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It’s impossible to get to every class at BYU Education Week, but here are a few motivational thoughts: 

1. Heaven is not as distant as it may seem.

When Heaven Feels Distant: Principles and Practices for Connecting with God
Tyler J. Griffin

When heaven feels distant, we usually feel like we are not getting all the answers or reasons we want. We often don’t know the what, how and why of a trial, but the scriptures are full of examples where those answers aren’t required. Instead, what is required is our trust in God. It’s OK to not understand. Admitting that you do not understand does not mean that you are admitting to faithlessness, hopelessness, mistrust of God, ignorance or stupidity.

“God loves you more than your ease or comfort,” Griffin said. “God lets things happen that will build character and teach lessons. Christ is our greatest example of complete submissiveness and faith in God during times when God feels distant. Go to God, bow to Him, and plead in submissive faith for your desires, and look for God’s hand in your life.”

 

2. Prayer opens the windows of heaven.

Getting Meaningful Answers for Your Life–To Bless You, Your Family, and Others
Diane Bills Prince

Here are five ways to have meaningful prayers in order to receive blessings 

  • Pray in faith. Have childlike faith that God will answer your prayer, even though you do not know how He will.
  • Be specific in your asking. Continue to keep the commandments as you continue to plead. 
  • Believe that you will receive. It is OK to not know how God will answer your prayer. Acknowledge that to Him, and acknowledge that you still believe He can do it if it’s His will. 
  • Be humble, especially by asking for forgiveness. Repenting makes us more worthy before God. 
  • Show gratitude. Express thanks to God frequently and give God the credit. 

Prince said that the scriptures teach us to ask, seek and knock for blessings. Remember that God wants to bless you. 

 

3. Recognize and replace thoughts that otherwise keep you stuck and hopeless.

Christ-Centered Healing from Emotional Challenges
Carrie M. Wrigley 

Counselor Carrie M. Wrigley said emotional challenges are a weapon the devil uses against us. There are trigger experiences we all go through that have the potential to turn into an emotional challenge (which can lead to depression and anxiety) or can turn into a “sanctifying experience.” Our thoughts surrounding the trigger experience lead us down one path or the other. Recognize the negative thoughts the devil has been bombarding you with. Stop listening to those thoughts and don’t let it influence your mood and actions. There are three places that negativity can fester: thoughts about yourself, thoughts about your future and thoughts about the world. You’re a work in progress, you don’t have to be perfect, especially as you tackle emotional challenges. 

 

4. Thrive in the age of addiction.

Four Skills to Happiness: How to Change for Good
Joseph W. Grenny 

Addiction is anything that “reduces agency by trading short-term pleasure or relief while producing substantial long-term pain or costs,” according to Joseph Grenny. There is an addiction for every person. Some addictions aren’t as socially repugnant or illegal, so people can live with them longer. To help his own son, Grenny researched the war chapters in the Book of Mormon to understand how to help others overcome addiction and win back agency. He said that Captain Moroni’s promise is that when people do things the Lord’s way, not one soul will be lost. It was the condition of the Nephites, not the strength of the Lamanites, that predicted the outcome.

“Victory isn’t proportional to how deep the addiction is,” said Grenny. “Victory comes when we get out of God’s way and allow consequences to teach the addict.”

 

5. You can protect religious freedom without special training. 

Promoting Religious Freedom
Matthew K. Richards

Religious freedom extends beyond worship. It encompasses the rights of individuals to choose their religion, teach their faith to their children, talk about beliefs openly, gather to worship and be protected from religious discrimination. You don’t need to do something big to be involved in supporting and defending religious freedom. Discussing ideas with your family is a great way to start. You could also share positive aspects of faith on social media. Strengthen your community by getting involved with a school board or city government. ​ReligiousFreedom.lds.org has great examples and advice for handling difficult conversations about religious freedom and more ideas for getting involved.