“Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, Nov. 2000, 16
Realize you may not be able to do everything you would like.
Make sure you set aside time for the things that are the highest priority, like prayer, scriptures, time with family, and Church meetings.
Ask your parents for guidance.
Remember you don’t have to schedule every minute of your life.
You don’t have to accomplish every goal you have at once.
Pray for strength.
The 13th Article of Faith states that “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” From this we can conclude that time here on the earth is a precious gift, meant to be used in the pursuit of things that are right and good. But we should never feel that we are to pursue all good things all by ourselves all the time. It would be virtually impossible for us to participate in every worthwhile activity and experience we are offered. And while occasional stress is simply a part of life, the Lord didn’t intend for His children to feel pressure and stress at all times. In fact, we are intended to experience joy (see 2 Ne. 2:25)—something that’s hard to do with a cloud of stress-induced worry following you around.
So it is part of our test to do our best to accomplish all the things we are asked to do, as well as many of the things we desire to do, without burning out. Finding a balance that’s comfortable is a highly personal matter; what’s right for you can be very different from what’s right for someone else. Because our natural gifts, abilities, and personalities vary, one person may be capable of handling a schedule that would overwhelm another.
The Lord has given us some counsel on how to make decisions about spending our time and energy. One of the most powerful principles available to us is faith in Jesus Christ. When you are presented with situations that seem too difficult, pray for the strength you need. If it is the Lord’s will, you will be able to do it.
Second, you need to realize that you may not be able to do everything you would like to do. If your schedule is stressing you out, you may need to eliminate some things, perhaps even some worthwhile activities. Always make sure you have adequate time to pray, read your scriptures, spend time with your family, and attend church. School should also rank high on your list of important activities. After that, you have a certain amount of discretionary time to spend. But remember, it might not be possible to be the star of the football team, the editor of the school paper, and a model employee at your after-school job. If you are feeling unsure about your decisions, talk to your parents and get their advice.
Third, remember that not every minute of your life must be scheduled. Often, these unplanned times are perfect for pondering a scripture you’ve read, evaluating the direction your life is taking, or enjoying time with a family member. If you want to hear the still, small voice, you have to allow enough quiet time in your life that you can hear it.
Finally, remember that you don’t have to accomplish every goal you have all at once. Developing the spiritual strength you need to meet the challenges of life involves patience and the ability to pace yourself. Always remember that “if ye shall be obedient to the commandments, and endure to the end, ye shall be saved at the last day” (1 Ne. 22:31).
In my home, my dad gives us all a father’s blessing at the beginning of each school year. This blessing really helps me to handle the stress of everyday life. Also, when I pray, I no longer ask that I won’t have any stress; that’s unrealistic. Instead, I ask that I might be able to handle the things I’m faced with.
Elisa Findlay, 16
Stress is a normal part of life for most people. Try to identify the things that cause you the most stress, and then come up with ways to deal with them. Also, take some time out to relax or get some exercise to deal with stress.
Elder Tarkuo Wolfgang Useah
Nigeria Port Harcourt Mission
Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” I have found that when I apply this scripture by saying my prayers and reading my scriptures daily, my life is less stressful and I am able to fulfill my responsibilities.
Kristina Powell, 17
I know exactly how you feel! I have many responsibilities, but I get through them with the help of my family and my Heavenly Father. I consistently let my family know that I love them, which helps me grow stronger as a person. Also, I make sure I pray for guidance, strength, and a strong backbone to help me bear the weight of this wonderful, yet challenging, life.
Stephanie Greer, 15