If I were in a pageant, and my interview question was, "What is the best advice you have ever received?" I know exactly how I would respond. In talking with my dad the night before Kim Wright's wedding, we had created a crisis out of the giant pimple on Kim's forehead. We had tried most everything and were about to resort to Windex, when my dad piped up with this wisdom:
"Worry about the things you can control."
These words have been ringing in my head for the more part of the last few months. I guess they were kind of a spiritual slap in the face. This morning as I reflect upon my dad's counsel I think I have got a pretty good grip on it. There is virtually only one thing that is really in my control, and that's me. I cannot control other people's behaviors, thoughts, or even feelings. As much as I would like to have my thumb on the joystick of other people's lives, reality has that as being impossible.
So here I find myself, back in the saddle again. I'm back in my beloved Cedar City attending SUU for my last semester as an undergraduate student. There are expectations for me to live up to, and goals for me to meet; and if those expectations are not lived up to and those goals go unmet, there is only one person to blame. We are only 100% accountable for ourselves. Now, I don't mean that in an "only look out for #1" sort of way. Through listening to the Holy Ghost, and learning how to apply his guidance to self control we will be held accountable for the ripple we create, inclusive of the effect it takes on other people.
As my thoughts trail through my brain, I come to a memory of reading a talk given by Dieter F. Uchtdorf called "Lift Where You Stand." There is one part in particular where he talks about longing to be in a different position so that we can make a difference. Over the past few years of my life, I have longed to make a giant difference in the world. I entertained ideas of traveling to South-East Asia and participating in anti-trafficking efforts, or spending time in the Congo where I could help rehabilitate women who had been sexually assaulted. When the Kony 2012 campaign first launched I wanted to be at the forefront of the effort.
But somehow this all seems bigger than me. I still see these as extremely important world issues, and have all the hope in the world that I will live to see them on the path to being resolved. However, something inside of my heart has softened. I don't feel so much pressure to make an extravagant difference on a world-wide tier. Heavenly Father and I have had a few conversations about merely "lifting where I stand." There is a difference I can make in my immediate vicinity. My focus should be where I can control. He will take care of the rest.
I am starting with me. I am starting by lifting myself out of bed in the morning. I am lifting myself to my feet after my prayers. I am lifting my heart to be full of hope. I am lifting my goals. I am lifting the corners of my mouth to give a smile. I am lifting my arms to hug family and friends. I am lifting my hammer to build the kingdom by lifting the eyes, spirits and hearts of others to heaven. I am lifting where I stand, because that is where I am in control.
While it is a hard for me to let things go, I have to realize that if I can't control it, it isn't worth worrying over. Although I can't control all things, I know someone who can, and I trust Him completely to make the world right. Through placing my faith in Him, there is absolutely no reason to worry.
Please join me in my pursuit to lift where I stand. Together we will lift heavier things than we could lift alone. "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass" (Alma 37:6). Don't underestimate the strength you can build by gradually lifting the small and simple things. Stop worrying about things outside of your power, and focus on what you can control.
Deiter F. Uchtdorf