So building off of the last post which started out as a post about repetition but then evolved into something else maybe…
I want to talk about how all of this translates to our lives when we are adults. Even though we are grown, repetition is the way to learn new things, to grow and build habits. If we want to add a new healthy habit to our day doing it just one time doesn’t make it automatically happen the next day. We have to build it into our routine. maybe make a sign to remind ourselves to do it. Some of us set alarms, write it in our planner, ask our friend to remind us. It needs to happen over and over before it becomes part of our routine.
You all know that, right?
Well, so does God. Why do you think we have conference talks and sacrament meeting talks over and over reminding us to read our scriptures and pray and have family scripture study? Because repeatedly telling us the things we should be doing in our lives to bring more joy and happiness is the only way it is going to stick.
And there really are only a few broad topics to talk about. There are lots of ways to frame them differently but when it comes down to it the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple – I didn’t say easy. It takes work to stay on the path. There are tons of distractions. So many ways we can just start walking a little off course and before we know it we have a ways to go to get back on track. And I’m not even talking about things that are obvious things to avoid. I think almost anything can become a distraction from doing the simple things that help us stay focused on the ultimate goal of eternal life in the presence of our Heavenly Father.
Housework, homework, kids activities, and even your church work can take you away from the simple things that will keep building your testimony and growth in the Gospel.
So here are 4 things we need to be doing at least once per day and then one thing we need to be doing regularly to keep us right on the covenant path. Of course there are more things we are asked to do than just these 4 but in my experience, doing these things regularly leads to a willingness and a desired to incorporate the other things into our lives.
Study the Scriptures
Repent – some might consider this as part of the prayers.
Attend the Temple
I have a lot more to say about these things and way more than is appropriate for one blog post but I do want to talk about one benefit I have experienced that comes from each of these things and is magnified when all of these things are happening together.
We are often told to find out how God speaks to us individually. It isn’t the same for everyone. Many people describe their experiences with God as a feeling but this isn’t always the case.
An experience with God can be a voice that you actually hear. For me, often words come to my brain that I know are not my own thoughts. I’m not talking about single words but full sentences. I can’t explain how I know they aren’t my own thoughts but I do.
Another way people have experiences with God are ideas which are sometimes called inspiration or impressions. If you take these ideas and run with them they grow and develop until they are very successful endeavors. Sometimes these ideas are ways to help another person and sometimes they are ways to improve your own life.
A few years ago I would have words come to my mind and I would think that perhaps it was inspiration but I didn’t trust it. I questioned it every time. The great thing is that God is very patient with us and I was no exception. But things got better and more clear and this is how:
- I was praying at least once per day and, many days, more often than that. During my prayers I would talk about the areas I needed to improve and asked for help.
- I was reading scriptures every day and often listening to a conference talk or another talk given at BYU or women’s conference or another conference like that.
- I was praying every day for the sisters I was assigned to visit/minister to and following any positive ideas I had to reach out or help them.
- I had temple appointments on my calendar for each month and I was doing some sort of temple work.
Honestly, this stuff doesn’t take a lot of time. My prayers are less than 15 minutes generally. One chapter of scripture usually less than 10 minutes to read. Add looking up footnotes or reading commentary and it’s 20 minutes total. A text or an email to someone you are thinking of takes only a minute or two. A phone call is often less than 20 minutes and can be done while you are doing your other daily chores and things you want to get done. So for most days you are looking at a total time investment of just over an hour.
The temple is a different thing for many people. My temple is about 50 minutes from my house when there isn’t any traffic. So, factor in changing clothes and the actual temple work and stopping for lunch it’s going to be at least 5 hours. But 5 hours once per month for a recharge, some almost silence and possibly some new inspiration/knowledge really isn’t that much of an investment. I think it’s worth it. Not everyone has a temple this close. It may not be possible to get to the temple every month. Some people have a temple much closer so maybe it is possible to go twice a month or every week. I know that we will be blessed for our efforts in this area and the Lord knows what is possible for us. And more and more quickly temples are being built all over the world so that one day we will all be able to attend often.
I will talk about many of the particular blessings that come from each of these things in a future post but I want to tell you that I have a strong testimony of how my life has been changed by doing these things. I feel more love for other people, I am more patient with those around me, and I have a bigger desire to serve others which is what we have been asked to do above all else by the Master of service.
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