Back in the days when visiting teaching was intended to be ministering but wasn’t yet called ministering, I was paired with a young female convert to the church. She mentioned during one of our ministering visits something that has stayed with me all the years since.

Concerning the choices we make as we go about living our lives, she said before she decided to engage in something and to determine if it was worth her time or not, she would simply ask herself, “Will it love me back?” Over the years, I have found this standard of love question to be both practical and simply brilliant. It’s a separator phrase. Asking it separates the good from the bad and even better and more helpful, the good from the best.

I have found that love you back sort of things (like spending cell phone free time with spouse and/or family, choosing to be friends with an underdog, getting your nose in the scriptures, spearheading a service opportunity, giving away a Book of Mormon, finding God in a quiet place, beautifying a corner of earth, really listening, inviting a friend to worship with you, pausing to pick a flower, scaling a mountain and appreciating the wonder of God’s handiwork, developing a talent, deciding to forgive an offense, taking a long “count my blessings” walk, overcoming a bad habit, really working at praying, meditating, planting a seed, biting your tongue when you would rather lash out, letting someone merge in congested traffic, and reading inspired and inspiring literature) usually don’t take very long to start throwing back the love vibes! And if they do take a while, the purifying process makes you a more fitting recipient when the love starts rushing back.

 “Will it love me back?” It’s a good question. And not just for potential lovers.