As I’m writing this, part of the United States is cleaning up after three monster hurricanes, another part is assessing the damage of huge forest fires, and yet another area has been experiencing swarms of unsettling earthquakes. Aside from natural disasters, we’ve also had the horrific event of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. Even if we could possibly wrap our heads around all that, we would still have the most politically charged atmosphere of my lifetime to try to figure out.
That’s only what is happening in my little part of the world. Poverty, hunger, floods, fires, refugee camps, human trafficking, and testing of nuclear weapons are only a few of the things going on around the world. Daunting, isn’t it? Reason for fear?
Intellectually speaking, any one of these things individually would give us valid reasons for fear. Yet, our spiritual leaders have consistently told us not to be afraid.
[L]et us set aside our fears and live instead with joy, humility, hope, and a bold confidence that the Lord is with us.
Christ’s perfect love allows us to walk with humility, dignity, and a bold confidence as followers of our beloved Savior. Christ’s perfect love gives us the confidence to press through our fears and place our complete trust in the power and goodness of our Heavenly Father and of His Son, Jesus Christ.
In our homes, in our places of business, in our Church callings, in our hearts, let us replace fear with Christ’s perfect love. Christ’s love will replace fear with faith! (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear,” Apr. 2017 General Conference.)
President Uchtdorf taught that we are to know the signs of the times and to look forward to the Savior’s return and prepare the world to receive Him. He encourages us to replace fear with faith.
How do we do that? This is something I’ve thought a lot about since last April’s General Conference. Every time I get stressed about what is going on around me, I go back to President Uchtdorf’s remarks. For a while, I tried reading between the lines. I kept trying to find deeper meaning in his words. I thought somewhere buried deep in his words there was some hidden magic formula for stress reduction and keeping my family insulated from harm. His words seemed too simple.
He must be speaking in some code I had to unlock. I was wrong. The answer truly is as simple as it sounded when he spoke the words. Trust in the Lord. Have faith that Heavenly Father knows us and loves us. Have faith that there is a plan and that it will be followed through to the end for our benefit. We’ve been told how it all ends. Now we just have to let the plan unfold and trust in God.
Are we living up to our commitments? Are we making and living our covenants? Are we proper disciples of Jesus Christ? Are we defending the faith? Are we speaking out for truth and righteousness—even when we are in the minority? Are we standing up to persecution, or are we shrinking into a corner? These are some of the questions we need to constantly ask ourselves. As fast as things are happening, it’s almost like a daily check. Yearly analysis of our goals doesn’t cut it anymore. We need goal setting to be much more spiritual in nature than it was in the past, with a daily check of our progress.
Recently, an old high school classmate from 45 years ago posted on social media that a large family was boarding an airplane with her, and she was so disgusted that she had to share the flight with them. Others commented on the post that they must either be Mormons or Catholics. One person went so far as to say how disgusting it was that they had all those children in such an over-populated world.
I didn’t know this classmate that well 45 years ago, have not seen her since graduation, and I only connected with her recently on social media. I didn’t want to offend anyone, so it was tempting to just ignore it. I scrolled past—then I scrolled back up. I felt I just couldn’t in good conscience pass up the opportunity to teach—even if they were probably not willing to listen.
My comment was brief and positive. I said that I loved to see families traveling together. The children learn more from those family outings than they ever would learn in school. I said that seeing lovely families sharing good times together gave me hope for the future generation.
There was silence for a while on the post, then an amazing thing happened. Several people “liked” my comment on the post. These people had remained silent until I spoke out, but after I made my comments, they had just enough courage to hit that little “like” button. I’m sure I irritated a few people, and I may very well eventually have to defend myself and motherhood on that post—but that’s okay. I will defend myself as graciously as possible, and I won’t take offense if someone gets nasty.
It will be worth the effort because I have shown the silent ones who quietly “liked” my comments how to stand for truth and righteousness. Maybe next time around, one of them will think about it and have the courage to speak out.
Replacing fear with faith can be as easy as standing up for truth and righteousness in a single post on social media. Baby steps. We may not be in a position to help flood or fire victims. We may not be able to go to a refugee camp and provide medical services. We may not be able to comfort children living in poverty in other lands.
We can, however, live our covenants. We can take on the name of Christ and then love others as Christ loves them. We can stand up in social media and say, “Hey, guys, there’s a better way.” We can point out truth and light when darkness starts to spread. That’s how we replace fear with faith.
With so many appropriate and inspired uses of technology, let us use it to teach, inspire, and lift ourselves and to encourage others to become their finest—rather than to portray our idealized virtual selves (Elder Gary E. Stevenson, “Spiritual Eclipse,” Oct. 2017 General Conference).
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.