The Lord doesn't just give us commandments because it amuses him to see us running around trying to do whatever random thing he asks. He is an omniscient being who knows how the universe works – what will make us happy, fulfilled, powerful, what will lead us where we want to go. He gives us commandments so that if we keep them we can become beings like he is. No other way works. Every other path tears us down and makes us less, leaves us more isolated, weaker, more foolish, and fails to bring us the things that really satisfy.
The Lord gives us commandments to save us.
With that being said, let me share one of my favorite scriptures from the Doctrine and Covenants. In section 20, the Lord was listing things he had done for the prophet Joseph (after Joseph repented). Sandwiched in between great things like 'sent him angelic visions' and 'gave him power from on high' comes this interesting verse 7:
Doctrine and Covenants 20:7 And gave unto him commandments which inspired him;
That's the whole verse.
Doesn't it say so much about the character of the young prophet that instead of being depressed or feeling tired by receiving commandments that he felt inspired?
When we look at divine commandments through the lens of what they teach us about Heavenly Father and what he wants for us, then obeying them suddenly has a much larger purpose than merely “'cause I'm supposed to”.
Elder Richard G. Scott said, “Keeping the covenants is not hard when you do it willingly with a “broken heart and a contrite spirit.” When obeyed, those covenants bring happiness and joy. They give purpose to life.”
A few commandments that inspire me are:
The Law of Chastity, which says so much about the importance of our physical bodies and our bonds with others, and the sanctity of married love.
Fasting, which hints that this so-precious physical body should not control our spirits. It tells us that we should not be helpless slaves to our body's appetites – even the most basic and literal appetite of them all.
The commandment to minister to each other. I love the fact that the Lord cares enough about me to assign people to be in my corner when I need them – and that because I am assigned to people I did not choose, I get the chance to know and love people I never would have thought to befriend all by myself.
Modesty, which teaches us that we are worth so much more than just being a slab of pretty meat for other people to look at, and that our bodies are private things for us to use and grow with instead of eye-candy for the general populace to enjoy.
Prayer: Heavenly Father wants us to talk to him. He wants us to hear him – and I think he just wants to hear us. Perhaps he misses us, now that we've left our premortal home and forgotten him, and like a parent with a child away at college just wants to hear our voices talking to him.
Children: Children are one of the deepest and most basic loves of a human life. It's not glamorized in Hollywood the way romantic love is, but across history the love of parents and children has been one of the most central and most enduring of all the loves. They bring us growth and fulfillment and joy in a way no other relationship can replace. I love the way that Heavenly Father wants us to experience (if we can) what he experiences with us.
The commandment to develop our talents: He wants us to bloom and grow. He wants us to explore what we are capable of, and become able to do amazing things for other people around us and the world in general. Heavenly Father wants us to have the fulfillment of creativity, like he has, and the satisfaction of working hard and learning to be really good at something.
What commandments inspire you?
Most of my story is very normal: raised up and down the east coast of the United States, served a mission in Italy, met and married an amazing man while at BYU (we were both physics majors, so obviously we met in the Storytelling Club), and together had four delightful children. I'm living the dream as a stay-at-home mom.
It's the hobbies that get a little unusual. I practice four different martial arts, from genteel Japanese mediation archery to hardcore Russian Systema. Sometimes I even teach classic Japanese swordwork. (Pro tip: life is more fun when you have a sword).
I also really, really love the book of Isaiah. It's the most condensed and profound sermon on the atonement that I have ever seen. I taught a neighborhood class about Isaiah that ran for over a year, and am writing a commentary on it. It's a deep and tender book.
When I get a chance, I also write fiction.
The gospel is the best thing in my life – and the reason why everything else matters. If the Earth is a beautiful and magical place full of things to love, then the gospel of Jesus Christ is like the sun: it lights the world, holds it in orbit, makes life on Earth possible, and makes everything bloom and grow. - Anne