"We seldom get into trouble when we speak softly. It is only when we raise our voices that the sparks fly and tiny molehills become great mountains of contention."
- - Gordon B. Hinckley
March 25, 2015
If Only You Would Seek For Good
by Amy L. Stevenson

Have you ever played this game? It’s called “If Only.” I’m sure you have played it. The rules are simple: Think of something that you don’t have and find a reason that it would make your life better if you did.

If you have spent any time with the masters of this game, you know that it is no fun. I find myself playing this game more often than I would like to admit. It’s easy. It works for things, and it works for people.

If only I could get that promotion; then I would make the money that I need, and I would get the respect of my co-workers.

If only my (insert family member or friend) would (insert action); then I would have peace and be happy.

If only it would stop raining; then I would do all of those outdoor chores that I have put off for weeks even when skies were sunny.

It is true that a promotion, or a more dedicated friend, or beautiful weather would bring some level of happiness. However, that doesn’t matter because in the game you are living in now, the winner’s circle can never be reached by following stepping stones marked with excuses, anger, and self-pity.

Your circumstances will never be perfect. There is great discontent that comes from looking beyond what you have and wishing it were another way. The problem you will find is that there are always new worries to replace the old ones, so the game never ends.

It is only when you find a way to accept things as they are that you win. I suggest following a different set of stepping stones. Those marked with gratitude, forgiveness, and self-control can lead to the winner’s circle regardless of the circumstances surrounding them.

My family enjoyed a trip we took to Yosemite last spring. It was beautiful and awe-inspiring. We had many experiences within that National Park. When we drove through the entrance it was lightly snowing. We stopped along the way to pick up icy snowballs and chuck them at the trees (and maybe each other, too).

As we descended into the valley we drove through thousands of orange-colored trees that had been burned in a previous wildfire. We admired the vista including the iconic Half Dome.

The snow on the ground disappeared as we reached the valley, and we saw great waterfalls with water that fell onto large rocks, and ran down the hill towards trickling streams. There was mud and moss, animals, and majestic trees that have stood for centuries.

When I think of how this experience relates to our lives, I enjoy a new perspective on the human world. Each of us contributes to the scenery in our own way. Each of us plays an important role. Whether our current role is as the peak of Half Dome or the moss on a rock, there is beauty in all of it.

It would do no good for a rushing river to stop flowing and complain, “If only these rocks would get out of my water; then I would be happy.” All of the energy focused on changing its circumstances would be wasted, and its splendor would be forgotten. Every rock in that river makes it what it is. Every time the water runs over or around a boulder in its path, it stays true to its purpose.

Like the river, we can choose to allow the difficulties in our lives to shape us without changing us. We can find ways around the things or people that threaten to stop us from being who we are. We can flow over negativity and circle around imperfections. We can appreciate the present and move forward.

Let’s play a different game. Let’s play, “Seeking Good.” The rules are simple: Think of something you have and find a reason it makes your life better. Become a master of this game and you will win every time.


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About Amy L. Stevenson

Amy Stevenson grew up in central California but ventured to Utah to receive a bachelor's degree in human development from Brigham Young University. She has been using her degree every day since then as a stay-at-home-mom to her son and three daughters.

She believes that parenting is more than telling children, "Be good!" It is about surrounding ourselves with good things, and then acting in a way that reflects the good we have found. She has always enjoyed discovering how people become who they are and has a blog where she shares clean, good, uplifting ideas and resources for children and families in hopes of helping them become their best selves.

Along with her husband and children she has lived in nine different cities in three states, which has taught her that people are good everywhere and there is something to learn from every experience. She and her family now live in Simi Valley, California -- and hope to stay there.

Amy serves as a ward missionary and teaches the gospel principles class.

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