Speaking to young adults around the world, Elder Gary E. Stevenson and his wife, Sister Lesa Stevenson, taught how vision and balance can lead to spiritual strength and peace.
Sunday’s worldwide devotional for young adults began with Elder Stevenson sharing stories of the Church’s early pioneers and their need for vision. Sister Stevenson said those early Saints were “worn and tattered” and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley after fleeing “fierce persecution.”
Settling in the middle of “wide-open desert spaces” required those Saints to have a vision for more than what they could see in the first moments after their arrival. They had to see what was possible, she said.
Elder Stevenson said, “These faithful Saints would once again know peace and purpose, with an elevated gospel vision far higher than the mountaintops they climbed to reach the Salt Lake Valley.”
Ultimate goal of exaltation
Relating the story of those pioneers to the challenges faced by young adults today and the unprecedented pandemic they have endured, Elder Stevenson said he understands the different decisions young adults are faced with at this stage in life.
“You might feel unsure of which direction to go,” he said.
Regardless of the decisions being made, Elder Stevenson said, all Saints should have a common goal.
“Our ultimate goal is the same: to progress along the covenant path, faithfully preparing for exaltation. A gospel perspective provides vision for you and me to clearly see that path.”
Speaking of his own professional career, Elder Stevenson said that vision adjusts with time and experience.
“Vision needs to be adjusted regularly and routinely,” he said. “Starting as a small importer of brass giftware and then growing to become a large provider of fitness products required a lot of luck and adjustment to our vision in between. Abandoning and creating a new plan, reinvention and adjustment is a strength, not a weakness.”
Sister Stevenson said “a gospel perspective” is not limited to influencing spiritual decisions.
“Our spiritual vision, which comes from our gospel perspective, provides insight to all of life’s priorities,” she said. “It allows us to align those priorities and to keep them properly balanced. This is why we see a very close connection between vision and balance.”
Blessed to survive the crash
To emphasize the importance of balance and its contributing factors, Elder Stevenson shared the story of a helicopter ride he took a few years ago.
A friend invited Elder Stevenson and his business partner to take a helicopter ride. After making the 15-minute flight to their destination, and a minute away from landing, the helicopter malfunctioned. A broken tail rotor sent the helicopter into an uncontrolled spin.
The pilot knew what to do in an emergency and safely landed the helicopter on its side. Despite an engine fire, the occupants escaped without injury.
“Through the pilot’s actions and the hand of the Lord, we were blessed to survive the helicopter crash,” he said.
He likened the balance of a helicopter’s main rotor, tail rotor, angle and payload weight needed to fly safely to four components needed to maintain proper balance in life.
4 components of proper balance
“Family should be considered the main rotor in our lives,” Sister Stevenson said. “Nothing you have is more precious. It is the family relationship which you will take into the life beyond.”
Elder Stevenson continued, “Consider employment as the tail rotor of the helicopter.”
“Education … enhances your employability,” he said. “In your work environment you have an obligation to your employer to be honest and loyal.”
“The third critical life-balance element is to the Lord and His work,” he said. “This is one of the main purposes of why we each came to earth.”
“I think of Church service as the stick of the helicopter,” Elder Stevenson said, “which both stabilizes and steers us.”
Sister Stevenson said the fourth component of balance is “the obligation to ourselves.”
She encouraged young adults to evaluate their own needs regularly.
“It’s important that we slow down at times to recharge and take a closer look at our own personal needs, like rest, exercise, recreation and personal spiritual development,” she said.
Maintaining balance isn’t always easy. Elder Stevenson said his father helped him as a young father to recognize that he might not be balancing life as well as he should have.
Elder Stevenson’s father said to him: “When you are at home, make home the priority, not church and work. When you are at work, choose to make work the priority, not home and church. When you are at church, choose to make that the priority not work and home.”
This counsel from his father was helpful to Elder Stevenson.
“It unburdened me and has paid great dividends in my life. I invite you to try it yourselves,” he said.
Elder Stevenson gave three invitations to those watching:
- Consider how gospel vision assures and confirms one’s identity as a daughter of God or a son of God.
- Consider how to address the fourfold responsibility to home and family, to education and employment, to the church, and to self.
- Find a quiet place and write down some impressions felt during the devotional.
“Like the early Latter-day Saints we look out. We look up. And we look within for gospel vision and balance,” he said.