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6 Ways to Love Church, Even When It Seems Boring


C is for Choose

Recently I read a story about a restaurant manager who was always in a good mood. One of his friends asked him how he always managed to stay so happy. He replied,"Each morning I wake up and say to myself, 'You have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

Several years later, this man was held up at gunpoint and shot. How did he react to that situation? I mean, being in a good mood in the morning is one thing, but what kind of mood are you in after you've been shot? He continued:

As I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live. . . . When they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, "He's a dead man." I knew I needed to take action. . . . There was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me. She asked if I was allergic to anything. "Yes," I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, "Bullets!" Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead" (Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work [1996]).

Needless to say, he lived. . . .

Now to the point: If a man who is bleeding to death can choose to have a sense of humor, do you suppose the [someone] reading this . . .  could choose to enjoy his or her church meetings? You bet. . . . But the choice doesn't begin on Sunday morning. . . .

I'm not saying there aren't boring speakers now and then, but have you ever noticed that two people can come out of the same sacrament service with totally different feelings about the meeting? Elder Henry B. Eyring told of a time when he attended church with his father and listened to what for young Henry had been a "dull talk." As they walked home, he was trying to think of a way to ask his father why he had been "beaming" during the boring meeting.

I finally got up enough courage to ask him what he thought of the meeting. He said it was wonderful. . . . Like all good fathers, he must have read my mind, because he started to laugh. He said: '"Hal, let me tell you something. Since I was a very young man, I have taught myself to do something in a church meeting. When the speaker begins, I listen carefully and ask myself what it is he is trying to say. Then, once I think I know what he is trying to accomplish, I give myself a sermon on that subject." He let that sink in for a moment as we walked along. Then, with that special self-deprecating chuckle of his, he said, "Hal, since then I have never been to a bad meeting" (To Draw Closer to God [Deseret Book: Salt Lake City, 1997], 23).

John Bytheway: How to Love Church, Even When It Seems Boring

From Isaiah for Airheads to5 Things You Can Do Today to Bless Your Marriage to When Times Are Tough, John Bytheway has funny and perceptive insights into many of life's most complex topics. Check out his products today at deseretbook.com.


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