This past Sunday, Sister Goff presented a wonderful lesson based on a talk taken from the November 2011 Ensign that was given by Carl B. Cook of the Seventy at the October 2011 General Conference. The complete talk can be accessed online through the lds.org link: "It Is Better to Look Up," where you can read, print out, share, and listen to Carl B. Cook's message.
Sister Goff began by reading a story from the talk about an encounter that Carl B. Cook had with President Monson in the elevator of the Church Administration Building. Upon seeing Elder Cook looking somewhat overwhelmed and discouraged, President Monson advised him that, "It is better to look up!" President Monson was referring to looking toward Heaven and Heavenly Father to seek out direction in life. As we look upward, we are looking toward immortal answers as opposed to downward which is limited to mortal results.
Sister Goff then asked the RS sisters what generally keeps us from looking upward during difficult times. Some of the answers included: fear, sin, and emotional/physical pain. It was said in the talk that we must build our spiritual muscles by looking up. At first, it may be difficult, but over time our muscles will strength and it will get easier to look toward Heavenly Father for answers.
The discussion then went on to define what it means to look different directions. When we look along the same level, it indicates that we may not see change. If we look up, however, it will lead us to progress and hope. A sister added that another direction that we look may be to the side. (i.e. Comparing ourselves to others.) The ultimate judge of our actions is God, so if we want to seek approval or criticism, it is best to look up to see how we are doing as we face life's trials. Sister Goff reminded us that we are not called to serve on Earth to master the tasks presented to us, but instead to simply do our best and we shall be blessed. Another sister reminded us that is also important to never look back at the past. The sins and poor choices from before could be holding you down from looking upward.
Overall, it is important to focus and hear what is important. Don't let the distractions of life keep you from losing focus on the eternal perspective. Ways we can look up include: prayer, reading scriptures, acts of service, listening to and following the guidance from church leaders, and doing temple work. If we continue to look up as President Monson and Elder Cook advise, we can be healed from the experiences that weigh us down.
Thank you to Sister Goff for presenting such a great lesson and for all the sisters who brought the spirit to our meeting through sharing their personal insights, which made the lesson even better! We pray that the sisters who were not able to be in attendance this Sunday will make it to our future meetings.