The most common challenges we face in life—those we see and struggle with on a daily basis—are often self-inflicted. But they don’t have to be.
Daily personal challenges are common enough in our culture— things like negativity, doubt, anger, loneliness, jealousy, and selfishness. Despite their commonality, these trials can be the most dangerous and degrading to the soul. They wear us down physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
I am not saying that we are to blame for every negative thing we face in life. But I am saying our attitudes and responses to adversity can lead either to intense satisfaction and lasting peace or continual dissatisfaction and discontent.
Don’t let your response to a trial prove to be the biggest trial of all.
There are several prevalent mentalities we see today that can lead to these challenges—things we must be aware of and strive to avoid.
1) Quick Fixes
Our society has become obsessed with the idea of quick fixes. Commercials always stress getting into your dream car, your dream house, and your dream body now—with no wait and nothing down.
This obsession with “today” and “right now” has made us conflate ideas of ease with joy. But there is very little about true, abiding joy that is easy.
Quick fixes cause us to miss the entire point of improving ourselves in the first place and put our focus on the wrong aspects.
For example, in our hurry to skip right to the results of eating healthy and exercising regularly, we forget that the entire purpose is to be physically fit, not to look skinny. Yet, we’ve twisted weight to be the focus of why we work out or eat healthily. As a result, we sometimes even make ourselves unhealthier—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
We had a lovely chat with Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, and found out what she values in life, what her secret talents are, and what she wants the young women of the Church to know.
You lived in Sweden both when your husband served as president of the Sweden Göteborg Mission and later when you served as temple matron of the Stockholm Sweden Temple. What was the best part of living there?
Without a question, it was the people with whom we served and worked. The Swedish Saints are faithful and obedient. Norway and Latvia were also in our temple district, and they were equally committed to the gospel and their families. Getting to know people, understanding their lives and challenges, and learning to love them are always the best parts of a mission.
That being said, I would have to add a second “favorite thing.” Sweden is an absolutely beautiful country with beautiful traditions. We loved driving through the countryside on speaking assignments and enjoying the blue lakes, green fields, and little red cottages. We love celebrating Swedish traditions, even here in the states. My husband always tells people that we are really Swedes who just happen to come from America!
What has been your biggest challenge as a wife and mother, and how did you overcome it?
This brings to mind the years when our seven children were young, my husband had a demanding job in retail, and we both had time-consuming callings. Life could be hectic! Whenever someone asks me how I did it I always say, “Selective neglect!” Those are the times that call for prioritizing what is most important and letting the less important things go. Meeting children’s needs is more important than a perfect house or fixing gourmet meals. Those things have their time and place, but being able to keep a perspective of what was most important was the biggest help during that time.
Times have changed since the first For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet came out. Use these modern-day tips to help you teach your youth about how to stay modest in the 21st century.
Fashions available from Sweet Salt Clothing.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that modesty is more than just clothing—it is a way of thought, action, and attitude, in addition to dress.
And although the fundamental principles of modesty have not changed since many of us were teenagers, the times and world situations that young women and men are living in today are ever changing—and the way we need to approach modesty with youth is in dire need of a makeover itself.
Here are five modern-day tips about teaching modesty to today’s youth:
Note: This article focuses on modest dress, but the same principles and ideas can and should be applied to modesty in thoughts and actions.
1 - Teach youth to be sensitive and respectful of other people’s interpretations and practices of modesty.
Heavenly Father first and foremost loves His children, not their clothes
Youth must have personal standards for modesty (in thought, dress, and behavior), but they should also know others may embrace or interpret modesty differently.
Infiltrating the dangerous world of human trafficking, Timothy Ballard--Mormon and founder of Operation Underground Railroad--has become a beacon for change and a hero to hundreds of children from around the world who have been rescued due to his courageous actions and unwavering faith.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article addresses the atrocity of child sex slavery—one of the fastest growing and most lucrative criminal industries in the world today. While we have made every effort to avoid graphic language, this article might be disturbing for some readers.
On a balmy February afternoon in the poverty-stricken country of Haiti, Timothy Ballard is thrown to the ground and handcuffed by local law enforcement. Lifting his head from the asphalt, he watches as the woman who just sold him two young children—a brother and sister ages 2 and 3—for $15,000 apiece is hauled away by police.
Little did the woman know that Ballard is a former CIA and Homeland Security agent who was working with the Haitian government in an undercover operation that would liberate 28 children from her “orphanage.” Little did she know that Ballard would go on to rescue more than 200 children from human traffickers in 2014 alone.
Ballard describes himself as a modern-day abolitionist and is doing everything in his power to educate the public about the little-acknowledged plague of human trafficking in society.
“We go about our lives thinking we have eradicated slavery, but it’s bigger than ever,” he says. “There are more slaves today than all the slaves in 300 years of the transatlantic slave trade.” In fact, human rights organizations agree there are at least 21 million victims of human trafficking in the world today, including 2 million children. Rescuing these children has become Ballard’s mission in life—a mission he believes is inspired of the Lord.
While I was serving as a missionary in the Vancouver Washington Mission, my family at home—including my father, mother, and two brothers—died from a carbon monoxide leak. But there’s hope for healing that can only be found through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
On August 24, 2013, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland came to visit our mission. All the missionaries gathered in a church building, anxious to meet him. He spoke with such power, and I remember the Spirit testifying to me that he was indeed an apostle of the Lord and that anything he said would be of God.
I remember he gave each of us a promise. He said, “As you serve your missions with all your heart, mind, and strength, your families will be protected.” I made a promise to myself right then that regardless of how tired or tested I ever felt, I was going to serve the Lord the best that I could.
Time passed, and I faced many trials. During a particularly difficult period, I asked one of my zone leaders for a blessing. In the blessing, he told me that I didn’t need to worry about home. My family was safe and would remain safe because of my decision to serve. Again, I felt that reassurance that the Lord would keep His promise.
But on February 23, 2014, just three days after my year mark of leaving for the MTC, my life was changed forever.
It was 10:30 on a Sunday night, and I had just finished saying my prayers before bed when there was a knock on the door. After a puzzled pause, my companion and I answered the door. There stood the last two people we would have expected: our mission president and his dear wife, each wearing a grim expression.