Sunday, March 21, 2010

Something's Gotta Give

I've been meaning to find a little time to jot down some of the impressions I got at Women's Conference last week. I always love going to those. I'm not sure if the speakers are always that amazing, or if I just feel that way because I'm finally able to enjoy listening to one all the way through without being distracted by rambunctious children. I'm gonna split my vote on this one.
This year, our speaker was Curtis Jacobs, an Institute teacher at Utah State, and noted EFY speaker. Though he normally reserves his time for the youth, and various Multi-Stake functions, he happens to be the uncle of a good friend in our ward and as a favor to him, took time from his busy schedule to come speak to our somewhat sparse little Stake.
The theme of his talk was 'Balancing It All.' (For those of you who read the earlier post about me juggling my purse, keys, bowl of pasta, then tumbling down the stairs on my way to this function can now laugh at the irony.)
I admit that I struggle with balancing my life. My priorites seem to shift daily, and with each new situation that arises. Because I'm so UNbalanced, there are a lot of things in my life that lack my attention (housework, for one), and others that get too much (blogging, for one). I'm completely aware of this, but haven't had the energy or motivation to change this sad fact. I think I may have found my motivation in some statistics Bro. Jacobs gave. It was a real eye-opener.

Over 90% of members of the church believe that prayer is important.
Only about 33% of members of the church pray daily.

Over 90% of members of the church believe that the answers to life's questions can be found in the scriptures.
About 33% of members of the church read their scriptures occasionally.
About 20 % of members of the church read their scriptures somewhat often.
About 11% of members of the church read their scriptures daily.

So often, our actions do not reflect our beliefs. Me included. I think I just get so caught up in the busyness of life that I fail to do those things that I KNOW are most important. I am so good about studying my scriptures when I have a lesson to prepare or a talk to give, and at those times, I feel as though I am truly feasting on the word. But when I don't have a calling or a "reason" to study, I'm less likely to put in the time or effort. The same can be said about prayer, which is why I'm intrigued by something I found just today in a talk by Henry B. Eyring from 2001.

"If we become casual in our study of the scriptures, we will become casual in our prayers. We may not cease to pray, but our prayers will become more repetitive, more mechanical, lacking real intent. Our hearts cannot be drawn out to a God we do not know, and the us know Him."

My scripture study lately has consisted of reading one chapter each morning with the kids before school starts. That's it. Not exactly a daily learning experience. It also gives a clue as to how my prayers have been feeling lately. Clearly I have work to do in that department. I know I must do better, and I know I need to rearrange a few things in order to make that happen. I'm encouraged by this quote by Stephen R. Covey, "The key is not to prioritize our schedule, but to schedule our priorities." This really hit home with me, and I'm once again realizing that I MUST get up before the kids to pray and study the scriptures. If I don't, it WILL NOT HAPPEN. My actions must once again reflect my priorities, and I'm committed to make it happen.
I'm acutely aware that I don't have enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I would LIKE, or even feel that I NEED to accomplish. I'm willing to let some things go. The hard part will be figuring out what those things are. Martin Luther puts things into perspective in this way, "I have so much to do today, that I shall start with three hours of prayer." Not that I think all busy days require the precursor of a three hour prayer, but what a testament to the importance of communing with the Father!
I came away from Conference, knowing that the Spirit had impressed some things upon me, not just to have a nice record of, written in my journal, but to be acted upon, and I fully intend to do so.

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