I’ve been working on my lesson. And, once again, I’ve been struck with JOY in my heart. You know that feeling. It’s a warm glow-y, sometimes burning, kind of pulsing sensation in the chest. It’s a lightening and bright sensation in the mind. It’s quiet yet thundering, and its peaceful and exciting at the same time. You can’t deny that you are having a completely physical reaction to a spiritual confirmation.

My lesson is President Monson’s October 2012 conference talk, Consider the Blessings.

The title of this talk comes from the second paragraph. President Monson says,

“We live in a unique time in the world’s history. We are blessed with so very much. And, yet, it is sometimes difficult to view the problems and permissiveness around us and not become discouraged. I have found that, rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find greater happiness.”

Here’s what I notice about this single paragraph. President Monson does not brush away the difficulties of our age; he acknowledges that it is sometimes difficult to keep from getting discouraged. What he shares with us is what he’s found helps him to find greater happiness. I notice that he recommends instead of dwelling on the negatives around us (for example: society’s decline, moral standards dropping, etc.), we consider the blessings in our lives. I don’t think this is about burying our heads in the sand, but rather choosing our focus. Certainly what we choose to focus on is going to make a difference. And while we don’t have control over the whole of society (because others have their agency), we do retain control over our own lives and our own focus.

I also notice that he recommends that we consider “seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings” in order to find greater happiness. I think this is very wise. So many times I expect my happiness to come from big dramatic events and I forget to notice the little triumphs and blessings, like simple satisfaction from a job well done, or finding exactly what I need when I really need it, or small prayer requests answered, or having my determination renewed from the encouragement of good people, and so much more.