The last few days have been discouraging.
Things I Haven’t Been Doing
- I haven’t really been studying my scriptures or the manual
- I haven’t been praying morning and night consistently
- I haven’t been praying during the day when temptation comes
- I haven’t been working on Step 9 as diligently as I’d like to be
Things I Have Been Doing Instead
- I’ve felt resentments toward my wife
- I’ve felt fears about business stuff
- I’ve felt resentments toward my former employer
- I’ve been idle and haven’t stuck to a plan or goals
- I’ve browsed Facebook friends pictures
- I looked at videos on Youtube that were not full on pornographic but were not appropriate either
When I went to the meeting last night, this scripture really stuck out:
10 And again, believe that ye must arepent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in bsincerity of heart that he would cforgive you; and now, if you dbelieve all these things see that ye edo them.
11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have atasted of his love, and have received a bremission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own cnothingness, and his dgoodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of ehumility, fcalling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing gsteadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the alove of God, and always bretain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the cknowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
To “humble myself before God” means to do the little things, to make them the top priority in my day.
While I was at the meeting yesterday, I texted Becky and ask her a question I was basically asking myself:
What would my perfect day look like?
I feel this is how it would look for my morning routine:
- 6:00 a.m. – Wake up
- 6:05 a.m. – Study my scriptures & words of the prophets for 30 minutes, write in my journal
- 6:35 a.m. – Exercise for 30 minutes
- 7:05 a.m. – Shower & shave for 10 minutes
- 7:15 a.m. – Ponder & Review Goals & Objectives for the day; Read from a business book
- 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast with the family; read a scripture together while eating
- 8:15 a.m. – Help get the kids ready for school and the day
- 8:30 a.m. – Begin my work day
The time from 8:30 – 4:30 p.m. would vary a bit depending on my goals, objectives and plan, but I will stick to the morning routine.
The evening routine would look like this:
- 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Help Becky with aerobics by taking care of the kids
- 6:15 p.m. – Eat dinner together, clean up dinner
- 7:00 p.m. – Play with the kids: soccer, reading, watching a show, board games, etc.
- 8:00 p.m. – Get the kids ready for bed, read, etc.
- 8:30 p.m. – Read a book together with Becky
- 9:00 p.m. – Watch something together or just talk (Biggest Loser, The Office)
- 10:00 p.m. – Pray and go to bed
This gives me 8 hours of sleep, which I don’t usually get right now. It’s balanced. I feel it’s in the order of priorities that I need to feel good about myself and where I’m putting God in my life.
I feel if I do this, I’ll be successful in so many different ways:
What’s interesting, too, is that I planned to study the talk today by Elder Uchtdorf titled: “Of Things That Matter Most”
This is the sub-title of his talk:
If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most.
How fitting! Here are some of the points he made that really stick out to me right now:
When stress levels rise, when distress appears, when tragedy strikes, too often we attempt to keep up the same frantic pace or even accelerate, thinking somehow that the more rushed our pace, the better off we will be.
The wise understand and apply the lessons of tree rings and air turbulence. They resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush of everyday life. They follow the advice “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”1 In short, they focus on the things that matter most.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught: “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”2
There is a beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.
Leonardo da Vinci is quoted as saying that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”3 When we look at the foundational principles of the plan of happiness, the plan of salvation, we can recognize and appreciate in its plainness and simplicity the elegance and beauty of our Heavenly Father’s wisdom. Then, turning our ways to His ways is the beginning of our wisdom.
I think most of us intuitively understand how important the fundamentals are. It is just that we sometimes get distracted by so many things that seem more enticing.
Let us be mindful of the foundational precepts our Heavenly Father has given to His children that will establish the basis of a rich and fruitful mortal life with promises of eternal happiness. They will teach us to do “all these things … in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that [we] should run faster than [we have] strength. [But] it is expedient that [we] should be diligent, [and] thereby … win the prize.”7
Brothers and sisters, diligently doing the things that matter most will lead us to the Savior of the world. That is why “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, … that [we] may know to what source [we] may look for a remission of [our] sins.”8 In the complexity, confusion, and rush of modern living, this is the “more excellent way.”9
So What are the Basics?
He breaks it down in to four simple truths:
- Our relationship with God
- Our relationship with our families
- Our relationship with other people
- Our relationship with ourselves
As we turn to our Heavenly Father and seek His wisdom regarding the things that matter most, we learn over and over again the importance of four key relationships: with our God, with our families, with our fellowman, and with ourselves. As we evaluate our own lives with a willing mind, we will see where we have drifted from the more excellent way. The eyes of our understanding will be opened, and we will recognize what needs to be done to purify our heart and refocus our life.
First, our relationship with God is most sacred and vital. We are His spirit children. He is our Father. He desires our happiness. As we seek Him, as we learn of His Son, Jesus Christ, as we open our hearts to the influence of the Holy Spirit, our lives become more stable and secure. We experience greater peace, joy, and fulfillment as we give our best to live according to God’s eternal plan and keep His commandments.
We improve our relationship with our Heavenly Father by learning of Him, by communing with Him, by repenting of our sins, and by actively following Jesus Christ, for “no man cometh unto the Father, but by [Christ].”10 To strengthen our relationship with God, we need some meaningful time alone with Him. Quietly focusing on daily personal prayer and scripture study, always aiming to be worthy of a current temple recommend—these will be some wise investments of our time and efforts to draw closer to our Heavenly Father. Let us heed the invitation in Psalms: “Be still, and know that I am God.”11
Our second key relationship is with our families. Since “no other success can compensate for failure”12 here, we must place high priority on our families. We build deep and loving family relationships by doing simple things together, like family dinner and family home evening and by just having fun together. In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e, time. Taking time for each other is the key for harmony at home. We talk with, rather than about, each other. We learn from each other, and we appreciate our differences as well as our commonalities. We establish a divine bond with each other as we approach God together through family prayer, gospel study, and Sunday worship.
The third key relationship we have is with our fellowman. We build this relationship one person at a time—by being sensitive to the needs of others, serving them, and giving of our time and talents.
The fourth key relationship is with ourselves. It may seem odd to think of having a relationship with ourselves, but we do. Some people can’t get along with themselves. They criticize and belittle themselves all day long until they begin to hate themselves. May I suggest that you reduce the rush and take a little extra time to get to know yourself better. Walk in nature, watch a sunrise, enjoy God’s creations, ponder the truths of the restored gospel, and find out what they mean for you personally. Learn to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you—as His precious daughter or son with divine potential.
I like what it says in the fourth relationship about “pondering the truths of the restored gospel, and find out what they man for you personally.” I feel this is one thing I DO when I’m on my “A-Game” in everything else in my life (family, work, etc.).
Brothers and sisters, let us be wise. Let us turn to the pure doctrinal waters of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us joyfully partake of them in their simplicity and plainness. The heavens are open again. The gospel of Jesus Christ is on earth once more, and its simple truths are a plentiful source of joy!
Brothers and sisters, indeed we have great reason to rejoice. If life and its rushed pace and many stresses have made it difficult for you to feel like rejoicing, then perhaps now is a good time to refocus on what matters most.
Strength comes not from frantic activity but from being settled on a firm foundation of truth and light. It comes from placing our attention and efforts on the basics of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It comes from paying attention to the divine things that matter most.
Let us simplify our lives a little. Let us make the changes necessary to refocus our lives on the sublime beauty of the simple, humble path of Christian discipleship—the path that leads always toward a life of meaning, gladness, and peace.
WOW, WOW, WOW! This couldn’t have been a better talk for me right now. This couldn’t have coincided more with the “perfect day” I created earlier in my study.
Like the scripture I liked earlier states, though,
…even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own cnothingness, and his dgoodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of ehumility, fcalling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing gsteadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
Remembering these things is the key. Humbling myself and calling on God daily. Being worthy of the Spirit to guide and direct me and help me REMEMBER what I need to be doing every day, every moment.
I’m grateful that, after a bit of hardship, I’m willing to come back to writing in my journal, to being honest with myself and with others, and to trying to do the will of the Father.
Today will be a better day because of this study!