I hope you all had a fun week sharing compliments with those around you! Thank you for your insight and examples of both sharing and receiving compliments.
You may remember that about a month ago, I referenced a talk given by President Dieter Uchtdorf (of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). In it he spoke about "two principles that may help you find a path to peace, hope, and joy—even during times of trial and distress." They are creating and compassion. We talked about compassion and service already. This week I would like to discuss "creating".
If you would like to read his talk in its entirety, click here. I highly recommend it. I love the way he speaks! This is what President Uchtdorf said specifically about creating:
"The Work of Creation
The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. No matter our talents, education, backgrounds, or abilities, we each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.
Everyone can create. You don’t need money, position, or influence in order to create something of substance or beauty.
Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children.
You might say, “I’m not the creative type. When I sing, I’m always half a tone above or below the note. I cannot draw a line without a ruler. And the only practical use for my homemade bread is as a paperweight or as a doorstop.”
If that is how you feel, think again, and remember that you are spirit daughters of the most creative Being in the universe. Isn’t it remarkable to think that your very spirits are fashioned by an endlessly creative and eternally compassionate God? Think about it—your spirit body is a masterpiece, created with a beauty, function, and capacity beyond imagination.
But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy.4 Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things.
If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them. If you are not a mother now, the creative talents you develop will prepare you for that day, in this life or the next.
You may think you don’t have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us.5 The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.
What you create doesn’t have to be perfect. So what if the eggs are greasy or the toast is burned? Don’t let fear of failure discourage you. Don’t let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside.
If you still feel incapable of creating, start small. Try to see how many smiles you can create, write a letter of appreciation, learn a new skill, identify a space and beautify it.
Nearly a century and a half ago, President Brigham Young spoke to the Saints of his day. “There is a great work for the Saints to do,” he said. “Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ.”6
The more you trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater your capacity to create. That is your opportunity in this life and your destiny in the life to come. Sisters, trust and rely on the Spirit. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you."
I love this concept in relation to joy. He is right, everyone has the ability to create something. And something of worth. I know of at least three photographers who read this blog and I think all of their work is amazing! I've always admired and envied my older sister's piano ability. When she plays it seems so effortless and amazing. My brother's wives made my little sister's wedding cake and I SO wished they had done mine. It was incredibly beautiful. My little sister just created a huge change in the way scholarships are handled at her university. I would have never had the gumption to put forth the effort she had to to accomplish that. Right now I have a cute Frankenstein hanging out in my window that was painted by my mom years ago. She used to tole paint a lot and I absolutely love all the things she created to decorate our home. Okay, so obviously, I could go on and on. The point is, I can think of so many different things that those of you that I know have and can create. Even when it's hard. This blog isn't something I ever imagined creating, but here it is. Of course, I am lucky because I have all of your help in doing this!
The two points that really stuck out to me about finding joy through creation are:
1. Don't worry so much about the outcome. Even if it ends up like "burnt toast" on the first, second, or tenth try, you still grow from it. And you can still enjoy it! Especially if you have a sense of humor about it like President Uchtdorf. I made my kids Halloween costumes this year. They ended up being A LOT more work than I anticipated and they didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but I still enjoyed the process. And I was really proud of myself in the end because anything involving sewing is quite a stretch for me. And the kids absolutely loved the costumes and didn't care one bit about the imperfections.
2. I'm just going to quote this again-- "Nearly a century and a half ago, President Brigham Young spoke to the Saints of his day. “There is a great work for the Saints to do,” he said. “Progress, and improve upon and make beautiful everything around you. Cultivate the earth, and cultivate your minds. Build cities, adorn your habitations, make gardens, orchards, and vineyards, and render the earth so pleasant that when you look upon your labors you may do so with pleasure, and that angels may delight to come and visit your beautiful locations. In the mean time continually seek to adorn your minds with all the graces of the Spirit of Christ.”" I love that. I think it speaks for itself.
So, what types of things do you create? What creations bring you joy? Have the creations of others brought you joy?