Per Jeffrey Holland’s recent talk on “Tomorrow” or Monday where the Lord “will do great things among us”… how’s that coming for you?
Let’s face it… if we hate “Monday is Coming” on Sunday then we’re probably unhappy…maybe miserable.
And this despite putting in every effort to be successful at home, work and college?
Which begs a “True or False” question:
(1) Does Success Precede and Lead To Happiness OR
(2) Does Happiness Precede and Lead To Success
Obviously, some people are VERY happy so they are succeeding at something.
But, what I believe this question is about is whether or not, as a Christian, you’re happy with your overall life in giving to the Lord and giving to the World.
Is the balance good enough that you have BOTH producing happiness and success? This is a VERY important “chicken/Egg-Egg/Chicken” question for Christians and I’ll address the answer below.
We are asked to LIVE our religion to produce the “fruits” of happiness and success–that come from LIVING IT–which will lead non-believers to ask, “how do you do this?”
“Them: “Hey! That person and family are PERFECTLY happy and successful. Wow. Nobody else is. I guess they must be doing something right!”
Me: “I laugh maniacally…Bwahahahaha! (As I think: ‘The last thing I want to do is bring someone into this You’re-NOT-DOING-ENOUGH church … but maybe they’ll want to go to Church and be unhappy with me?’ Okay, so not really, but has the thought ever crossed your mind? It’s okay you can admit it here. Nobody will know but you.)
If you haven’t served in leadership in the Church then you can look forward to serving a vast array of wonderful people. But, unfortunately there are many unhappy, fear-filled, MISERABLE or even resentful and mean Christians in every congregation.
Suppose you’re one of them (or you know an unhappy one), but you can honestly say that you’re:
- Keeping the Commandments and partaking of the Sacrament worthily on Sunday which is code for “repenting for failing at the commandments”
- Hyper focused on Proclamation-on-The-Family admonitions (Daily Mom/Dad and Family Roles and Duties)
- Daily reading scriptures and prayer
- Serving (magnifying) in a calling
- AND YOU DO A GREAT JOB in your JOB!!!
Maybe your unhappiness sounds like this:
“Hey, Lord! Its me…you know, the one pleading with you ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Look. I’m working overtime to be good. I’m one of YOURS. I’m NOT one of those heathens out there. So…where Are Those Big Blessings I Thought You Promised Me? I’m getting a bit ticked off here! How is it you can bless those people over there and not bless me? Come on, God. You’re God. Bless me. You’re my buddy. I’m your buddy. BLESS ME NOW! Or else I might just leave you or keep whining about stuff to drive you mad.”
Back to the question of which comes first, success or happiness? Per a review of 225 studies by Sonja Lyubomirsky she reported that…
Happiness Leads TO Success. In other words the researchers found that happiness OFTEN doesn’t follow success, but actually PRECEDES it.
To arrive at her conclusions, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., UC Riverside (and peers), reviewed 3 kinds of studies:
(1) those that compared diverse groups of individuals,
(2) those that followed individuals over time and
(3) those that examined controlled settings outcomes.
They asked: “Are happy people more successful than unhappy people? Does happiness precede success? And does positive affect lead to success-oriented behaviors?”
As stated already, the results from all three types of studies showed that happiness precedes increases of success, but why?
Ms. Lyubomirsky explains that
“happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to be more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources. When people feel happy, they tend to feel confident, optimistic, and energetic and others find them likable and sociable.”
So, do you buy it? Do you agree that Happiness isn’t the result of success? BUT, that if you’re HAPPY you have the BIGGEST advantage at becoming successful because you are more likely to be able to do things that are hard–and required–in order succeed? Which includes even the HARD THING called MONDAY which comes around every 7 days!
Let me repeat and paraphrase her with the emphasis that BECAUSE of SUNDAY (if we make it what the Lord intended it to be) we HAVE the advantage because we are
“. . . more likely to work actively toward new goals and build new resources. . . and others will find us MORE likable.”
I promised four ways to Pray on Sunday Without Becoming Prey on Monday…here it is (Note: Each of these will capitalize on the positive feelings you have on Sunday so that you can take them with you into Monday and beyond!)
- Find something to be grateful for in the thing you hate the most about Monday (or the things required of you in the world)…and dwell on THAT more than the other things. Heck, find several things. You cannot be grateful and feel miserable! And besides nobody wants to think they’re lazy dolts and that life is manhandling them, so, “Is life happening to you…or for you?” Gratitude helps us see that life is happening FOR us and not TO us. Additionally, remember, that what you focus on you get MORE of. (Oh, and can you see how this will help you to HOLD onto the positive feelings of happiness you have on Sunday and take them into Monday?)
