Sunday, December 5, 2010

Of Things That Matter Most

"Have you ever been in an airplane and experienced turbulence? The most common cause of turbulence is a sudden change in air movement causing the aircraft to pitch, yaw, and roll. While planes are built to withstand far greater turbulence than anything you would encounter on a regular flight, it still may be disconcerting to passengers.

"What do you suppose pilots do when they encounter turbulence? A student pilot may think that increasing speed is a good strategy because it will get them through the turbulence faster. But that may be the wrong thing to do. Professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed. The same principle applies also to speed bumps on a road.

"Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions."

The above excerpt was taken from a talk by the apostle President Dieter F. Uchtdorf entitled, "Of Things That Matter Most." In the most recent General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Uchtdorf spoke about slowing down in life and refocusing on the things that matter most.

As I read this talk recently, so many things stuck out to me. He teaches so many solid principles about slowing down and enjoying life to it's full potential. You have to read this talk. The gospel and plan of Jesus Christ is plain and simple yet elegant and beautiful, much like our lives can and should be. "We would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most."

President Uchtdorf outlines four key relationships upon which we should focus regarding things that matter most:

  1. Our relationship with God. "As we seek Him, . . . our lives become more stable and secure. We experience greater peace, joy, and fulfillment as we give our best to live according to God's eternal plan and keep His commandments."
  2. Our relationship with our families. "Since "no other success can compensate for failure" here, we must place a high priority on our families."
  3. Our relationship with our fellowman. "We build this relationship one person at a time--by being sensitive to the needs of others, serving them, and giving of our time and talents."
  4. Our relationship with ourselves. "[R]educe the rush and take a little extra time to get to know yourself better."
He closed with these words, "Let us simplify out lives a little. Let us make necessary changes to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship--the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace."

I understand that becoming overwhelmed with day to day tasks in the midst of larger responsibilities such as school, work, and family duties is quite easy. I also understand that we can only do so much. At least I can only do so much; perhaps some of you are more superhuman. But no matter how much each of us thinks we can handle or are convinced that we "have" to do, we are happier when we simplify and prioritize. The best things in life are those that bring us closer to our Savior and our families and all others, however good they may be, have the potential to distract, disorient, and debilitate.

King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon taught, "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and in order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again it is expedient that he might be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order" (Mosiah 4:27).


For further reading, see, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Good, Better, Best," Ensign, Nov 2007