Julie Valentine, associate dean of the College of Nursing, delivered Tuesday’s devotional address. She spoke on the noble responsibilities and duties each child of God has.
This topic first caught Valentine’s interest when she served in her ward’s Young Women’s presidency. As she hadn't joined the Church until her 20s and had not attended Young Women's herself, Valentine decided to work her way through the Personal Progress program alongside the teenage girls she was serving.
As she read the “Welcome” section of her Personal Progress book, a sentence struck her with great force “You have a noble responsibility to use your strength and influence for good.”
This message has guided Valentine’s personal philosophies for decades, and she believes it’s a useful message for everyone, not just young women.
Noble responsibility “The word ‘noble,’” said Valentine, “describes you and me. As a child of God, you are a noble entity.”
Having a noble birthright entails royal responsibilities. One of which, said Valentine, is to love our neighbors, and not just our convenient or usual neighbors.
“Our neighbors must also include individuals not in our circle, those who may be facing discrimination or feelings of not belonging: minorities, individuals who identify as LGBTQ, individuals with disabilities, the homeless,” insisted Valentine.
Strength and influence Divine strength is accessible, said Valentine: “The Lord wants us to be strong to carry out our noble responsibilities, so He stands ready to strengthen us.”
Valentine then told a story from her youth about girls that taught her about strength through their peacemaking skills.
“Their actions as 13-year-old girls,” revealed Valentine, “influenced my decision to be baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
“We influence others every day in small and simple ways. Don’t ever believe that you do not have a profound impact or influence in this world," Valentine said.
For good We can exercise our agency to make righteous decisions.
“When we consider what is meant by ‘for good,’ we get to choose," Valentine said.
One way we can make the best decisions is by prioritizing choices according to our phase of life. Reciting Ecclesiastes 3:1, Valentine stated that “there is a season and a time to every purpose.” Thus, there are certain parts of life where choices to learn, forgive or nurture are more important.
Valentine discovered her “for good” through providing nursing care for individuals impacted by sexual violence.
Her career experiences and research have taught her many lessons about trauma and sadness but also resilience, altruism and beauty. She urged students to ponder upon their potential “for good.”
“You also have a noble responsibility to use your strength and influence for good … Be intentional in choosing your priorities, actions and goals.”
As we rely on our noble birthright and use heaven’s strength to influence others for good, we will receive “all that the Father hath.”
“The Lord will be right there by your side to strengthen you,” Valentine ensured. “Always remember that the world and the Lord need you.”
Next devotional: Gilbert W. Fellingham, professor of statistics at BYU, will deliver the next devotional address on Tuesday, November 9, at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center.
Fellingham’s remarks will also be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio 107.9 FM and SiriusXM 143.