Maybe you’re laying the groundwork for some New Year’s Resolutions, maybe you’re moving across the country or the world, or maybe your life is changing in a fabulous way that is nonetheless quite stressful. Whatever transition or change you’re going through, find a little inspiration here, through the words of our leaders spoken at general conference.
Nothing is as Constant as Change
“I begin by mentioning one of the most inevitable aspects of our lives here upon the earth, and that is change. At one time or another we’ve all heard some form of the familiar adage: ‘Nothing is as constant as change.’
“Throughout our lives, we must deal with change. Some changes are welcome; some are not. There are changes in our lives which are sudden, such as the unexpected passing of a loved one, an unforeseen illness, the loss of a possession we treasure. But most of the changes take place subtly and slowly. …
“Day by day, minute by minute, second by second we went from where we were to where we are now. The lives of all of us, of course, go through similar alterations and changes. The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details. Time never stands still; it must steadily march on, and with the marching come the changes.
“This is our one and only chance at mortal life—here and now. The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.”
Change Prevents Us from Becoming Root Bound
“How often in life do we set our own roots into the soil of life and become root bound? We may treat ourselves too gently and defy anyone to disturb the soil or trim back our root system. Under these conditions we too must struggle to make progress. Oh, change is hard! Change can be rough. …
“We need not feel that we must forever be what we presently are. There is a tendency to think of change as the enemy. Many of us are suspect of change and will often fight and resist it before we have even discovered what the actual effects will be. When change is thought through carefully, it can produce the most rewarding and profound experiences in life. The changes we make must fit the Lord’s purposes and patterns.”
“As opportunity for change reaches into our lives, as it always will, we must ask, ‘Where do I need development? What do I want out of life? Where do I want to go? How can I get there?’ Weighing alternatives very carefully is a much needed prerequisite as one plans changes. In God’s plan we are usually free to choose the changes we make in our lives and we are always free to choose how we will respond to the changes that come. We need not surrender our freedoms. But just as a compass is valuable to guide us out of the dense forest, so the gospel points the way as we walk the paths of life. …
“Yes, there is pain in change, but there is also great satisfaction in recognizing that progress is being achieved. Life is a series of hills and valleys and often the best growth comes in the valleys.”
Heavenly Help During Transitions
“On the night of June 20, 2000, several colleagues and I were working late in the executive offices of then Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. We were making final preparations for an unexpected and historic assembly on our campus the next morning and the announcement by President Hinckley that Ricks College would become a baccalaureate-degree-granting institution and take on the name of Brigham Young University–Idaho. As an administrative team we were just beginning to realize the monumental nature of the responsibility and challenges that were before us.
“If I thought we had to execute this transition relying exclusively upon our own experience and our own judgment, then I would be terrified. But we will have help from heaven. Because we know who is in charge and that we are not alone, … I am not scared.”
Change Reminds Us of What Matters Most
“Crisis or transition of any kind reminds us of what matters most. In the routine of life, we often take our families—our parents and children and siblings—for granted. But in times of danger and need and change, there is no question that what we care about most is our families! It will be even more so when we leave this life and enter into the spirit world. Surely the first people we will seek to find there will be father, mother, spouse, children, and siblings.”
The Relief Society Should be a Light during Times of Transition
“Anguishing, dislocating transitions are something we all face. They will be different for each of us. Serious illness or permanent malady is but one. Others may be the death of a loved one, a child or a husband; the realization that one may never marry in this life; divorce; returning home from a mission; a marriage without children; marriage of the last child; civilian life after living under military discipline; the change from Young Women to Relief Society; the change from high school to college; a move to a new location; and on and on.
“Each of these circumstances necessitates a particular mode of adaptation and requires the development of new and different ways to adjust to an altered life-style that may be challenging or painful. It is the very nature of such turning points that makes old patterns of behavior no longer adequate or appropriate.
“We should constantly prepare ourselves to meet new challenges and to helpfully, willingly, and happily reach out to others in their time of need. The Relief Society should be a light for sisters in times of transition. Officers and teachers and members should systematically concern themselves with the stresses and the distresses of transition which our sisters face.”
The Social Transition of New Members
“Simultaneously with doctrinal conversion there must be a social transition. Friends, habits, customs, and traditions not in harmony with the life of a Latter-day Saint are abandoned, replaced by new friends and activities that support a new life. Of the two important changes that must occur in a convert’s life—the gaining of a testimony, or doctrinal conversion, and learning how to live as a Latter-day Saint, or the social transition—the latter is the most difficult to achieve. It is best accomplished with the love and support of members. Your worthy example and caring support can lead them through each step required to learn to live as a Latter-day Saint.”
The Transition of Giving Up Bad Habits
“Decide to stop what you are doing that is wrong. Then search out everything in your life that feeds the habit, such as negative thoughts, unwholesome environment, and your companions in mischief. Systematically eliminate or overcome everything that contributes to that negative part of your life. Then stop the negative things permanently.
“Recognize that you’ll go through two transition periods. The first is the most difficult. You are caging the tiger that has controlled your life. It will shake the bars, growl, threaten, and cause you some disturbance. But I promise you that this period will pass. How long it takes will depend upon the severity of your transgression, the strength of your determination, and the help you seek from the Lord. But remember, as you stand firm, it will pass.
“The second period is not as intense. It is like being on ‘battle alert’ so that you can fend off any enemy attack. That, too, will pass, and you will feel more peace and will have increased control of your life. You will become free.”