- Start to employ Mantras. Remember that Monday is NOT the Devil’s Day. It is YOUR day. It is YOUR opportunity. To take ownership employ the power mantras. For example if you repeat, “I love Monday, I love Monday, I love Monday!” you’ll eventually–by habit–start to think more positive about Monday. No, I’m not kidding. Similarly by repeating, “I like doing the dishes,” over and over you’ll eventually grow to like it. True. Honest. Why would I lie? I used this and I DO like doing the dishes. Just ask my wife. Okay, I could do better at putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
- Pray for your enemies. Do good to them. Serve them. Speak well of them. Put their names in the Temple. Fast for them. When we go back to a society of people that DIDN’T worship on Sunday we can sometimes feel a bit superior and judgmental. You’re forgiven and they’re still heathens, right? Holy Moly batman and catwoman …maybe stop judging them! Love them for crying out loud! BE THE CHANGE you want in them! SHOW them the happier life isn’t a life of ease and pleasure, but a life of joy in doing what is right AND a life of ease and pleasure. Grin!
- Eliminate any feeling that you’re entitled to absolute happiness just because you’re a good person. That isn’t how it works. You have to EARN happiness on Monday. It isn’t given, deeded, bequeathed, willed, paid, delivered, etc. Oh, and a bonus tip:
- BONUS TIP…Test this: Move everything “toilsome” or of “thine own delight (Isaiah 58)” off Sunday including leadership meetings, homework, entertainment, parties, etc. In this way there’s a strong chance that my number 4 is false. I mean…happiness on Monday might actually BE a gift or reward that comes without compulsory means by making the Sabbath the Lord’s Delight and not ours.
Three testimonies to illustrate and defend number 5:
1 I was privileged to be a counselor to Bishop Curtis Anderson. If you know him you know that he thinks deeply and when he speaks and acts–he is passionate and deliberate about it. A great leader. A great teacher.
He taught me and his other counselor (Robert Kofoed) that while he was serving as an Elder’s Quorum President he decided that keeping the Sabbath Day holy required him to move all his leadership meetings to a day during the week. In other words he didn’t make the lame excuse that he had to do “the Lord’s work” on Sunday which meant that he’d be gone from home not just three hours, but 5 to 6 hours or more. [For Bishoprics and other presidencies it can be 8 to 10 hours…] He knew that such an move would precipitate some men (or women in similar callings) not being able to serve. No problem: Call someone who can.
He testified that the paramount priority was to DO as the Lord Commanded and to not make excuses.Then, as he followed his plan he testified that Sunday worship became deeper and more pleasant for him. However, what he appreciated just as much was how Monday and the week became less stressful, and, get this, he looked forward to Mondays!
2 My friend, Shad Driggs, testified to me one day that when he was attending the University of Texas that he NEVER allowed himself the luxury of doing homework on Sunday. It was an absolute rule. He testified that he was able to maintain the highest level of grades and test outcomes–and that miracles occurred to help him know things on tests that he wasn’t able to study due to his commitments–to make it so. (I think this is the day that I fell in love with all things Driggs. Excellent man and excellent family!)
3 I can also testify to the benefits of being more prudent in what we do or allow to come into our lives on Sunday. (Remember that Prudence is the highest virtue for decision making…but I digress.) I remember when I turned off football and other sports on Sunday a decade or so ago that I had the SAME blessing come to me. My hectic travel schedule of four, five or six flights a week with in-between connections and doing 4 major seminars or even 10 seminars in some weeks became less frazzling and more satisfying. I started to look forward to Monday.
I know, I know, three men who don’t have a clue about how hard it is to be consumed with children, school, laundry, dishes, house cleaning, homework, cooking, PTA, coaching, AND work, etc., to worry about.
Granted, and with respect, sisters, you DO have more on your plate that is unique and seeming impossible to prioritize. But, “what if?” What if you could see things within your vast array of concerns and worries (that men don’t have) a way to make this work via baby steps (no pun intended)?
Think: What can I control vs. what I can’t control?
Over the past two years I’ve worked with nearly three dozen women who had the same worries, complaints and issues, but they made a way.
They “cleaned up and cleared out” things that mattered least!
Eliminating just a few silver-lures that distract us can turn things around. Find just one that matters least and start eliminating.
Work at it. Strive with the idea that even if you’re a full-time mother including working out of the home that the requirements and promises also apply to you:
Ahhhhhh! “Delight yourself in the Lord!”
The problem is that if we don’t take control of how we live Sunday and Monday that life will take control of us. Our lives will continue to be distracted and dense with far too many less or unimportant things. Hence, Sundays, with good intentions, will continue to be our
“Spiritual Cramming day.”
And Monday will fend for itself.
Let’s do what a wise man asked recently and “give back the Sabbath to the Lord”.
I promise that if we do that we’ll transform Monday from being the Devil’s Day to being a wonderful day no matter what it brings.