Here in the USA, the days preceding the 4th of July are heavily dedicated to remembrance and celebration of the Independence and freedoms sought and fought for since the birth of this beautiful nation. Like all patriotic holidays, it is one of my favorites. Both sides of my family have a military background, and I was raised to appreciate and honor each of the men and women who have sacrificed a piece of or their entire lives to preserve the life that I enjoy each day.
This year, with the approach of July 4th, I have been reflecting not just on the value of independence, but also the dependence in my life, that sustains me and helps me more fully appreciate the freedoms I’ve been given.
I depend on a lot of people for the joy in my life:
- My parents, for their constant love, concern, wisdom, and willingness to listen and talk with me.
- My friends, for providing wholesome distractions when I need it most
- My coworkers, for making my office a place to which I genuinely enjoy going
- My missionary friends, for providing good examples and reminding me of what matters most
- My teachers and Church leaders, for encouraging and enabling a continued study of the doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
I also depend on other things, such as:
- The beauty and wonders of nature–whether it’s the warmth of sunshine that brings a smile to my face or a majestic thunderstorm that fills me with awe, I feel so blessed to be alive
- Memories of both hard and pleasant times in my life, because it puts all my present circumstances into perspective
- A testimony of faith, obedience, and prayer: the tools that help me press forward even when I don’t fully comprehend the path ahead
Mostly, though, I have come to depend more and more on my Savior, Jesus Christ, in all that I do. He has provided clear instruction for obtaining and maintaining a sense of purpose and peace. He has demonstrated that the way to true freedom is through obedience to the Laws of the Gospel (see 2 Nephi 2:26-29). He is the most constant and unwavering of any friend. He understands perfectly my thoughts, feelings, questions, and concerns. He imparts strength and courage to face my fears. He is always there.
I’m grateful that this Pre-Independence Day is a Sunday, the day of the Sabbath of our Lord. It’s a beautiful opportunity to me to reflect on the true source of freedom and joy, the One on whom I can always depend, and express my gratitude and love for Him as well.