Last week during a special time of the month for me I cried to my husband about what a horrible person I am. I don’t know if you do this, but I start to feel a bit like a big ball of flaws, with nothing good to offer to the world, no talents, no hope of ever changing or improving. Sometimes it’s worse than others; inevitably I figure out it’s hormonally induced and things get back into perspective. But often before balance returns I create a list of goals to work on (remember my lists?). I try to figure out what I’m doing wrong and set goals to do better. Though the emotions are cyclically disproportionate to the problems, generally the goals I set are things I really do need to work on.
My biggest concern last week was scripture reading. I read with my family in the evenings before family prayer. I take the scriptures with me to church and read the references that are part of the Sunday School and Relief Society lessons. But my personal scripture reading has been inconsistent and half-hearted at best. So before I could get to sleep after despairing with my husband about why I am so awful, he helped me iron out the details of a new plan to make scripture reading a habit again. A time I can actually get answers to prayers, think about gospel principles, find guidance as a parent and friend.
The first night of my plan I decided I’d study the visiting teaching message. Do you know what the message is this month? Not even kidding, it’s “Search the Scriptures Diligently”. One of the quotes is from President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994): “Success in righteousness, the power to avoid deception and resist temptation, guidance in our daily lives, healing of the soul—these are but a few of the promises the Lord has given to those who will come to His word. . . . Certain blessings are to be found only in the scriptures, only in coming to the word of the Lord and holding fast to it. . . . ”
I’ve stuck with my plan for five days in a row now. I’m not to the point I want to be yet. I want to have the feeling that I cannot imagine not reading my scriptures each day because I am so reliant on the spirit it brings, how it blesses me. But it has been something more than just feeling like I’m checking a to-do off my list. I hope with time and effort it becomes a preposterous thought to miss my scripture reading for any reason. I believe it’s that important, but I need help with “mine unbelief”.
Part of my plan is not just to read, but look for ways and ask others how the scriptures help and bless them. In the current issue of Segullah, Harvest , there is a beautiful essay by Heather Sullivan called, “My Place in the Garden“. She recounts her experience carrying conjoined twin daughters to 28 weeks and then losing them. As she concludes her story she shares some of the peace that has come to her through her understanding and connection with someone from the scriptures. She writes, “So many times I have thought of Abraham. He had been promised posterity to rival the sands of the sea, a family tree with branches unnumbered, bringing the promised Messiah. Yet he had been commanded to cut off the birthright branch. I marvel that given the choice whether or not to obey, he did obey. I think given the option I probably would have chosen to have my daughters stay. But Abraham trusted so completely in the Lord that he consented to sacrifice his dearly loved son. Knowing that Abraham could trust the Lord so fully gives me courage to trust too. I have made covenants regarding my posterity, and though I can’t see the whole design from my place in the garden, I trust that the finished product will be beautiful beyond my imagination.”
Without coming to know Abraham through the scriptures, this portion of peace she has found wouldn’t be possible. Reading her story helped my unbelief.
Now I invite you to share. I need all the help I can get to keep building my belief. What gets in the way of your scripture study? How do you make scripture reading a meaningful habit? Does it bless you when you do it regularly? How has it?