"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
November 26, 2014
Peaceful Hastening
by Kathryn Grant

Hasten the work” has become the watch-cry of our day as we prepare for the Lord’s Second Coming. “Behold,” said the Lord, “I will hasten my work in its time.” (D&C 88:73; cf Isaiah 60:22.)

So I wasn’t really surprised that our recent stake conference centered on this theme. But I was caught off-guard by the mixed feelings I had in reaction. On one hand, I felt the thrill of being part of the latter-day drama, and I wanted to rise to the challenge. On the other hand, I was hit by a wave of exhaustion.

Like many fellow Saints, I’d already been pushing myself hard for what seemed like ages. Family responsibilities, work, Church callings, volunteer opportunities, family history, emergency preparedness and more constantly made for an overflowing schedule.

I thought, I don’t know how I could be hastening much more than I already am! In fact, lately I’d felt like I was living the trash compactor scene from the original Star Wars movie with the walls closing in on me.

So I took a deep breath and a step back for perspective. I know that when we accept challenges and counsel from the Lord’s servants with faith, we find ways to fulfill them (1 Nephi 3:7).

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the question wasn’t really how I could hasten more. Instead, how could I follow this counsel and improve my approach to hastening the work? Over the next few weeks, ideas and insights came. If you’ve been living the trash compactor scene too, you might find help in some of these thoughts.

Work smarter, not harder. Applying this old adage can bring unexpected relief, almost like a pressure valve being released. My sister found that keeping an online calendar did this for her. Before, she’d always double-book things and then have to do damage control. Now she has access to her schedule from virtually anywhere. A quick check before scheduling something new has reduced a lot of the craziness in her life.

Slow down, calm down. I once watched a documentary about the military. I’ve forgotten the name of the program, but not the words of one man who described how they worked with “relaxed urgency.” There’s a lesson in that seeming oxymoron. When we’re rushed and agitated, we’re more likely to make mistakes, both with things and people. We can actually hasten more effectively if we’re calm and deliberate.

Make regular, meaningful scripture study a top priority. Have you noticed how liberal the Lord is with His returns on our investments? Pay tithing and the remaining 90% goes farther than the original 100% would have. Give service and watch blessings pour into your life beyond anything you’ve given (Luke 6:38). It’s the same with scripture study.

As a mission president, John Groberg was feeling unsettled and ineffective. Uncertain what to do, he began devoting more time to scripture study, immersing himself in the Lord’s word with renewed focus and intensity. And that made all the difference.

He received inspiration and direction that helped him use the remaining time far more effectively. Solutions became apparent and the work began moving forward with greater success. (See The Fire of Faith, chapter 19.)

Be grateful. In harried, over-full days, Ann Voskamp discovered that when she gave thanks, she got time. She wrote, “Give thanks... slow time down with all your attention — and your basket of not-enough-time multiplies into more than enough time.... The real problem of life is never a lack of time.

The real problem of life... is lack of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving creates abundance.” (See One Thousand Gifts, chapter 4.)

Listen. Listen to that true inner voice, to the promptings of the Spirit, to find and follow the Lord’s will. Though I’m far from perfect at it, I’ve found this practice to be one of the most peace-giving. Somehow, when I’m pursuing my own agenda, I struggle with time. I have an ongoing urge to fit in one more task from a long to do to list, and I stress over what’s not getting done.

But I don’t ever have the sense that the Lord is stressed as He hastens his work. Maybe that’s why, when I let go of my agenda and listen to His, the stress seems to evaporate.

The scriptures don’t say that we hasten the work, but that the Lord does. That’s a helpful distinction: we want to be on board with the way the Lord hastens His work rather than doing it our own way. In order to do that, we need to listen, to get our directions from Him.

Rely on the enabling power of the Lord’s atonement. Finally, we can never do all we need to do to hasten the Lord’s work without His help — His divine grace or enabling power. Through Him, as Elder David A. Bednar testified, we can “do and be good and ... serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.” (“The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” Ensign, April 2012.)

In her April 2014 General Women’s Session talk, Linda K. Burton encouraged us “as true disciples” to “offer our willing hearts and our helping hands to hasten His work.” As we do so in peace, our hastening becomes joyful instead of burdensome.

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About Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a user assistance professional with a passion for usability and process improvement. She also loves family history and enjoys the challenge and reward of building her family tree.

As a child, she lived outside the United States for four years because of her father's job. This experience fueled her natural love of words and language, and also taught her to appreciate other cultures.

Kathryn values gratitude, teaching, learning, differences, and unity. She loves looking at star-filled skies, reading mind-stretching books, listening to contemporary Christian music, attending the temple, and eating fresh raspberries.

Kathryn teaches Sunday family history classes at the BYU Family History Library, and presents frequently at family history events. For more information, visit her Family History Learning Resources page

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