As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we commit to doing many good things: read the scriptures, say our prayers, attend church, visit the temple, serve our neighbors. Sometimes, instead of seeing those things as opportunities to grow and help others grow, we turn them into to-dos that become burdensome over time.
If your days, your faith, and your self-worth are dictated by daily checklists, it is time to change your mindset.
But how can you make living the gospel a fulfilling part of your life again?
Study and live the scriptures; don’t just read them.
Latter-day Saint author Ted L. Gibbons once said:
So often we are satisfied with sliding around on the surface of things. “I listened to conference.” “I attended my meetings.” “I read the scriptures.” If we stop here, Lucifer wins. We must go beyond taking our bodies and eyes into the correct places. We must take our hearts to a higher place than they have ever been before. If Joseph Smith and Ezra Taft Benson were right (and I know that they were), the Book of Mormon has the power to do that if we will allow it in our lives. But it requires, to use Joseph’s word, abiding, not just reading.
Rather than limiting yourself to skimming through one chapter a day, make studying the scriptures a priority. Set aside an amount of personal time each day to read and ponder. Then make it a goal to take the principles you studied and work them into your daily life. Taking notes of the thoughts you have while reading could help you reach that goal.
Say honest, sincere prayers.
Al Fox Carraway, a blogger, young mother, and well-known convert to the Church said that one of the most important things she ever learned was how to pray. She described the power that comes from saying honest, sincere prayers:
Despite my fear of not saying prayers “correctly” and just talking, I learned something very powerful: honesty in our prayers is crucial to receive the answers we need. … When things were hard, when I didn’t like how something was going, or when I didn’t understand things, I told Him. … Sometimes I feel like it’s easy to tiptoe around our true feelings and thoughts in fear of maybe offending God or something. I have found that holding back in prayers not only prevents answers and full conversion, but it also prevents an intimate, trustworthy, and real relationship with our Father in Heaven.
Prayer can feel like a strange form of communication. Unlike talking face-to-face with someone or even over the phone, praying to God doesn’t include looking at His face or even hearing His voice right away in response to our questions. Prayer is still a conversation, and in fact, it’s the most significant and sacred conversation you have each day.
So when you pray, be respectful, but also remember to have a comfortable and honest conversation with your Heavenly Father and listen for His answers. When you do, your prayers will turn into meaningful conversations that you look forward to.
Lose yourself in selfless service.
Thomas S. Monson said: “Perhaps when we face our Maker, we will not be asked, ‘How many positions did you hold?’ but rather, ‘How many people did you help?’ In reality, you can never love the Lord until you serve Him by serving His people.”
While it may feel like an incredible sacrifice at first, you may find that serving someone else becomes a source of healing and joy you may not have known you needed.
Take the story of this group of men, for example.
What are your suggestions for making the gospel a joy to live each day? Leave a comment to inspire someone who may be wondering if it’s worth it.