Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

"Discipleship is the pursuit of holiness and happiness. The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don't really matter or determine our happiness. We do matter. We determine our happiness. You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness."
- President Dieter F. Uctdorf -

In this life we are on the pursuit for happiness. We all desire happiness. There are many people in this world that believe that money, cars, fame, and houses are the true generators of happiness. But those things bring short term enjoyment and we know that it can often only last a moment or two. True happiness comes from following the One who was chosen to lead us back to our Heavenly Father.

"The world changes people from the outside in, while the gospel of Jesus Christ changes people from the inside out."  
- President Ezra Taft Benson -

I consider myself to be a happy person. I don't think it's because everything in my life is perfect, because it's definitely not. I attribute my personal happiness to the decisions I make daily to follow my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that with those decisions I make in my life come the blessings from heaven. I am so grateful and so happy to know where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going. I know that Heavenly Father wants us all to be happy. Happiness is a choice; it is our outlook on life that can change how we feel, but more importantly how we live.

It is my testimony that many of the deepest regrets of tomorrow can be prevented by following the Savior today. If we have sinned or made mistakes—if we have made choices that we now regret—there is the precious gift of Christ’s Atonement, through which we can be forgiven. We cannot go back in time and change the past, but we can repent. The Savior can wipe away our tears of regret and remove the burden of our sins. His Atonement allows us to leave the past behind and move forward with clean hands, a pure heart, and a determination to do better and especially to become better.

On my mission I have seen a lot of happy people and a lot of unhappy people. I believe one of the main reasons for unhappiness in this world is lack of knowledge about who we really are. There are so many people that are lost and don't know who they are. There was a man that we taught this last week named Nick that told us that he just felt so lost and so dark in his life. He was haunted by his past and desired to feel happy. He wanted to escape the darkness and enter into the light. He wanted to feel joy, peace, and happiness in his life. We explained to him that it was through prayer and through learning more about God and Jesus Christ that he could escape the darkness. I remember telling him that Jesus Christ liberates us from feelings of sadness, sorrow, and darkness; that we can experience happiness by keeping the commandments God has given us and through repentance.

Many are led away from God and Jesus Christ by the things of this world, but we are all children of God and He loves us. We all have been given gifts and we all have divine potential. The ultimate test is whether we will follow Jesus Christ. If we do that in this life we are promised the purest and truest happiness that will last not only in this lifetime, but in the life to come.

"We shouldn't wait to be happy until we reach some future point, only to discover that happiness was available all the time!"

We all CAN be happy! It is a choice to be happy and I know that it is so much easier to be happy when we are choosing the right. We feel that we are coming closer to our Heavenly Father through our daily actions and choices. We are ALL on the pursuit of happiness. I know that I am helping many of God's children get on that path that leads to eternal life. I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is His Son. As we enter year 2013, I invite you all to to pursue happiness by following the example of Jesus Christ in your lives. I promise you that as you change, create meaningful goals, and fulfill those goals, you will see the blessings from heaven. I am so grateful for my mission and for my family. I am excited for year 2013! I'm on the pursuit of happiness!

Los Quiero,

Elder Spencer Vance

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