I was recently asked to speak at a young women in excellence activity for another ward. Their theme was “Making your own sunshine”. This is a program in my church (LDS, Mormon) for the young women ages 12-17. This particular activity is an opportunity for the girls to be spiritually fed and then showcase all of the hard work they’ve accomplished during the year. I was humbled and honored to be asked to share my thoughts and experiences with them. Honestly, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time….I’m a little passionate about it and I feel a pull in that direction. So I was pretty excited and nervous too. After a couple of weeks of prayerful study, I was ready. Annnddd…it went great…I think….or so they say it did….nevertheless, I felt good about it and now I want to share my thoughts with you.
FIRST….I wanted them to look at me and develop an opinion of me. Not to be judgmental because we teach the opposite of that but to think about what their impression of me was at first glance. It’s human nature, we develop opinions without even knowing it. After having them think about it for a second, I had them think about what I was like as a child….what was my life like etc….
Then I told them part of my story. You can read more about m story here but the main points were….
- I grew up poor
- I wet the bed and went to school smelling like pee sometimes
- I always forgot to brush my hair
- I always forgot to brush my teeth
- I usually didn’t have friends in elementary
- I dropped out of school in the 8th grade
- I moved out at 16
- I got a job and paid my own bills
- I went back to school my senior year(unexpectedly)
- I graduated with my class and even went to college(something I thought would NEVER happen in my life)
I shared these things for a few reasons…FIRST, people are NEVER as perfect as our imaginations make them up to be! Second, we are not the only ones who have suffered, felt pain or messed up. Third, we can overcome any circumstance! Nothing is set in stone!
MAKING YOUR OWN SUNSHINE. This topic made me think of two things……how we make sunshine(or find joy) in trials and difficult circumstances and also….Making OUR sunshine..being who WE are and letting others experience the light that only we can give(not being ashamed of who we are).
How do we find our ‘sunshine’ and what dims it??
Watch this video and pay attention to the different activities that are shown……..
So how do we FIND it? Service, scripture study, prayer, the Temple, participating, staying close to the Holy Ghost, faith, surrounding yourself with uplifting things…(there are so many resources!!) using your talents…..
Elder Russel M. Nelson said, “When the focus of our lives is on Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening- or not happening- in our lives.”
What DIMS it? Trials, sins, insecurities, selfishness, lack of faith, lack of service, Satan’s lies….(he is a liar and he knows how to tear us down.) we fear we lack the abilities…. Matthew 25:14-29 Click on that link to read all the verses. After I described what was going on in this parable, I emphasized what the ‘Master’ said to his servants that used their talents and gained more because of it. 26 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. This is what the ‘Master’ said to the servant who buried his talent…. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
We are blessed with talents. Talents unique to us and when we use them and share them, they will increase and often times we will find talents that were not there before. But if we hide them, if we don’t feel like they are good enough to be shared, we can lose even what little we thought we had.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else!! You are not SUPPOSED to be them! You are SUPPOSED to be YOU!! They have strengths and you have strengths. You have weaknesses(welcome to mortality) and guess what…..They have weaknesses too! But you are the only YOU and the only one who can do what you do!!
Watch this video!
Have you seen Johnny Lingo?? There’s a small snippet for you where Johnny is talking to the shop owner after bringing back Mahana from their honeymoon. Mahana grew up believing that she was ugly and worthless. This had been reinforced by her father and her neighbors all her life. Johnny came to marry her. It was tradition to pay the father of the bride in cows. A good price was 3-4 cows. Everyone joked that Mahana’s father would have to pay Johnny cows to take Mahana. In the end he paid 8 cows(unheard of!). The shop owner thinks that Johnny paid 8 cows because he wanted to look impressive and he wonders how Mahana went from ugly to beautiful in only a couple of months…..this is how;
Shop owner-“how did you do it?”……Johnny– ”It was the cows!” ”I wanted her to BE an 8 cow woman!” “Many things can happen to make a woman beautiful. The thing that matters most, is what she thinks of herself.”
WHAT WE THINK OF OURSELVES! And all Mahana needed was someone to help her see it. Which brings me to the next and equally important part of this talk….Helping others to find their sunshine!
Setting others up for success. Most often we have wonderful things that are just out of our reach. All we need is someone to simply boost us a little bit higher. Someone to help find the key that unlocks our door to the God given potential we were born with.
But how do we become that boost?
Be kind, be an example, be uplifting, be loving, help them make good choices, include them, BE MORE LIKE CHRIST.
Watch this final video! You won’t regret it.
Do you know what a champion is?
-Webster dictionary- One that does battle for another rights or honor.
You can be a champion or support or cheerleader for your friends and all those around you! You can be their motivation and their biggest fan!
We all have a champion…..
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said “We have a Champion, a Savior, who walked through the valley of the shadow of death on our behalf.”
The SAVIOR is our champion! He is our biggest cheerleader and greatest example!
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow and forever.”
We can find joy and sunshine under every circumstance in our lives. And who we are and what we offer is beyond valuable! Imagine a volleyball game…………
Where is the joy?
You matter! You are needed! This world is not the same without your abilities! There is no one like you! There never has been and there never will be!
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf also said,
“You may feel that your life is in ruins…you may be afraid, angry, grieving, or tortured by doubt. But just as the Good Shepherd finds his lost sheep, if you will only lift up your heart to the Savior of the world, he will find you.
He will rescue you.
He will lift you up and place you on His shoulders.
He will carry you home.”