Thursday, February 18, 2010

Striving for Low Maintenance

On Sunday I heard a talk by Elder Neal A. Maxwell that he gave at BYU called "Free to Choose"? (2 Nephi 2:27) on March 16, 2004. Honestly, while the whole talk was good, for most of the week I was thinking about his opening statement which wasn’t really part of the talk.

“Thank you so much, President Samuelson. You're blessed to have this wonderful man as your president. But I miss him at Church headquarters--greatly and personally! It's always easy to praise Sharon because she represents, as does my wife--as do so many others--the faithful women of this dispensation, without whom this work simply could not be done. They are the kind of souls who are high yield and low maintenance.”

I thought that was an interesting way to describe someone—high yield, low maintenance. Then I started wondering if someone could describe me as that.

We all know some high maintenance wives—likes to be the center of attention, wants gifts and money, isn’t happy with what she’s given, only likes things done her way. (Of course, guys could be like this too!) And we know high maintenance ladies that we have visit taught or home taught. They think that their problems are so much harder than everyone else’s. They are not considerate of your time or schedule. They are not grateful for the help you give and always want more attention. Sometimes they complain about others.

I immediately started thinking about my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Am I a high yield, low maintenance daughter of God? And what does that mean? I thought of a few characteristics of a person who Heavenly Father might describe as high yield, low maintenance.

1. Is happy to follow the commandments.
“Eventually, spirituality becomes such an integral part of our being that we can follow our heart’s true desires without doing anything wrong. Nephi, the son of Helaman, reached that point where there was no conflict between what he wanted and what was right…This kind of spirituality requires that we consciously move away from all that is unkind, unholy, impure, or unchristian. It requires that we let go of anger and revenge. And it yields a peace of heart and soul. It makes us able to find good things to do without constantly being asked, pushed, or reminded.”
Mary Ellen Edmunds, “Spirituality—More Than a Feeling,” Ensign, Oct. 1985, p.14
2. Has a grateful heart. It’s easy to give thanks, but harder to feel true gratitude even during trials.
3. Serves others (including in a calling) with love and without expecting acknowledgement or remuneration.4. Is humble enough to change (even to make an about-face) when prompted by the Spirit
5. Seeks for more knowledge and tries to use it to become a better follower of Christ“In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something.” Elder Dallin H. Oaks, The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, November 2000, 32; emphasis in original).

“Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and those who love it are not equal to those who live it.” Confucius

"The Lord expects each step upward in knowledge to be followed by a step upward in performance.”
William Baker, "Knowing, Doing, and Being", BYU Devotional (7/25/2006)

After making up this list in my head, I decided to do a search on high yield, low maintenance. Many of the results were talking about agriculture (makes sense), but I did find another time that Elder Maxwell used this phrase.

“Part of discipleship should be to become high-yield, low-maintenance members of the Church. These members are not high profile; they won’t be on the six o’clock evening news when they die. But they have done what Heavenly Father has wanted them to do meekly and humbly.” Neal A. Maxwell, “The Holy Ghost: Glorifying Christ,” Ensign, Jul 2002, 56–61

I plan on using this phrase to motivate me when I start being a bit lazy or needy. Of course it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reply completely on Heavenly Father and on the Savior’s atonement, but we should be willing to continue to go forward without immediate blessings or recognition.

What other characteristics would you add to my incomplete list?


  1. Valerie this was a great post! You always have wonderful insight.
    I love that phrase too - High Yield Low Maintenance. Great to think about.

    I know I am low maintenance but sometimes I wonder if my yield couldn't be higher. Definately a goal to reach for!

    Thanks for this inspiring message!

  2. What a great phrase! I think someone who does her visiting teaching is a high yield, low maintenance sister. We need more like her so our wards will be watched over and blessed by angels, earthly and heavenly.

  3. Perfect timing! I have been thinking about this all week, not knowing what the definition of my thoughts were. This is in regards to a Sister I VT and have been very concerned about. All of the information n this post is an answer to my prayers. Thank you!

  4. I love this! What a wonderful way to BE! Thank you for your thoughts today. I hope that each of us will desire to be just a little more "High Yield, low Maintenance"!

  5. Lovely post Valerie. Too often I think I strive to be low maintenance but forget that positive result to strive for: high yield. Sometimes I think we just need to give ourselves a pat on the back and realize that good things are really happening from all we do. Thanks for all the great quotes! luv, trina

  6. Great insights, Valerie. You are always bringing up such great things. And I think that describes you pretty well.

  7. I think it describes you very well, Valerie. (and you too, Tiff!) It is certainly something to think about. Sheri told me the title of your post, but I must have been really sleepy -- I thought she said, "High heels, low maintenance", and I for the life of me couldn't figure that one out. Oh, me, what a lamebrain I am sometimes.

  8. Valerie, This is a beautiful post and very thought provoking. I hope I'm low maintenance ... but maybe not. I want to be low maintenance / high yield -- but know I can do much better. I am constantly uplifted by your blog. Thanks for being the amazing woman that you are .... I've really enjoyed being able to visit your blog often and partake of your spirit.

    I received my special gift in the mail yesterday. It is always lots of fun to get gifts in the mail. The goodies are yummy - both of them -- such a double bonus. We are enjoying them. I also skimmed through the recipe books last night and am excited to try several new recipes. Thanks a bunch for the wonderful package!!

  9. What a great perspective on low maintenance high yield. I never thought of in a spiritual way before. Really gives me something to strive for.


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