I’ve noticed that I can get weary easily. I run, run, run throughout the day to get everything done, and by 4 or 5 pm I’m depleted. I drag myself to the kitchen to make dinner, and have nothing left of myself for the family, sometimes until the next morning.
So when I attended a special meeting on a Sunday night in August of 2014 with my teenagers, and the speaker began talking about something that would give them power, strength, and endurance to face (and conquer) their day with strength, and to overcome all that challenges their sense of identity as children of God or which puts at risk their ability to enjoy true happiness in spite of their difficulties, I listened, for my own sake.
Then I tried what he suggested, and it worked!
I’m sharing this with you now because it provides a good reminder:
He reminded us of the power that comes from studying the scriptures. Not just reading here and there to say you did, but to really search them, make them a priority. He said that missionaries who dedicate two years of their life to serving God have incredible stamina, extra strength, and tenacious endurance, because they get up early and study the scriptures for an hour every day.
However, there are some sad statistics indicating that when missionaries return home, within 2 weeks, 8 out of 10 of them find themselves neck-deep in pornography, and within a year, 1 out of 3 of them find themselves without faith.
Faith is the fuel of life. It is the source of true happiness. To believe in God even if you can’t see Him is to find happiness when life is difficult, to find joy in spite of difficulty. Life is hard for all of us, but those who find faith also find joy anyway.
So how do these missionaries lose ground so quickly? He said that when they come home, they get back with friends and family and stay up late into the night sharing stories from their mission, miracles they witnessed, faith-promoting experiences that would surely change their life forever.
Then in the morning, the voice in their head says, “You served an honorable mission, I’m so proud of you. You deserve a little break.” So they sleep in, and then stay up late again the next night, visiting with more friends and family, sharing more faith-promoting stories, and then sleeping in the next day.
These fine young missionaries haven’t slept in a single day for two years, and now they’re enjoying a little break. After all, they deserve it, right?
But in the morning, they wake late and don’t have time to study their scriptures for an hour like they’ve done for the previous two years. They are not replenishing the oil in their lamp, and within two weeks, it’s gone. So when they find themselves playing a game on the computer (or surfing Facebook perhaps), and pornography pops up, they don’t have the strength to click off.
The contrast of feelings is overwhelming. The heaviness and loss of self control they feel is completely the opposite of the joy and freedom they experienced on their mission. Some wake up at that point and do the hard things to put their life back on track, but some don’t, and within a year have totally lost sight of who they are and how to live strong and happy.
The source of that strength they felt for the two years prior was the Word of God.
So as I listened to the speaker, I realized that I have been feeling weary because I have not made scripture study the priority that it has been at other times in my life. I might read every day, but it hasn’t been first thing in the morning. I can see the wisdom of making an intentional study at the beginning of the day, to provide the strength, the oil for my lamp, that I will need for the following 16 hours. No wonder I’ve been running out of stamina after only about 8.
So I began again yesterday, waking early, eager to study the scriptures first. And the inspiration I received has helped me and my family turn a corner. It feels good. I had all the strength I needed until I eventually hit the sack at 11. I felt like I was my better self practically the whole day.
I need this strength. Life is hard and beats us down on a daily basis. But I’ve just re-discovered the power, strength, and endurance that comes from feasting on the Word of God.
(My scripture of choice that day was Isaiah, for Christ said, “search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1) – I’m telling you what, that’s no small task, but even the effort alone provided the oil for my lamp that I needed that day.)
Here’s wishing you all the best. May your family enjoy an increase of peace, prosperity, and happiness this year, and in the years to come!