When I have feelings of envy or covetousness, there are several things that I can do that work for me:
- Really look at what I have. To see the green grass on my side of the hill, I must look at my side of the hill. The advice to "count your many blessings" really works. I can write them, say them or, more often, I just think them.- Avoid comparing my blessings to those of another. God gives me what I need to accomplish my mission here, not what someone else needs.
- Share what I have. Somehow what I have increases in value, and I appreciate it more. When I share my time or money I think I use the remainder more wisely.
- Serve others. Serving helps me put my problems in a fresh perspective. It is the key to happiness in this life. One of the blessings for keeping the commandment to serve is happiness or contentment. As the words in a Primary song say, "When we're helping, we're happy." (Children's Songbook, p. 198.) When I serve others, I feel more content with my side of the hill, even if it isn't as green as I wish it were. – Iris Davidson, Bennion, Utah
How do we see the green grass on our own side of the hill? Start taking care of it. First we need to realize that only one thing at a time can occupy the center stage of our minds, and that ought to be what we have been given stewardship over. Then as stewards, our work is to improve what the Lord has given us. This is to be done through our creative abilities. As we do this, we automatically stop focusing on our grievances and begin to draw upon the gifts, talents and godly attributes we've been given, such as becoming more patient, more loving.
As we enlarge to meet our challenges we recognize His blessings to us. As we rejoice in them and are grateful for them we cannot possibly peer over the fence to the other side of the hill. – Leigh Stern, Kensington, Md.
We have moved quite a bit in the last few years and there were advantages and disadvantages in each place we lived. I found myself looking to each move as "life will be better, more friendly, more comfortable." Not having my high expectations met, I finally learned that I should enjoy today wherever I am because I will never have this exact time again. Life will change, and it will become a memory.
Take advantage of any opportunities you have. Later the opportunity may be gone. – Elizabeth N. Ricks, Reno, Nev.
In order to see the green grass on our side of the hill, we need to develop an attitude of gratitude. Choose a favorite scripture to start your day, such as Psalm 118:24: "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Then make a game of finding how many things for which you can thank God. As the day progresses, you will find yourself overwhelmingly grateful to God and take joy in the abundant blessings He has given you. – Karen Marie Skousen, Arlington, Texas
In order to see the green grass on our own side of the hill, it is vital to remember:
- What we think influences how we feel. If we think about our blessings – especially the every day ones – we enjoy them more. Remember how great it was to have hot water again on command after getting the pipes unfrozen?
- We value what we attend to. In other words, celebrate what we have rather than what we don't have. Spend more time cultivating our own grass or giving service to those whose grass is dry and brown, and we will truly appreciate our own grass more.
- We never really know what tares – or sorrows – lie unseen on the other side. We should consciously choose to love our side of the hill – weeds and all.
- Comparisons are a waste of time. We were created as individuals. Enjoy all the shades of green in the world. – Marilyn R. Hillyard, La Junta, Colo.
Share the gospel! Sometimes I feel like I, as a member of the Church, do not realize what I have. Before coming right out and sharing the gospel, I have found it more comfortable to build some relationship with an individual first. In the process of building such a relationship, we often discover certain things we take for granted. In sharing the gospel, we can remind ourselves of principles and ideas that are so deeply imbedded in us that we might have forgotten them otherwise. – Jeff Wright, Salt Lake City, Utah
- Take a piece of paper and a pen.
- Set a timer for two minutes.
- Write down those aspects of the gospel, people, activities and items for which you are grateful.
- Repeat the previous steps as needed.
- Post the list of blessings in a frequently passed area in your home or office. You will be amazed at how green and thick the grass really is on your own side of the hill. – Karrie E. Alma, Peoria, Ill.
Choose to be happy
I have found that some people find every excuse to be unhappy in this life. Unfortunately, they have not yet learned the answer to one of life's main questions: Why are we here? Lehi answered this best in 2 Ne. 2:25: "Men are, that they might have joy."
Does this mean we should be happy every second of every day? I don't believe so. In the same chapter, Lehi said, "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things." (2 Ne. 2:11.) We cannot know the sweet if we have not tasted the bitter.
One of the greatest lessons a good friend once taught me was to choose to be happy. – Elder Dustin W. Harris, California Riverside Mission
`Best I can be'
For almost 15 years of marriage, I have clung tightly to the counsel of our Church leaders encouraging the sisters to be full-time mothers whenever possible. After 11 years of marriage, we were blessed with our first child. Only recently did the grass begin to look greener elsewhere. I envied sisters who were better organized, had more children and enjoyed more outside activities. For a few days I even wondered about the clothing, vacations and savings that double-income families enjoyed.
Quickly I realized I didn't want to punch a clock and report to a supervisor. I am the "home executive." The Lord doesn't hold me accountable for the talents or opportunities He has given to others. I am to be the best I can be. It doesn't get any greener than that! – Janis Manning, Frankenmuth, Mich.
How to checklist:
1 Be grateful; thank God for your blessings.
2 Look at what you really have; share with others.
3 Avoid comparing what you have with what others have.
4 Choose to be happy; take advantage of opportunities.
WRITE TO US:
April 30 "How to make your community a better place to live."
May 7 "How to teach young people the importance of temple marriage."
May 14 "How to overcome the challenges and find joy in a difficult Church calling."
May 21 "How to help your children stay active in the Church when you have a less-active spouse."
May 28 "How to avoid contention in our daily lives."
June 4 "How to make family scripture study fun, interesting."
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, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. 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.