During a 2005 devotional for Young Adults, President (then Elder) Russell M. Nelson asked us to do some personal soul-searching. He said “Tonight you are eager and young. Most of you are students with great ambitions for the future. Now I want you to think. I want you to think about yourself, not as you are, but as you may become—50 years from now. Through your imaginary time tunnel, look at yourself as you will be then… You are finished with your career. Your working days are over—no more time clocks to punch or paychecks to collect. Are you with me?”
He continued, “Now, here are my questions: What do you see in yourself 50 years from now? What do you want to be 50 years from now? What do you really want, most of all, 50 years from now?”
President Nelson said, “When we married in the temple, we didn’t know many scriptures. But we did know Matthew 6:33: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ … that became the lodestar for every decision we made together.” (Feb. 6, 2005 • Young Adults Devotional)
In counseling, we learn that when someone has goals in their life that are in harmony with their values, there is less stress, less anxiety, fewer worries, and less depression. Their relationships with husband, wife, children, family and friends are stronger. That does not mean that there are no conflicts, but it does mean that the value of loving, caring relationships is more important than any conflict. That does not mean that there is no stress or challenges or adversity in life, but it does mean that we value how those “shall give us experience and be for our good.” (D&C 122:7).
When our decisions and actions are based on our values, it is easier to get up each morning and start the day. It is easier to pray, study, obey, exercise, create and strengthen relationships, and stand as witnesses of Jesus Christ. It is easier to recognize our individual, eternal worth and to appreciate those around us as brothers and sisters and children of God. It is easier to be patient and kind and courteous. It is easier to pursue our plans for lives of faith and good works.
President M. Russell Ballard has taught that “Wise goal setting includes the understanding that short-term goals are only effective if they lead to clearly understood longer-term goals. I believe that one important key to happiness is to learn how to set our own goals and establish our own plans within the framework of our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan. If we focus on this eternal path, we will inevitably qualify to return to His presence.”
President Ballard continues: “It is good to have goals and plans for our careers, for our education, even for our golf game. It is also important to have goals for our marriages, our families, and our Church councils and callings; this is especially true for missionaries. But our greatest and most overriding goals should fit into Heavenly Father’s eternal plan… To return to His presence and to receive the eternal blessings that come from making and keeping covenants are the most important goals we can set.” (Return and Receive, General Conference, April 2017)
In conclusion, President Nelson said, “You have a firm foundation of faith… You know what’s right and what’s wrong! You hold the line! You know the Lord’s teachings. And you will teach them to your own children and grandchildren. You are the ‘Hope of Israel, Zion’s army, Children of the promised day.’ You have far more spiritual power than we did at your age. As you go forward on life’s battlefield, you are numbered with the covenant people of the Lord, . . . scattered upon all . . . the earth; . . . armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (1 Nephi 14:14). We are very, very proud of you!”
May the Lord bless us to feel peace and find happiness as we choose wise goals that fit into His eternal plan.