self-help manuals, this advice might seem counterintuitive. "We are sometimes told that the answer to our ills is to look inward, indulge ourselves, spend first and pay later, and to satisfy our own desires even at the expense of those around us. While there are times when it is prudent to look first to our own needs, in the long run it doesn't lead to lasting happiness."
Women in the Church render compassionate service to others for reasons that supersede the desire for personal benefits, he said. In this way, Latter-day Saint women emulate the Savior who, though a king, did not seek position or was not concerned with whether others noticed Him.
"In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the Lord's hands to answer those prayers."
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