January 2010 Visiting Teaching Message

Becoming Self-Reliant

What Is Self-Reliance?

Sister Beck answers this question – it is quoted in the message. I think that her comment is wonderful, and I would like to break it up into parts, as I think that each of her points are very good.

” ‘Self-reliance means using all of our blessings from Heavenly Father to care for ourselves and our families and to find solutions to our own problems.’ “

  • We have been given blessings from Heavenly Father that will help us to live successful lives. It makes me think of the scripture, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” – 1 Nephi 3:7
  • We need to find solutions to our own problems. We can’t expect to be “bailed out” every time we get into trouble. Of course, the Lord does help us, but only if we work hard. Nephi’s example is wonderful. When he went to get the plates, he used all of his faculties to obtain them. He tried to ask for the plates. He tried to trade for the plates. He finally, went into the city of Jerusalem armed only with “the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do,” (See 1 Nephi 4:6). Nephi understood the balance between receiving blessings from Heavenly Father and finding his own solution to his problem.
  • Sometimes, I’m overly dependent. I’ll think, O, Lord, Please just get me out of this situation. I erroneously expect to be miraculously saved from every difficulty in my life. But that is not how the Lord works. He does help us along, he does bless us, but we also have to be willing to do our own work. He wants to teach us how strong we are. This is why we need to learn to be self-reliant – depending on the Lord’s grace only after we have given sufficient work to qualify for it.

“Each of us has a responsibility to try to avoid problems before they happen and learn to overcome challenges when they occur. . . .”

  • Self-Reliance is such a practical principle. If we are obeying the commandments, working hard, and making good choices, then we will avoid many problems. So many people face trials that are consequences of bad decisions.
  • Of course, we’re human. We are bound to make mistakes and then suffer the consequence. Sometimes we must deal with the difficulties caused by the mistakes of others. Either way, we will face problems in our lives, so we should get prepared.

“How do we become self reliant? We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy;”

  • I have had the unthinkable happen in my life. I found myself in a situation where I no longer had an income or a companion. I’m grateful that I had spent time obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. It gave me both the skills and the confidence I needed to proceed in my time of trial.
  • Go to the Lord so you can receive direction on the way to prepare and obtain practical knowledge. It is sometimes good to have a plan. I feel like the Lord will help us on this if we ask Him.

by managing money and resources wisely,”

  • Given the current economic situation of the entire WORLD, this one is easy to see now.
  • We can be self-reliant by making a budget and sticking to it!
  • Determine what our wants and needs are.
  • Prioritize and plan the budget.
  • Be grateful for the blessings you have – rather than the things you lack.

“being spiritually strong,”

  • Many of the trials we face will also try our faith. Some cool symbols to think about:
    • Hold fast to the Iron Rod – if we are doing this before hand, we will be prepared when the mists of darkness surround us.
    • Fill our spiritual lamps. We will need enough “oil” to make it through the long night.

“preparing for emergencies and eventualities;”

  • Eventualities I have an apt example. My mom has a Volkswagen van that she bought in 1985. When it was purchased, my parents paid for it with cash. Over the years, it has driven many thousands of miles. The engine has been rebuilt; the transmission has been replaced; every part of it has been repaired. The van is now old, and my mom’s trusty car mechanic has informed her that he will no longer work on it. She needs to buy a new car. When she told me this, I said, “I told you that you should have done this years ago.” She replied, “Yes, Catania, but then I’ll have to have a car payment.” I was shocked. The van is 25 years old. I said to my mom, “Yeah, but you knew this day would be coming. Why did you wait this long?”
  • Sometimes we’ll face emergencies that require our attention. But there are also things that will happen eventually (retirement, sickness, marriages, emergencies). Prepare for them!

and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being.” – Julie B. Beck

  • We may avoid some trials if we take good care of our bodies.
  • Staying physically active provides a good relief from daily stress that takes a toll on our minds, bodies, and spirits.
  • Our friends can often be a support to us, so we should nurture those relationships.
  • Emotional strength may be the last asset we have when we face certain trials. Gain this by remaining grateful and positive.
  • We can also strengthen ourselves emotionally as we go to the Lord, and learn to trust in His plan and perspective.

This is a long blog post, I know. But I’m grateful to have taken the time to read the message and post a few of the things I’ve learned. I hope that they are a help to you, too.

I know that it is important to learn to be self-reliant. When we prepare and learn to live in such a way that we learn to be reliant on ourselves – rather than other people, then the Lord blesses us with confidence and a sense of empowerment. This kind of confidence is often what will help us to endure the many trials of life. I hope that throughout this month and year, I will learn to be more self-reliant – in every area of my life.

How have you become more self reliant? Do you have a testimony in this principle? If so, please feel free to comment.


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