I had originally planned on writing more on fertility and faith today (I have really been interested in reading about some of the other scriptural women–and their families–who are discussed in these terms), but I am going to save that for now. Our bishop gave such a good talk in church today that, while it isn’t directly a talk on faith, I wanted to share the highlights of what he said. I have changed the concepts slightly (he talked about horse stalls, but housework just fits better for me).
Have you ever considered how much your spiritual life is like housework? When you go to clean a room, your natural tendency is to clear the center of the room. If we can just keep the floor clear and the obvious spaces decluttered, things just don’t look that bad. But the corners…well, they don’t get as much attention because they aren’t always as obvious (if you could only see the two corners I’m between right now–one piled with computer/office type stuff, the other with fabric and craft materials). Anyhow, we frequently approach our spirituality in the same manner. We clean the center of the room–our “public selves”–but neglect the corners. And what are our spiritual corners? Mainly, our thoughts. The things in our head that we can easily hide from the world, but that drive who we truly are.
My bishop said that after pondering on this, he came to the conclusion years ago that the solution was more sports. Sports on Sunday, sports at home, sports every single day. Naturally, he didn’t mean “sports” in a literal sense. He meant SPORTS:
- S: Scripture Study (John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.)
- P: Prayer (James 1:5-6 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (6) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.)
- O: Open you mouth–don’t be afraid to stand for who you are and what you believe. (Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;)
- R: Repentence (3 Nephi 22:22 Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will I receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such I have laid down my life, and have taken it up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.)
- T: Testimony (2 Timothy 1:7-8 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (8) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God)
- S: Service (Mosiah 2:17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.)
At this point, I’m doubting that any of you are (literally or figuratively) slapping your foreheads and saying “Gee, I never would have thought to do those things.” The fact is, they’re pretty much all of the “primary answers” that we give in church every time we are asked how we should be living our lives. Something about how they were all laid out together in such a memorable way, though, really got through to me. Maybe it is because I have been trying to be more mindful of my faith lately. Heck, maybe it was just the fact that Sean and the kids stayed home from church today, so I actually got to listen and digest what was being said. I just know that I was impressed by the simple truth of the message.
If you really want to increase your spirituality, be mindful of the dusty corners of your mind and heart. Study the scriptures, pray, don’t be afraid to open your mouth and testify of those things you know are true, return to the Lord to make things right and repent when you have gone astray, focus on your personal testimony, and serve others with a joyful heart. As simple as it is, it may also be the most difficult path to follow. But the rewards are worth it.
* A note to my non-LDS readers: 3 Nephi and Mosiah are both books found in the Book of Mormon.