“Don’t we all want to use our faith to make things happen in our lives? I think we all want to pull down the powers of heaven for our good. We simply need to find the balance between relying on the Lord and using the agency we fought for, to choose to do good things with our lives.” – Kylee Shields, Make it Happen
About the Book
Title: Make it Happen: A Guide to Happiness for LDS Singles
Author: Kylee Shields
Release Date: October 2012
Publisher: Walnut Springs Press
Genre: LDS Self Help
I played out a lot of ways of how to start a blog post about being single. There’s always the kitschy joke single BYU graduates get about a tuition reimbursement, or maybe I should begin with the personal anecdotes about introductions followed with a slight pause, and a “guys, she’s single” advertisement. But then another option to really get the party started is the story of the stereotypical gal flippantly saying, “who needs a man when I have a good book, a piece of chocolate, and a diet coke?” A lot of us can relate. In fact I know those who are not currently single either once had experiences like this or witness the same classic one-liners and monotonous conversations. While well intentioned, (if we want to be generous) the recycled labels and narratives are ragged.
I have high hopes of one day unraveling the knotted opinions, indifferent thoughts, and even great experiences about being a single Latter-day Saint in Utah, but attempting to articulate the depth of what that means with some semblance of logic, insight, and awakening is daunting to say the least. Until that lofty goal is attempted, all we can do is find strength and solace in sharing our stories with one another.
Kylee Shields does just that in her book Make it Happen: A Guide to Happiness for LDS Singles. As a hybrid of autobiography and instruction, she engages the reader from the start leaving you wanting to go to lunch and chat with her. Kylee practices her own philosophies as her biography shows. She is an accomplished student, therapist, volunteer, friend, and traveler, and has rich experiences to share. Her personal vignettes and reflections echo enduring principles of happiness for single and married alike. While her perspective in the book is from the Latter-day Saint single woman, I found many concepts to stretch well beyond the scope of just single women. Her light-hearted writing style incorporates honest struggles and concerns that entrust the reader to her wisdom. She’s kind of like a modern day Jane Austen mixed with the girl next door. Carefully curated quotes serve as a sold foundation for her advice and counsel. Every chapter includes instructive ideas from General Authorities, well known authors, or hidden pieces of wisdom tied to the topic.
Here are the three big ideas or concepts I took away from the book.
- Other people’s joy, marriages, and happiness does not lessen or decrease yours in anyway. Abundance creates abundance. Living and residing among that kind of energy helps increase your positive force for good. Everything works from the inside out, so continue enriching your soul and relationship with Heavenly Father and all will be well with you.
- While there are many actions to take and ways to broaden your social circle, extensive worry does not help your situation. Worrying and praying do not go hand in hand. Give it to the Lord, express your righteous desires, continue hoping and working toward your dreams in life, but realize the Lord is your guide.
- The concepts and principles which prepare and give people joy and happiness as a single person are the same concepts and principles which prepare and give people joy and happiness as married couples. Live fully, embrace the Gospel, and seek happiness.
Kylee gives great practical advice and application (like her Action Questions at the end of every chapter), but perhaps more importantly, the book didn’t leave me feeling more overwhelmed and anxious about how to get a man, or transform my life, but rather, how to more fully live up to the divine power, joy, and potential already inside of me, and all of us, which is a natural attractor to good things in this life. I recommend reading if you’re single, but also to those who are not, in order to connect and be aware of the opinions, feelings, experiences and thoughts of those who are.
What are or were your experiences being single? How does being a LDS help or complicate this phase of life?