I love the third item that President Benson focuses on in this article. It's huge. Life changing even.
"To lose yourself in righteous service to others can lift your sights and get your mind off personal problems, or at least put them in proper focus."
Perspective is huge when it comes to depression, but it requires something deeper than just knowing there are so many things great in life/others are suffering tremendously/a more eternal view, etc. Knowing and feeling are two very different things. And it seems it requires faith to get to work serving before those deep feelings of truth are realized and spirits are lifted; at least in my case.
Giving of oneself to service and sacrificing one's desires or needs for someone else's is a prime way to lift the spirit. Though it seems to be precisely opposite of what we hear from the world.
"Take care of you first or you won't have any to give anyone else."
"You have to put yourself at the top of your priority list."
"You can't draw water from an empty well."
Logically, that makes complete sense. If I don't take care of my needs or satisfy even small desires where would I find the strength to keep working?
But spiritually, it doesn't work that way. I do need to care for myself and make sure there's "water in the well" so I can be what my family needs me to be. But that's not supposed to be first on the priority list. We are happiest, we are most at peace, we are most fulfilled, we are most complete- when we forget about ourselves and serve others.
I've written about this phenomenon before. Concentrating on how it pertains to motherhood.
I'm going to be filled with more joy even if I haven't been able to shower yet, or eat breakfast yet, or get out to dinner with some girlfriends in months, or have had any time alone in two weeks because I am (trying to the best of my ability) focusing on something outside of myself.
Something bigger than I am.
Taking the focus off of ourselves is so freeing, so uplifting. It helps me feel that I am part of something beautiful. That I do have the capability to submit my will to my Father's. That I can be an instrument in his hands.
And a sweet perk: I end up being take care of any way! Whether by finding time to do something me oriented, or my husband doing something for me, or Heavenly Father sustaining me, etc. And never underestimate the power of an "I luhz oo" from a little mouth. A beautiful aspect of families. If we're all focused on serving each other, everyone gets taken care of! (more on that in a couple weeks:))
President Benson says it best: "A woman whose life is involved in the righteous rearing of her children has a better chance of keeping up her spirits than the woman whose total concern is centered in her own personal problems."
Has service helped lift you? Will you share with me?