It’s Better to Look Up

The news has been overwhelmingly full of terrible things lately. It just seems to never stop, and no one is immune from hard times.

I remember almost five years ago, sitting in the Provo Temple waiting to go into the endowment session. There I was sitting next to my husband and no one else in the entire room knew I had delivered a 5 lb, 8 oz baby girl just about two weeks before and that we buried her one week before then. I thought about the person sitting next to me on my other side, and the people in front and behind me. What were they going through? It reminded me of the quote: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." And while we don't always see or know of the battles those around us face, everyone faces hard times.

The unfairness of life is something difficult to watch and grasp. In the Book of Mormon in Mosiah chapter 15 we learn more about someone else who had it hard. Christ himself “was subjected to the flesh.” He was betrayed, wrongly accused and crucified at about age 33. He was tempted, mocked, scourged, cast out and disowned. I’d call that unfair.

But despite all this, Christ still performed miracles, was humble, and most importantly: faithful.

When—not if—hard times hit, we can never control the circumstances but we can control how we will react. When trials come, the natural man in us may want to bury down in a deep hole and never come back up. And it’s okay to be sad and feel all the emotions that come with hard times. But, through our knowledge of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can have hope, peace, and even joy in the hardest of times.

Elder Nelson has stated:
“the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives. When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, which President Thomas S. Monson just taught us, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmastime when we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” And we can feel it all year round.”

I have found that instead of looking down in despair, it is always "better to look up." Doctrine and Covenants 6:36 is one of my favorite scriptures: "Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not, fear not."

Research has shown that we have anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. How many of those thoughts incorporate Christ? There are so many thoughts that I can let into my mind that are destructive and full of fear and despair. But I am finding that when I turn my thoughts to Christ and then translate those into actions, there is no room for any of those feelings from the adversary. We can dig deep in even the hardest of times to feel faith, encouragement, and gratitude. Peace that surpasses all understanding can be felt.

Carl B. Cook stated:
"Experience has taught me that if we, like President Monson, exercise our faith and look to God for help, we will not be overwhelmed with the burdens of life. We will not feel incapable of doing what we are called to do or need to do. We will be strengthened, and our lives will be filled with peace and joy. We will come to realize that most of what we worry about is not of eternal significance---and if it is, the Lord will help us. But we must have the faith to look up and the courage to follow his direction."

Blessings come when we look up instead of anywhere else no matter in good times or in hard times. And when looking up, I think of what my brother Nate wrote home from his mission in Germany once, "The sky is always blue, no matter how thick the layer of clouds." How true that is.

Jessica Dyer currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where her husband is pursuing a PhD in Accounting at UNC and is loving all of the great sunshine and basketball that Chapel Hill has to offer. She is a mom to two cute little kids and to one angel baby. She graduated from BYU in English Language and Editing but has had the opportunity right now to be at home with the kids and is loving all the crazy and fun that comes with that.

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