Sunday, June 5
I'll be honest.
I'm not perfect.
I'm actually nowhere near perfect.
I know that may come as a shock since (G)MG often only shows resolution of the more complex pieces of my life... and doesn't really highlight the times I'm frustrated for reasons too stupid to write about or some of the "lesser" things I wish I could change.
Probably because I know that, by writing about it, it will push me into doing the right thing. And sometimes I don't want to. Or I don't want to try and fail and disappoint myself again.
One of those things is scripture study.
The face-saving part of me - the part that wants David to look and sound perfect for some unknown and probably irrational reason - wants to interject here and say for the record that I read and study the scriptures. It wants to convince you that, while I'm about to tell you something beautiful about myself, you should gloss over the harsh reality that the story actually uncovers. He doesn't want you to read this post at all. The reason actually isn't irrational. The face-saving part of me wants you to like me, and it believes that by pretending to be perfect, or at least softening the imperfections, I'll be more likable and less likely to get hurt.
Don't listen to the face-saving part.
The reality is that even though I think about the scriptures, quote them to people, teach people about the gospel, and even have them on the lock screen of my phone, my personal scripture study has been sorely lacking.
That means nonexistent.
I've started and stopped new ideas and projects and commitments, from "ponderizing" to reading early in the morning to reading late at night to listening while I exercise, but each time something would break the habit and it would die. Early mornings I fall back asleep. Late nights are too late. Exercise buddies move away or learn they shouldn't be exercising.
And the scripture study linked in the mix gets lost.
I don't want to gloss over that reality, because I think it's a vital part of understanding me. As good as my intentions may have been, they weren't actually doing anything for me when it came to scripture study. I wasn't reading daily, and because I wasn't reading daily, God couldn't give me the guidance and blessings He really wanted to.
That's why what has happened in the last few weeks has been so different.
First I started attending Institute.
I usually work every night of the week. But something happened one day - I think someone new in my ward told me they wanted to go - and I felt the desire to go to Institute. That meant making sure that I don't need to work that night.
So I made plans, told my best friend so he could work that night, and gave my little sister a ride.
And while the actual class I'm attending in Institute is, as it always seems to be, anticlimactic, just being there allows me to think, quietly focus, and receive revelation for my life. (Face-saving David wants to tell you that the Institute teacher is incredibly well-versed, prepares for each lesson, has lots of background information, and is obviously effective at motivating people to come to Institute as the class is packed)
Since then I've made sure to be at Institute each week... even currently riding my bike from work. And it's worth it.
The second thing I've done I also learned about at Church. Someone mentioned that they had heard about someone who, every day after arriving at work a bit early, would take time to study the scriptures.
My work is just across the street from the temple grounds... so each morning after I arrive, I walk across the street, find a shady spot, and read.
In Institute the class I'm currently in is studying the Old Testament. So I started at the beginning of the Bible and began to read.
And it's amazing how enjoyable it's been.
The first week my mind would wander as I sat down to read. I'd get thoughts about work, or life, and after fighting with them I decided to simply take time to write them down.
But since then, as I've taken time to find a place away from worldly distractions (though only a hundred yards away), the stories of the scriptures have come alive again... in a way I remember but hadn't been able to reawaken.
I find myself laughing at Leah & Rachel's bitter struggle for their husband's affection, mourning the Flood, and feeling intense love for a changed, forgiving Esau when Jacob returned home after being gone for 20 years. And Abraham's lifelong desire to be a father and the blessing of Isaac after 100 years of patiently, faithfully waiting helps me realize that God really does keep His promises - in His own time.
Reading the scriptures each day has made a powerful, positive difference in my life. It's a little bit easier to choose the right when temptations come, and a lot easier to see the hand of God around me.
I think the key for me was scheduling a daily and weekly habit that took me outside of my normal schedule, and took me away from distraction.
I'm glad it happened.
Now hopefully I can keep it up.
Posted by Mormon Guy at 8:20 AM