In a world filled with various controversies and problems, it can be difficult to know how and where to make a difference.
Between politics, riots, and a global pandemic, I’ve found myself in many social situations in the last year that have left me both confused and longing to make a difference. How does someone fight an unseen virus or unite people who have vastly different views?
In a young adult devotional given at BYU–Hawaii, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson says that “desperation can actually be a great motivator.” Although she directs her comments toward becoming our best selves, I believe that the type of desperation she discusses is actually the key to learning how to make a difference in the world we live in now. As she says, “When we’re desperate to be guided by heaven, we work harder than ever to tune in to heaven.” Sister Nelson suggests that desperation can lead us to “tune in” to heaven in four ways:
- Using time well: When we spend our time doing things that don’t really matter, we are more likely to keep using our time unwisely. Conversely, when we fill our lives with good things, we are more inclined to do good things. See what happens to your life when you replace little actions (like time on Facebook) with actions that matter more (like sending a wholesome text to a friend or family member).
- Studying the scriptures: Seeking the answer to a specific question may be the missing key to getting more direction out of scripture study. Whether the answer comes through an explicit phrase or through thoughts and impressions, desperately perusing the scriptures can help you know how you can make a difference in the world.
- Repenting: As humans, we all have things that hold us back. It might be an unrepented sin or simply a human habit or tendency. When we’re desperate to make a difference, we become desperate to overcome our weaknesses and shortcomings.
- Developing spiritual gifts: God doesn’t leave us without help. When we desperately involve the Savior, we can have access to spiritual gifts and abilities that we normally wouldn’t have access to. With this extra help, we are enabled to make a bigger difference.
When the tumultuous world drives us to desperately desire to make a difference, this desperation can motivate us to tune in more closely to heaven, thus moving us, as Sister Nelson says, “further along the path to becoming the man or woman [we] were born to be.” And becoming the person we were born to be is one of the greatest differences we can make.
Read or watch Sister Nelson’s address here for more insights on how desperation can transform us into more Christlike people.
—Mikaela Wilkins, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY BEN WHITE
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