We’ve all gone through stages in life when we feel completely overwhelmed, stretched thin, and in complete survival mode. One of the first times I remember feeling this way was when I was accepted into a nursing program after high school. There were long hours of studying at the library, cramming for weekly exams, lab and clinical hours, plus my other college courses… I struggled, big time. As I would leave for my crack-of-dawn morning classes (okay, maybe not that early, but it sure felt like it!), I would pass by my roommate’s bedroom and see her studying her scriptures. I remember thinking to myself that maybe if the nursing program wasn’t so demanding of my time, I would for sure include morning scripture study in my schedule. The truth is I did have the time, but I was “too busy” focusing on college exams than the test God was handing me.
Years later, I entered motherhood. I should have had all the answers by this point, right? Wrong! Three kids within four years and sure enough, I found myself struggling with the weight of responsibilities and the demands of motherhood. Once again, those things my spirit needed most during a time of hardship were set aside. I remember thinking, “As soon as the baby is sleeping through the night, then I’ll get back into scripture study.” Or “When they’re old enough to leave with a babysitter, then I’ll attend the temple regularly.” I even thought once the kids started school, I could finally get into family history. God must have laughed at that one because He led our family to homeschooling. Ha!
During these crazy times in our lives, there is nothing wrong with giving ourselves a little grace. He understands our circumstances. However, there is much danger in thinking that living the gospel to its fullest will be easier when we have more time, or when it’s more convenient with our hectic schedules. We may never face a life or death situation as Elder Gerard experienced, but if we allow the spiritual matters to sit on the backburner, we face another sort of death--- spiritual death. We can’t allow ourselves to be complacent in the gospel and allowing procrastination to keep us from progressing onward and upward.
Trials will continue to arise, the world will always be demanding for our time, and distractions around us will not cease. We must place God first in our busy schedules, especially if we feel like we don’t have the time. As a student convinced there was no time for anything else outside of my studies, I truly needed more studying...but from the scriptures. And with every new stage of motherhood where I felt exhausted and depleted, what I needed most was to put more effort into prayer for comfort and strength. It was only when I put Christ first that I began to feel peace and comfort in the midst of the chaos, and He began to lift me up during my lows. As I increased my faith and time with the Lord, He blessed me with an increase of strength and hope and oh, how happy we should be that we are all within reach of His helping hand!
Elder Gerard instructs us to assess our lives, reflect where we stand before the Lord, and make any necessary adjustments to “ensure a firm grip and forward gaze.” Wherever we are on the covenant path, choose today to draw closer to Him. Start now to be converted, committed, and all in because all we have is today, and “today is the perfect time to change”.
Read Elder Gerard's full address here.
Family Home Evening
Song: Hold to the Rod
Message: Elder Gerard relates worldly distractions to Lehi’s dream. Read, or summarize, the story of the Lehi’s dream and explain how some wandered off the path because their hands weren’t firmly affixed to the iron rod.
Activity: Tape a long string from one starting point in your house to another. Have child(ren) close eyes and navigate through the home, holding tightly to the “iron rod” leading them from room to room. Have celebratory treats prepared for holding firmly to the “iron rod” for them to partake the sweetness of the “Tree of Life”.
Download or Handout
Download “Today is the perfect time to change” reminder card below. Ponder and assess the use of your time. Are there spiritual matters that have been set aside because of the distractions of the world? Fill in the blank and tape the postcard someplace where you will see the card every morning, reminding you of your spiritual goal and that we can start TODAY to draw closer to our Savior and deepen our conversion.
Download image and send to your ministering sisters to use as a screen saver and a text with your favorite message from this talk. Your screen saver will be a beautiful reminder every time you look at your phone t put God first in your day.
Faith in Action
Assess your use of technology and what you can do to not let it become a distraction this week. Maybe that means leaving your phone in the other room, setting it to Do Not Disturb during certain hours, turning off all notifications, or maybe only allowing yourself to check social media AFTER you’ve met your spiritual goals for the day. Now is the time to make adjustments and limitations from these distractions! You’ve got this!