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Monday, August 31, 2009

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Putting the Lord First

In my last post, I brought up the question: "I know that I should be putting the Lord first in my life, but how, specifically should I be doing this?"

I have thought about this same question a lot in the last year or so and I have some thoughts:

1. Put the Lord first in your DAY. This means getting up early and having a morning devotional, which includes prayer, scripture and other gospel study, along with time to meditate and record your feelings. My stake president recommends at least one "meditative half-hour" each day. Other times of day are better than none, but the morning is ideal. In the morning hours, our hearts and minds are better prepared to face life's challenges. We are well-rested and more alert. I cannot emphasize how important it is to record the impressions that WILL come during our morning meditation and study. They will help us to truly understand God's will for us, so we must write them down, or this precious personal revelation will become lost as other matters vie for our attention throughout the day.

2. Forget yourself and go to work. Through our service to others, we are healed. We forget about our own problems. Charity towards our families and neighbors cures depression. As we lift the heads and hands around us, life becomes much more meaningful. We start to see things in perspective. And as we begin to serve others more, our hearts begin to change, allowing Christ entrance. The spirit begins to find place in us, making everything seem more peaceful and possible.

3. Choose hope. As we develop a better, more positive attitude in our trials, we are testifying to ourselves and those around us that we have hope in the plan of salvation. Happiness is an expression of the belief that through the Savior we can become perfected. It means that we truly believe that God knows us, loves us, and cares about us. It means that "all these things will work out for good." And as we heal from addiction and bad habits, or from depression and self-doubt, it helps so much to remember that "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine."

4. Understand the "Why." Why do we repeatedly engage in harmful, sinful behavior. Logically we know the consequences for doing so. In our hearts, we also realize the damaging effects of sin. Deep down, far beneath the surface, there are reasons for our bad behavior. The gospel of Jesus Christ, if lived properly, can help us find the answers to why we struggle with these things. And like Enos, who also wrestled with desires of the natural man, we will in time, receive the comfort that only the Atonement can bring into our hearts.

"The God-given freedom from addiction, or change in behavior that we seek is always preceded by an inner change of heart (or desire). Even though our weaknesses are painful, we often desire to hold on to them because of the seeming benefits. [What are the seemingly] rational reasons why you hold on to a particular weakness?" (Colleen C. Harrison, He Did Deliver Me from Bondage, Windhaven Publishing, 2002, 82).

As we strive to apply these four areas to our lives, we will feel the love of the Savior who heals. And as we are healed, we can begin to live more fully and help others fight their own battles.

4 comments:

jnkeller said...

I'm going to print this out and put it on my wall for inspiration. I need to do better in quite a few ways, but especially in the meditative half hour each day. Thank God I know this wonderfully wise woman who posts these gold nuggets of wisdom on her blog! Thanks for the inspiration to make a change!

Tamaran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tamaran said...

Thank you. Funny how so many times I find a portion of what I need right here. I really appreciate it.

Just yesterday I was thinking about how spiritually quenched I am. I feel like all I get out of Sacrament meeting is the Sacrament (most important-I know-but I miss listening to the speakers. I feel like I spend the bulk of the time trying to entertain a toddler who just wants down). Then I head off to Primary for the remainder of the time. I feel rejuvenated during primary, but when I go home I'm left wondering if I got what I needed. Thank you for reminding me that it is my responsibility to MAKE TIME to get what I need.

And you are right about the morning thing. If put off to just before bed, we often read a few verses as if to 'check it off our list' and miss the deeper spiritual messages.

K Walton said...

I sure know what you mean about not getting much out of church. It's next to impossible to listen in sacrament with my four little monsters. But ever since I started my meditative half-hour, life has gone so much smoother. Now, I can't imagine ever going without. The morning thing was definitely an adjustment for me, but I got used to it eventually. Now, I really look forward to waking up and getting right down to it!