Balm of Gilead by Boyd K. Packer

I would love to hear your takeaways from this talk.  How do you think it applies to this weeks topic?  I will update this post with my thoughts a little later today.

Watch it here:

Read it here:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1977/10/the-balm-of-gilead?lang=eng&cid=email-shared

My primary thought as I read this talk was, “Wow!  Our minds are such powerful things.  The things we allow ourselves to dwell on really do have a profound effect on our level of happiness and amount of our productiveness and progress.”

President Packer’s message is one of hope and comfort and it is offered to all, because let’s admit it, we all fall into at least one of those categories he listed at some point during our lives… worried, restless, anxious, disappointed, grief stricken, or bitter… heck, I think it is a rare day that I don’t experience at least one of those sometime during the day.

These feelings come from many different sources.  Sometimes the source is me and my own mistakes or stupid choices.  Sometimes I feel like others have caused them.  And sometimes life is just stressful!  But as I pondered on this talk I realized that no matter where they come from, I am the one that determines the amount of time they are going to effect my thoughts and attitude.  I have the ability and the responsibility to put my thoughts in their place.  I have the ability to flip the switch, to choose to put a different thought on the center stage of my mind.  And though it is my responsibility to do so, sometimes it is beyond my ability to do it, WITHOUT HELP.

And THIS is where our Savior comes in.  Through the power of His atonement and activated by our prayers of asking, He can help us overcome those things our mind wants to go back to over and over again.  He and He alone can give us that peace when we cannot get there ourselves.  I’m not saying that it will be easy, because it is not.  But He can teach us how to be free from these chains if we will go to Him and then make a place in our lives and in our hearts for the answers.

There was a particularly stressful time in my life when everything seemed to be falling apart. As President Packer put it, I was spiritually sick. All I wanted to do was think about the mess I was in, and even though I logically knew it was going to take a long time to sort it out and that the timeline was not in my control, I really wanted to control it.  I wanted to think on it and stew on it, even though I knew that would not be productive.  When I finally realized this was going to take over my complete day and lead into weeks and then months of time that I would be giving it, I knew something had to change. I did not want my mind to be the corner lot full of weeds and garbage that President Packer mentioned in his talk.  As he said, “I (did) not want anything coming into my mind that (did) not have some useful purpose of some value that makes it worth keeping.”

So I went to the Lord and asked for help.  And He did help me. Soon I was impressed with ideas and activities that would be a better use of my time.  I began to study the scriptures voraciously as well as take some classes.  Then I would spend my spare time thinking about the things I was learning.  I began to serve my family and my friends with an conscious effort.  I created projects for myself that I knew would be appreciated by them and keep me and my mind busy.  And because I had asked for help, I started to notice that I was given an acute awareness when my mind would start to stray to those waste places of unproductivity. When that happened I would quite literally I say to myself, “Nope! Not going there!” Then I would choose a different thing to ponder on.  It was a choice and I had to make it.  It was so hard at first! Just like President Packer said, “I had to evict some thoughts a hundred times before they would stay out.” And I know I was only successful because I “put something edifying in their place.” I couldn’t have done it otherwise.

I readily acknowledge I could not have gotten to that point on my own.  My human nature would have allowed me to continue to spiral into anxiousness, worry, and discouragement.  Instead, I can look back on that time as a time of great learning and growth.  It is a time I treasure because through it I became a better me. Christ and His ability to help me guide my thoughts to better paths truly was a balm of Gilead to me!

I love President Packer’s challenge and I issue the same one to you, dear reader, “If you have festering sores, a grudge, some bitterness, disappointment, or jealousy, get hold of yourself.  You may not be able to control thing out there with others, but you can control things here, inside of you.”  Let Christ be your balm of Gilead and let go of those things.  Don’t give them any of the valuable realestate of your mind!  Don’t give them any more of your time or your energy.  Use that powerful medicine of prayer and the scriptures to evict any negativity from your mind and take back your precious property!  As you do you will come to realize the promise given by President Packer, “It will then be as though a cloudy, dirty film has been erased from the world around you: and though the problem may remain, the sun will come out.  The beam will have been lifted from your eyes.  There will come a peace that surpasseth understanding.”

Our Savior said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  He gives us this commandment and He is The Way to fulfill it as well!  He is the Balm of Gilead!