When we are anchored to social mirrors and models, we empower circumstances to guide and control us. We become reactive rather than proactive; we reflect what happens to us, we respond to external conditions and stimuli rather than choose our own responses or to cause things to happen.
The latter is the course that is in line with the scriptures, which teach us that we were made to act and not to be acted upon. (See 2 Nephi 2: 14; D& C 93: 30.) Because of a lack of wisdom (of accurate maps), our reactions will often tend to be either overreactive or underreactive instead of appropriately proactive. A proactive stance means that we act on the basis of our own decisions and values and not of our external conditions or internal moods.
To put it in another way, we subordinate feeling to values (i. e., to higher feelings, to commitments). One very common reactive pattern is to live in compartments. In that case one’s behavior is based largely on the role expectations in each compartment—father, mother, leader, teacher, Church worker, lawyer, doctor, public official, carpenter, salesman, assembly-line worker, upholsterer, researcher, and so on. But each of these compartments carries its own value system, in which case the person may find himself meeting different expectations and living by differing values based on the role or the environment he is in at any particular time.
A life centered on God, on the other hand, brings him permanently into one’s life with his unchanging value system and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This approach makes all of life sacred.
It is like a spiritual umbrella which integrates and fuses every compartment of life into a unified whole.
Even so-called secular activities, when viewed in this way, are made sacred. No other center is capable of forming a solid security base through a true map of one’s worth. No other center is constantly present to guide us to true wisdom and ultimate power. After Nephi, the son of Helaman, had thoroughly proved himself trustworthy, the Lord assured the prophet of His unconditional trust in him in the following powerful language:
Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.
And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will. Behold, thou art Nephi, and I am God. Behold, I declare it unto thee in the presence of mine angels, that ye shall have power over this people, and shall smite the earth with famine, and with pestilence, and destruction, according to the wickedness of this people. Behold, I give unto you power, that whatsoever ye shall seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; and thus shall ye have power among this people. (Helaman 10: 4-7.)
What security, guidance, wisdom, power!
The Divine Center, Stephen R. Covey, pg. 177