Archive for the ‘procrastination’ Tag

On Probation

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:20, Alma 12:24, Alma 34:2

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit one of the consequences is that they would die.  They would die spiritually, in that they would be separated from God.  And, they would die physically in that their spirits would be separated from their bodies.  However, this second physical death did not come right away.  This allowed Adam and Eve time to repent before their death, giving the opportunity to also reclaim spiritual life and become worthy to be reunited with God.  In 2 Nephi 2:20 it says:

And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men.

We also, like Adam and Eve, are currently in a probationary period where we are given the opportunity to repent and return to God.  In Alma 12:24 it says:

And we see that death comes upon mankind, yea, the death which has been spoken of by Amulek, which is the temporal death; nevertheless there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state which has been spoken of by us, which is after the resurrection of the dead.

Sometimes in my life I find it hard to keep focused on improving spiritually.  There is so much to do, and much of it is important, so it is easy for me to procrastinate spiritual goals for a “better time.”  However, we only have this life to repent so every day is precious.  We may be able to progress in the spirit world after death, but it will be much harder than it is during this life.  For the past month I have been trying hard to put spiritual goals first and it has been a great blessing for me as I am progressing faster spiritually than I have for a long time.

Today I am going to read the lesson for Relief Society and Sunday School this Sunday.  Almost every Saturday I plan to read the lesson, but since Saturdays are usually very busy I rarely actually follow through and read them.  So, instead of procrastinating until the last minute I’m going to read them early this week.

What spiritual goals do you procrastinate? How do you fight the habit of procrastination?

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Building Zion is Up To Us

Reading: “Come to Zion,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 2008 General Conference, Saturday Afternoon Session

All throughout the scriptures we hear of Zion, a glorious community of Saints where everyone lives together in peace and no one wants for anything because everyone shares.  Today, we have been told that it is our dispensation that will build Zion up.  Elder Christofferson points this out and then says,

Zion is Zion because of the character, attributes, and faithfulness of her citizens. Remember, “the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). If we would establish Zion in our homes, branches, wards, and stakes, we must rise to this standard. It will be necessary (1) to become unified in one heart and one mind; (2) to become, individually and collectively, a holy people; and (3) to care for the poor and needy with such effectiveness that we eliminate poverty among us. We cannot wait until Zion comes for these things to happen—Zion will come only as they happen. [emphasis added]

Rather than look forward and say, “Won’t it be nice when we all live in Zion?” we should be saying, “What can I do to bring Zion into being?”

All three of the things he lists are things that I can do right now in my life.  I can become unified in my family by being patient and loving.  I can become unified in my ward by trying harder to get to know the people around me and become friends with them.  I can become a holy person by trying harder to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I can care for the poor and needy by sharing both my talents through service and my financial prosperity with others.

Too often I have seen people (including myself) sit by and think, when this happens or when that happens, then everything will be better.  And yet, in truth those things we look forward to, whether it be completing a project, or moving to a new place, or simply getting older, most often do not turn out to be the big change we expected it to be.  The big changes, however, come when we take it upon ourselves to make the changes happen inside of us.  Or, when we go through a circumstance that requires us to change.  To me, Elder Christofferson’s talk was a call to see what we can do now, rather than waiting for the future to come on its own.

Other than generally trying to do the things I listed above, today I am specifically going to organize the pile of boxes in my bedroom that are still there from our move a month and a half ago.  I know this may not seem very spiritual, but I have been wanting to get our home settled and organized for many weeks and it has been too easy to put that project off. When I do, my home will be more peaceful and inviting, which is important for my family.  Rather than just look forward to the day in the future when my home is what I want it to be, I am going to work today to bring that future to pass.

What can you do to bring Zion into being right now?

Making the Team

Reading: “Preparing for Missionary Service,” Elder Daryl H. Garn, Liahona, May 2003

If you have as a goal to someday play on some kind of elite sports team, then you will do all you can to make yourself good enough to get onto that team.  You will practice, you will study strategies, you will talk with experts and learn from them.

In this talk, Elder Garn makes the point that preparing for a mission should be like preparing to get onto a sports team.  You do not join a team hoping that you will learn how to play during your participation.  So, you should do all you can before you serve a mission to be ready to be part of the greatest missionary team in the world.

He quoted President Hinckley as saying:

We simply cannot permit those who have not qualified themselves as to worthiness to go into the world to speak the glad tidings of the gospel. (First Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting, Jan. 2003, 17)

I remember hearing all kinds of stories as a youth about how young men went on missions with weak testimonies and came back with strong ones.  The idea was that if we can just get them to go on a mission, then we can save them from whatever bad things they have done in their life.  You can quickly see how this attitude would have a detrimental affect on missionary work.  If you send out unprepared, feeble missionaries, they may become stronger over time, but it will be at the cost of the work they could have done.  You will lose investigators and the work of the Lord will be diminished.

This reminds me of a scripture:

And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. (Alma 34:33)

Whether it is a missionary work, or going to the temple, or death, we are always tempted to put off our preparation until the last minute.  It seems like there will always be more time, and there are more immediate things to work on.  Now is always the time for me, for your, for everyone to prepare to serve and to meet God.  If we put off our work we may find that we do not have the skills necessary to, in essence, “make the team.”

Today I am going to come up with a plan to improve our family prayer and scripture study.  Between the move, my husband going back to school, and just general life business we have not done so well lately.  I have been putting it off, thinking it will be better to wait until the house is unpacked, or I come back from our trip, or my husband is more settled into his new routine.  However, I now am sure that NOW is always the best time to prepare spiritually for the future.

What are you doing, or what do you need to do, to “make the team”?

Spiritual Preparation

Reading: “Spritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” Henry B. Eyring, Liahona, Nov 2005

Preparedness extends beyond preparing for natural disasters, Elder Eyring states in this article.  While the church does encourage us to prepare for physical needs in the future, it is even more important to prepare spiritually for trials that may come.  He said:

So, the great test of life is to see whether we will hearken to and obey God’s commands in the midst of the storms of life. It is not to endure storms, but to choose the right while they rage.

If we are going to succeed in overcoming our trials, we must be prepared before they come.  I witnessed this yesterday.  We are working on moving to another apartment, and the past few days have been pretty busy.  In fact, the past few weeks have been busy, and I have not been taking care of myself like I should.  Because I had not been taking care of myself, this week has been a lot harder than it could have been.  I was not prepared for the trial when it came.

There are four areas that Elder Eyring suggests we prepare now rather than later:

  1. Studying the scriptures
  2. Praying regularly and sincerely
  3. Paying tithing
  4. Repenting of any sins that trouble us

The thing that Elder Eyring emphasizes over and over again in this talk is that we must be early and consistent in our efforts to really gain the benefits.  One example I thought applied well to me personally is that it is so much easier to pay tithing when you pay it right away, and when all your other finances are in order.  When you get behind, though, it is so much harder to catch up than it would have been to just keep up.

I was definitely inspired by this talk to be more consistent in those areas he mentioned.  Oftentimes I have good intentions, but procrastination gets the best of me.  Elder Eyring said,

Learning to start early and to be steady are the keys to spiritual preparation. Procrastination and inconsistency are its mortal enemies.

A lot of times when I write my resolution for the day, I forget about it and don’t think about it until the next day.  So, today my resolution is to work on my resolution right away rather than later.  Or, if that’s not possible, to do it at my first opportunity.

How do you fight off procrastination?  What helps you to be more consistent in the daily spritual stuff?