Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Managing our Demands with our Resources

Managing our Demands with our Resources

In our busy lives, we are constantly engaging in a balancing act. How well we do this highly depends upon active assessment and personal self-control. We have many roles to play and many responsibilities, plus many interests that also vie for our attention. In other words, there are demands. Sometimes it can be overwhelming for us, which might leave us with a feeling of helplessness. But that need not be so.

Demands are just part of the picture. We need to remember that in this balancing act, we also have resources; and, they are many. That is why active assessment and self-control become a vital part of balancing. If we only feel the weight of our demands, then we may blind-side ourselves to the many resources available to us.

So we can begin by making a list of our demands and a list of our resources. This may be the last thing that we feel like doing, because it only feels like one more demand on our time. But that’s not the case. If we allow ourselves this few minutes of planning time, this assessment activity will empower us and give us more time to meet our demands successfully, instead of desperately or despairingly.

One way that writing a list of resources can be most beneficial is that we will see we are not alone, and we will find that we do not need to face our challenges alone. In other words, the Lord is our greatest resource and He will help us, and we can be guided through His Holy Spirit as we turn to Him and ask Him to be our Partner. We will also find that we have support in our spouses and family members and in our friends. As we properly engage each other towards common goals, we will find that our burdens or the weight of our demands will become significantly lighter and far easier to manage.

When we still feel out of balance, we probably are. So what can we do? What is necessary for us to do? Yes, this will also require more assessment. That’s okay. We should be happy to get to know ourselves and to value ourselves enough to make our own lives happier and more pleasant.

When we find that balance is still lacking, we need to shuffle through our demands to see what is most important. It may very well be that we find that we are carrying unnecessary demands. We need to reduce unnecessary demands either by eliminating them or setting them aside for a more appropriate time in our lives. In that way, we will not feel so weighed down, and we will have increased capacity to carry our necessary demands and fulfill them with greater success.

There is another important thing that we can do to find the balance we need. Not only can we reduce unnecessary demands; we can also increase our resources. What are the desired resources that we want in order to meet the demands that we have? Are they available? How can we enlist them? Sometimes, this is as simple as asking someone else for help or giving ourselves time for a restful reprieve. Sometimes, this may require some active learning and hard work, so that we build a new reservoir of available resources in newly gained knowledge and ability. Of course, if this is the case, then we do need to set aside other demands for later, or enlist others for help with those demands, or to allow them the privilege of carrying them for a time.

We need to remember that we all need renewal. The Lord knew that. He gave us the Sabbath day for that. What a great resource. We can set aside many of our particularly draining demands for one day in every week and refuel ourselves. Then we can meet those demands with the promise that we will always have His spirit to be with us if we always remember Him. The very faith that we actively engage in on the Sabbath day provides us with rich renewal and should be considered as a most valuable and incomparable resource. As we sing hymns together, pray and worship, teach, instruct, discuss, and learn, we are strengthened and renewed to meet the challenges of the week.

And then there is the Gift of the Atonement. As we seek the Lord’s approval, acceptance, and forgiveness through the covenants we renew in partaking of the Sacrament, we can be forgiven of our sins and blessed with his Spirit. In other words, He will help us carry our burdens and lighten our loads; our demands will not feel so heavy because He is by our side as our most valuable resource.

Balance is important. Anyone who has ridden a bicycle knows that. And balance takes a certain amount of vigilance or steadfastness. Steadiness in our life will help us to feel calmer and more in control. As we work to achieve the balance that is necessary in our lives, we will see that we are becoming more constant people with emotions that are kept in check, instead of having highs that are too high and lows that are too low. As we seek to manage both our demands and our resources, we will find that we are far better equipped to serve the Lord, to serve our fellowmen, and to feel greater peace and joy in our lives. 

This post was inspired by President and Sister Dixon as they taught in a Zone Conference in San Bernardino, California, for the Latter-day Saint Missionaries who are serving there on 22 November 2016. 

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