Loreen Allphin, an associate dean in the College of Life Sciences, found solace in nature during a traumatic event in her life, and that experience taught her the power of gaining an eternal perspective from Heavenly Father's creations.
During her Tuesday devotional address at Brigham Young University, Allphin shared several valuable lessons that she has learned from the natural world. As she has learned to “lift her eyes to the hills,” she has been able to weather the many storms that have come her way.
Quoting Elder Rafael E. Pino’s talk from a 2015 General Conference, Allphin testified that, “the eternal perspective of the gospel leads us to understand the place that we occupy in God’s plan, to accept difficulties and progress through them, to make decisions and to center our lives on our divine potential.”
Grow toward the light
Allphin explained that all plants need light to make food from carbon dioxide, which is essential for their growth. This food forms the basis of food chains and provides energy for other life on Earth. Without light energy, there would be no energy to support life in the ecosystem.
As one looks around, one may notice a plant growing toward a window in a house, or another plant growing up and around a rock to acquire more light. Allphin explained that plants grow toward the light.
“Just as light is essential for life in the natural world, the light of Christ is necessary for our spiritual survival. Examples from the plant world have shown me how to actively grow toward the Light of the World.”
Allphin found that focusing on the Savior and growing closer to Him was crucial during her difficult time. She was able to find strength and overcome her struggles by directing her attention to His light and purpose.
“I made a choice to keep my focus on the Savior, every day. I consciously chose to ‘look up,’ to grow away from the sadness and darkness in my life and to bathe in the warmth of the Savior’s light.”
Remain deeply rooted in the Living Waters
Many plant species have adapted to take up water and prevent water loss, especially in deserts, Allphin taught. They root deeply to access water from deep reservoirs in the soil that do not easily evaporate. Deep roots also anchor the plant during storms and strong winds.
“Just as plants have many strategies for uptaking and maintaining water, how much effort do we put into obtaining Living Water? What are some of the strategies we can use to remain deeply rooted in Living Water?”
Some of the main strategies Allphin has found to stay deeply rooted in the Savior and His Living Water is by keeping His commandments, regularly attending the temple and partaking of the sacrament weekly. In doing these things, she has found great peace in the Savior.
“I found myself clinging on to the iron rod for dear life, partaking freely of the Living Water. I am thankful that over my life I had developed a deeply rooted testimony of the Savior, His Living Water, for it sustained me during that difficult time.”
Find effective ways to tolerate stress
Learning an important lesson from the ultimate stress tolerators, Bristlecone trees, Allphin shared that it is vital to have healthy ways to deal with stress no matter the circumstances.
Bristlecone trees live in tough conditions where it's hard for other plants to survive. Allphin said that scientists call them extremophiles because they can survive extreme cold, really dry soil, strong winds and a short growing season. They survive by “growing slowly and devoting their energy to the simple basics for survival.”
“I learned from the bristlecones that I had to simplify my life and concentrate on the basics. I focused on my relationship with God and my children first. I focused on what was most important (personal scripture study, personal prayer, family prayer, family home evening, etc.) and I let the less important things slide.”
By simplifying her life and focusing only on the most important things, Allphin had the energy she needed to weather the storm she found herself in the middle of, and drew closer to her Father in Heaven because of it.