The things we absolutely do need in this life can be summed up in one word: testimony.
I realized this a few weeks ago as I was driving home from work. I was trying to figure out why I was having such a good day; work was uneventful, I had nothing going on that night at home, and nothing exciting had happened to me for a while. A few months prior, I would have spent my time thinking about how boring my life was, how life was passing me by because I didn't have someone to share it with, and how everything was just going to be exactly the same tomorrow.
Why the change of perspective? Again, it can be summed up in one word: testimony.
Several months ago, I was living the gospel as I always had; I attended all my church meetings, read my scriptures almost every day, accepted church callings, and followed church standards. My testimony was firm, partly because I don't give in to peer pressure very easily, partly because it is something I have always had, and partly because I had given it just enough nourishment to keep it alive. I never thought I would need to "raise the bar" of my spiritual progression because I was already doing everything I was supposed to be doing.
However, the time came when I realized I did need to raise the bar, simply to ensure my own happiness and sanity. It finally became necessary to go the extra mile and do a bit more, if only because I had all this extra time that needed to be filled with good things.
So, how did I fill that time? I started out by going to the temple every week. (Thank goodness I have so many temples to choose from so I can switch temples whenever I get bored.) Later on, I decided I needed more social interaction in my life and committed to going to institute at least once a week, since it is pretty much impossible to force myself to go to FHE alone. This goal in turn drove me to actually study--not just speed-read--my scriptures.
These three small but significant changes bring me back to my drive home from work a few weeks ago. Why was I so happy? It was because my testimony, given extra nourishment over a longish period of time, was able to make up for everything that I lacked. I realized that I didn't need anything--not even family, school, or grand accomplishments--as long as I had my testimony to bring real and lasting peace and happiness.
I thought it was interesting that a lot of speakers touched on this during conference. Usually, I will find inspiration through words that I needed to hear but hadn't yet thought of, but this time I found inspiration in speakers saying exactly what I had already discovered. That was pretty cool.
But it's the words of Gordon B. Hinckley that I'd like to conclude with:
If you will live the gospel, nearly everything else will eventually take care of itself.There's no room for fear or doubt when this is your motto.