Jack R. Christianson, a motivational speaker, told BYU-Hawaii athletes to make sure their heart is in everything they do at the BYUH Athletics Banquet on Jan. 20 in the Aloha Center Ballroom. “I have great hope for the future because you will be the ones leading it,” said Christianson.
In his message, Christianson acknowledged how might, mind, and strength are important in life, as the scriptures say. However, he focused on the heart, pleading, “Whatever you do, do it with your heart.”
Christianson admonished, “When you learn to give your heart [to the Lord], it will change you.” He said the reason for its importance was because “marriage, obeying the commandments, and even messing up are all matters of the heart.”
Christianson also gave advice on facing adversity when plans don’t go the way they are supposed to.
He told a story of a job opportunity to become the president of a university. He said getting the job would have meant a significant pay raise, but when a relative of a general authority in the Church was hired instead, he and his wife were both very disappointed.
Christianson said a member of the First Presidency visited him and said he could understand why he might be disappointed. However, the only advice the member had was to “suck it up.” Referring to this incident, Christianson said, “It’s not about controlling your life. It’s about living happy.”
Living happy meant putting the Lord and His commandments first, said Christianson, which means making family a priority and living within our means.
For those doubting their abilities to overcome the challenges of the surprises of life, Christianson said, “Will you believe everyone that tells you that you can’t do things?”
He gave four questions every student should ask when they are planning for their futures, especially in regards to career and family life choices: What do you enjoy and what are your strengths; what are you good at; will people pay you; and how will it affect your family?
“I liked when he talked about doing what you love and enjoy,” said BYUH Spirit Team member Lauren Miller, a freshman from Arizona majoring in business. “I don’t know what I want to do, so it was great guidance on finding a direction in life.”
Christianson also spoke of how he could relate to those battling with depression due to the side effects of chemotherapy he used to combat his diagnosis of cancer several years ago. He said the side effects “are like a darkness that starts at my head and then covers my whole mind and body.”
“We all have our crosses to bare. We all, especially those with mental disorders, have to learn to think right,” he added.
Max Moncur, a sophomore from California majoring in business and member of the Cross Country team, said the speech helped because he deals with depression. “I’m not the only one who has these struggles,” he said. “It also motivated me to see the positive side of how this trial prepares me for future service to others.”
Christianson served as a mission president in Rochester, New York, where he was primarily responsible for the upkeep and operations of the Church historical sites in the area. He said these included the Sacred Grove, the Smith Family Farm, and the E. B. Grandin Building where the first copies of the Book of Mormon were published.
He recalled a discussion he had with church leader and apostle Elder Jeffrey R. Holland about the Book of Mormon. Holland told him no one loved the Book of Mormon more than he did. Christianson then claimed the same thing.
“We had a long argument about it. At the end we just decided we could agree to disagree, but here I have the last word,” Christianson said with a chuckle. “No one loves the Book of Mormon more than I do. I love the Book of Mormon so much because it has changed me.”
In conclusion of the banquet, Christianson reminded the audience to watch their actions. He said, “Your todays can bring some embarrassing tomorrows.”