The other day I had the privilege of catching up with a good friend. I’ve watched her grow up (I remember the days I used to hold her with cute little curly pig tails bouncing up and down) and now, as a young woman, I see so much of myself in her as she tries to navigate her way in this big world. As we discussed life and other things, I felt impressed to share with her a very trying period in my youth when school, relationships, my volunteer work… all were riddled with problems and I could see no light at the end of the tunnel.
I clearly remember, at one particular low point, standing in the middle of my room after studying seemed a waste of time as my problems consumed my thoughts. I then slumped against my wardrobe and started to sob uncontrollably. I felt helpless, I felt useless, I felt worthless. In a state of desperation, I started to pray and I asked what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. The answer came instantly. “Go serve.” It wasn’t the answer I expected and it took me by surprise. But after some careful consideration, it made complete sense.
When I’m helping someone, I feel an immense love for them. I am fully engaged in their welfare and as corny as it sounds, I completely lose myself in the cause. Soon after my answer to serve came, I went out and found so many opportunities to serve so close to home. Once in service, my thoughts immediately shifted from myself to the others who genuinely needed help. So even though my situation did not change (although time did eventually heal the wounds), my attitude and perspective did. Consequently, I was able to go through those trials in a better frame of mind. Don’t get me wrong, it was still extremely challenging but shifting my focus from myself to others around me, helped greatly.
A quote my Carl B. Cook sums the power of service perfectly:
“As we serve… our problems are put into perspective. Life becomes more satisfying. Our love for others increases, as well as our desire to serve.”
Now, when I feel that life is getting the better of me, I am quick to remember what I can do to help me face them. I know that service brings joy and satisfaction but it not only benefits the people we are helping, as we too, are greatly blessed.