Monday, March 14, 2011

Sustain Life, Not Lifestyle: Self-Reliance, part 1

Camping at the Beach
Preparing to give a fifth Sunday lesson on organizing food storage, I studied and was inspired by the 2009 Welfare Training found at  Here can be found the essential information we all need to know.  Brother Robert D. Hales said that provident living means not coveting the things of this world.  It means using the resources of the earth wisely and not being wasteful, even in times of plenty.  Provident living means avoiding excessive debt and being content with what we have.  (Much of this is a synopsis of my notes from this training, particularly Hales and Beck's talks).

It is important to understand that self-reliance is a means to an end.  Our ultimate goal is to become like the Savior, and that goal is enhanced by our unselfish service to others.  Our ability to serve is increased or diminished by the level of our self-reliance.

President Marion G. Romney once said:  "Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves.  Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse.  Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved.  Teaching cannot come from the unlearned.  And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak" (Ensign, Nov. 1982, 93).

If necessary, we should change our lifestyle--and possibly our place of residence--to live within our means.  We should willingly seek additional training and learn new skills, regardless of our age.  Maintain our health and stay close to our spouse and children.

The presiding bishop, H. David Burton also said:  "We use the little phrase, 'sustain life but not lifestyle.'  As we sustain life, Church assistance is designed to furnish food, clothing, and appropriate shelter as well as other assistance, as determined by the bishop, needed to help the individual become self-reliant."

Individuals are expected to use any assets they have for their support and in an orderly way downsize to accommodate budget restraints.

Our family has been through tough times where it seems everything went wrong financially all at the same time.  But what we learned from adjusting is priceless:  how to actually use food storage, how to use our garden's bounty, having fun with the family on a budget (picnics and camping), purchasing large ticket items, like a car, with prudence, etc.

Above all, we learned to be grateful.  We learned to express our gratitude in our prayers, especially when times our seriously tough.  Brother John Bytheway says that when you feel least like praying, that is when it is most essential.  During the financial stress our family endured, I suffered from painful hives for six months, (even though I had never been prone to this before).  I decided to immerse myself into the scriptures--The New Testament to be exact.  I gained a testimony that:
Heavenly Father loves me.  His Son has promised, "All these things shall give [me] experience, and shall be for [my] good" (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7).

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