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Throughout history war exists. World wars to sibling shouting matches and everything in between. I find myself wanting to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head. My emotions range from sad to angry to defensive. Like many of you, I still remember my experience with 9/11/2001. Deathly attacks on American soil brought thoughts that brought feelings of helplessness and sadness.
President Gordon B. Hinckley gave an address shortly after the 2001 attacks. He said, “Notwithstanding the afflictions about us, notwithstanding the sordid things we see almost everywhere, notwithstanding the conflict that sweeps across the world, we can be better” (Living in the Fulness of Times, Ensign, November 2001). That talk made an impression on me. I knew I couldn’t control the world, but I could control me. I could be a little kinder in my interactions with others. I could love more in my home and my community. In the last General Conference, Elder Cook gives us more counsel. He says, “Peace and agency are intertwined” (Personal Peace in Challenging Times, October 2021).
You can feel personal peace in challenging times! Elder Cook gives 5 doctrinal teachings that are essential to finding to that peace. I am going to share a coaching spin on each one.
First—Love: Love is the greatest emotion and it is available all the time. You can choose love any time. It doesn’t matter what another person says or does. It doesn’t make you weak to not argue back. Love doesn’t mean not standing up for yourself, but you can do that from a place of love. Think about a time when you felt love. You can still—discipline, teach, accept, compromise, communicate, understand—from a place of love. Next time you want to be at war with someone, give yourself a few minutes to conjure up feelings of love inside your body. Then act from that loving feeling.
Second—Seek fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance) Galatians 5:22-23: This world is a learning ground. We are exposed to so many opportunities to develop characteristics we want to develop. This is your chance! Anger or love. Pride or humility. Evil or good. Fear or faith. Decide what “fruit” you want. Think about how a person who has that “fruit” acts. Then practice those actions until you become that person. Don’t forget to give yourself grace on the journey.
Third—Exercise Agency: You have more power than you realize. Too often we react to what others say and do instead of showing up as the version we want to be. We think it is easier to change other’s behavior rather than examining how we can change our own behaviors. We keep engaging in the same behaviors hoping for different results. Stop trying to change others and use your agency to become a better version of you!
Fourth—A Zion Heart: You can have a peaceful heart. I’ve experienced that transformation in my own life. A lot of our pain comes from thinking things should be different. Everything is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to. You can be at peace with that knowledge. You were supposed to mess up. You were supposed to be amazing! Life is supposed to be hard. Life is supposed to be enjoyable. Stop the internal war and accept the fact that sometimes you are great and sometimes you are the worst. It’s okay. God has a plan for both. This is true for other people too.
Fifth—Follow the Prophet: Everything we do is a direct result of our belief system. Do you believe that following the prophet can help you feel peace? Our prophet has given us so much counsel—stay on the covenant path, learn how you hear Him, let God prevail, express gratitude, increase faith. If you don’t believe or aren’t sure, experiment. Alma encouraged others to “experiment upon my words” (Alma 32:27). Love your enemies is a biblical doctrine. We want to dismiss it because it seems like an improbable option. Our brains come up with all the excuses why loving your enemies isn’t a good idea. So we press forward hating our enemies (and sometimes those we love) instead of experimenting with how we can love everyone. We miss the opportunity to be the agent of change. We hold on to our anger instead of experimenting on what would happen if we let it go.
Wars (big and small) are an inevitable part of our human experience. But you don’t have to contribute to the contention. You can have personal peace amidst the chaos. A peaceful heart will change your whole mortal experience—and be an influence for good to the world.
The following was originally from Lori Holyoaks blog which you can find here: https://www.loriholyoak.com/blog2