What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things… I am tempted to think there are no little things. (Bruce Barton, quoted in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 287)
…by small and simple things are great things brought to pass… (Alma 37:6)
Life is so much easier when large tasks are broken down into smaller ones. Seemingly insurmountable goals and projects can be divvied up into manageable “to do” lists, allowing us to feel a sense of accomplishment as we progress down the path we’ve marked for ourselves.
Perfection is a lofty standard. It is one that only One has achieved in this world. At times we may feel a deep sense of inferiority and depression as we look at where we “should” be in comparison to where we currently are. For those who have ever felt this way, may I suggest Stephen Robinson’s awesome book Believing Christ (or this devotional address which covers the same material).
A friend of mine, teaching our Elders Quorum lesson this past Sunday, said “It doesn’t matter if you’re three inches from hell, as long as you’re pointed upwards.” Indeed, our location on the straight and narrow path doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact we’re on the path (and headed in the right direction).
Self-introspection, meditation, and prayer are great ways to assure that our priorities are in check and we’re living up to the standard we’ve set for ourselves. Might I also recommend Alma, chapter 5, wherein Alma asks 47 questions that serve as great catalysts for our own self-analysis.
Once we’ve aligned our priorities and set some goals, it’s time to get to work. We must be anxiously engaged in a good cause, not slothful and content to follow orders. But what happens when the demands seem too daunting, or what the load seems unbearable? In times of self-doubt and frustration, the following words speak volumes:
God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability! (Elder Neal A. Maxwell, It’s Service, Not Status, That Counts)
We need to make ourselves available and set aside time for the small things that really count. President Hinckley has often said that we not only have to “be good”, but “be good for something”. Through divinely increased capability we can turn each of our individual “small things” into one large revolution!