Question: I’d like to do more to improve things around me, but I don’t feel there’s a lot I can do. Changing the world seems like such a huge task—how to know where to start?
Answer: The good news is you don’t need to be someone powerful or famous to make a difference. Each positive change—no matter how small—is changing the world for the better. We can change the world by improving the lives of those around us, through deeds of kindness and consideration, and by showing faith in them. Here are some practical tips to help get you started changing your part of the world, one heart at a time.
Question: I've been looking for a new job, but so far without success. If I have prayed and am doing my part, why isn't God helping me?
Answer: The way God works in our lives and the way He chooses to do things is often past our comprehension. It’s mysterious, it’s humbling, and it usually takes faith and patience. His purposes and timetable are often different from ours.
Question: I’ve been happier than ever since finding Jesus, but I still have problems and sometimes get quite down. My friends try to cheer me up and tell me to “put on my happy face,” but how can I smile and look happy when I really don’t feel that way? Wouldn’t that be hypocritical?
Answer: It is not being hypocritical to put on a happy face even when you don’t feel happy. It’s a sign of inner strength and maturity. It shows you realize that whatever is dragging you down at the moment is relatively small in the grand scope of things, and that it will pass.
Question: When there is a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane that claims many lives, some people say that God is judging those people for their sins. Does God really operate that way?
Answer: Only God knows why certain events happen to people in one country or area and not to those in another, or to certain individuals and not to others. Paul said that the judgments of God are “unsearchable, and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?”1
Question: Sometimes I feel like I’m being overcome with worries. What can I do to stop worrying so much?
Answer: Who doesn’t worry sometimes? We worry about what’s going to happen in the world. We worry about failing in school or in our work. We worry that we won’t be able to make ends meet financially. We worry about how we’re going to make up for mistakes we’ve made or opportunities we missed. We worry about our future. We worry about losing the ones we love. We worry about so many things!
Question: Does God really have a wonderful plan for my life, like I keep hearing? Often it feels more like a bumper-car ride—continually running into one obstacle after another and getting bounced in every direction.
Answer: God does have a plan for each of us, and it is one that is perfectly tailored to our unique makeup, abilities, and interests. Not only that, but He wants to let us in on that plan and work with us to bring it to pass.
Question: I’m having such a hard time keeping to my budget, even though I know that’s the key to staying out of debt. Do you have any tips?
Answer: The key to good budgeting is plugging the leaks that drain your resources—and even small leaks will drain you over time. If you’re not already doing the following things, you might want to consider them.
Live within your means. If you use credit cards, pay your monthly balances in full to avoid charges.
Question: I feel less happy than I did when I was younger. How can I regain some of the joy of life that I’ve lost?
Answer: At some point, most adults have looked at a child playing blissfully and wished they could turn back the clock. Children at play look happy, carefree, and thrilled about life. They laugh a lot, are easily entertained, and get excited about the simplest things. They have their problems and hurts too, of course, but they are resilient. Children live in the moment and generally spend more time being happy than adults. Here are a few ways you can recapture some of that childhood magic.
Question: I want to get along well with others and be liked, but often I don’t know where to begin. How can I build strong connections with people?
Answer: Here are some tips to get you started. The point is not to pretend to be something you’re not, but to make a conscious effort to cultivate qualities that will make people feel at ease and be happy to be around you.
Question: I prefer stability and routine to big changes and drama, but the latter seem inevitable. That’s unsettling. How can I learn to handle changing circumstances so they don’t rock my world so much?
Answer: You’re right; change is inevitable. In fact, life is a never-ending series of twists and turns. Growing up takes about 20 years; growing into the person God wants takes a lifetime. Helping our children through their growing pains changes us nearly as much as it does them. When those dearest to us go through upheavals, it affects us too. Relationships at every level evolve continually. Big-picture issues—the economy, politics, the environment—affect us. We can’t escape changes, but we can learn to make the most of them. Here’s how: