Sunday, April 17, 2011

Exercise #13: Making Lasting Changes


If you have a hard time following this blog post, my sincerest apologies!  Check out mormon.org for answers to your questions...or feel free to email me, and I'll help answer them!
 You may have noticed that I skipped a week.  Oops!  I got a little behind and needed an extra week to work on this exercise.  It gave me a little more time to make a better effort at making a change.  Here's what we were supposed to do: 
Choose one small thing you want to change about your life.  Don't pick a full-on diet, for example, but maybe just one eating habit you could alter.  We're starting small on purpose so we can feel some success.  Pray and ask for the Spirit to help you make that change.  Write down all the reasons why you should make it, and why you can.  Decide what motivators would help you stick to it.  And then take a deep breath and do it! 
I, of course, being a rebel (you know, 'cause I'm such a rebel!), did pick more than one thing.  So, of course, I didn't accomplish all that I could have.  But, in the end I did improve in two of the three areas I was working on, and I'm going to focus on one of those: family scripture study. 

All the reasons I should do it:
  • Elder Richard G. Scott said in the last General Conference, "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day. Righteous character is a precious manifestation of what you are becoming."  This just hit me really hard as he was speaking.  And part of that was that it is imperative for my character and my family's that we are consistently reading the scriptures together. 
  • This year's Primary theme is "I Know the Scriptures Are True."  Um, yeah, how are my kids going to gain a testimony of that if they aren't cracking the scriptures at home? 
  • A few weeks ago the children ran off to primary after sacrament meeting, and Adam and I were taking our time coming out of the chapel.  As I came out of the chapel, I saw Isaiah run from his class to the library to check out a set of scriptures--even though I know he had his scripture bag with him.  It dawned on me that all he has is the little blue Book of Mormon and that he probably needs the Bible and Doctrine and Covenants now that he's in Senior Primary.  And that he's looking up scriptures in class and has never been taught how to do that, even in family home evening.  Dang!  Time to get to work...
All the reasons I can do it:
  • Just like anything else, it just takes making it a part of our routine.  Once it's a "normal" thing to do, it's not hard to forget.  I realized this as I was trying to figure out why we've been so successful with family prayer and family home evening, not to mention attending church and activities--it's just part of our normal routine, it's just what we do.  Reading scriptures just needs to become one of those things. 
  • The kids want to do it, they have asked several times (of course, always at an inappropriate time, like an hour and a half after bedtime, or when we're late to be somewhere).  They may grumble occasionally, but we're still in the "I want to do what's right" stage of life, so now is an excellent time to start. 
  • God wants me to do it.  He will help me find a way! 
And as for motivators, all I really have to do is think of my reasons why I should do it, and I feel the good old Mormon guilt kicking in! 

So, once I worked through all this, I sat down and thought of the best time to incorporate reading scriptures into our routine.  Adam and the kids suggested bedtime, dinner time, and breakfast.  But all these times can become rushed as it is, and adding one more thing is not really wise.  Then I realized that Isaiah is frequently ready to leave for the bus early and plays around for a while before family prayer.  That's when we needed to do it.  So I called everyone in for family prayer 5 minutes early one morning and we read the introduction and the first verse of First Nephi.  I know, big deal, right?  But remember, we're taking baby steps here.  Right now we're still figuring things out, but I think our new routine is to each read a verse before family prayer.  It will take a while to get through the Book of Mormon, but that's not really the goal here.  The goal is to consistently read the word of God as a family, and this accomplishes that. 

Speaking of baby steps, that reminds me of something Anne said about what she chose to change: "The thing I have been working on for the past few weeks to do differently is to a) make a decision more quickly and b) not second-guess myself.  I'm getting better at just PICKING something, but I still agonize afterwards about my choice.  I'm a work in progress."  I, too, am a work in progress.  We are all a work in progress!  But we just have to keep working so we can keep progressing! 

Next week:  Suspending Judgement

1 comment:

The Yoder's Four said...

Good for you, Rach!! I really need to work on scripture reading, too. One verse a day is doable. I like the baby steps idea...