Self-Reliance Is Developing Our Individual Capacities to Meet Our Own Spiritual and Temporal Needs
There is deep growth and personal development awaiting us as we try to pattern our life after our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
We each have differing talents, resources, and circumstances. Our leaders encourage us to periodically take stock in six basic areas dealing with self-reliance: education and literacy, health, employment, home storage, resource management, and social, emotional, and spiritual strength. The welfare booklet Providing in the Lord’s Way: A Leader’s Guide to Welfare (1990, item no. 32296) outlines what we should achieve in these respective areas of our lives. Pick one or two areas that seem the most important for your particular situation. Set goals, yet allow yourself to progress in small steps. For instance, if food storage is your need, you could buy just one extra can of food each week. If saving is your need, you could start by saving a few dollars each pay period. If debt is your challenge, you could begin by progressively paying off one creditor, then another, without incurring additional debt. If physical exercise is your need, you could begin by exercising two or three times a week. If enhancing employment skills is your need, you could set aside a few hours a week to take a class that increases job-related skills. If spiritual strength is your need, you could start by studying the scriptures more diligently, praying more fervently, or serving more earnestly. If we keep up the effort, our momentum increases and we take steps in other areas where improvement may be needed as well.
In other words, far from being cause for alarm or extremism, Church leaders’ teachings regarding self-reliance encourage a way of life. We achieve it by applying fundamental principles of the gospel. But to establish ourselves as self-reliant, we don’t simply respond to occasional pricks of conscience. Rather, we adopt whole new attitudes and patterns of behavior for our lives. In the broad perspective, seeking to become or to remain self-reliant is a lifelong endeavor, yet the Lord will prosper our individual efforts as we keep working at it. (Keith McMullin in a Conversation on Self-Reliance)