I have learned to manage my yard and garden by having a tiny habit. I go outside, put on my gloves and spend one minute weeding, watering, clipping or picking my large perennial and vegetable gardens–every day. Because I enjoy gardening so much, I almost always spend more time than one minute. That tiny commitment to my yard has made it feel easy to take care of instead of overwhelming. I was gone this summer and I was incredulous how terrible my front yard looked when I got back. Five foot high weeds, two dead boxwood plants, and a mass of tiny weedy ground cover took over so quickly. The evidence of my previous three months of consistent, careful tending was completely gone.
How does our spiritual landscape look? It has to be carefully and joyfully tended to. Elder Neal A. Maxwell, in a talk called The Inexhaustible Gospel, said:
“ In fact, Joseph Smith’s translation of Jesus’ lamentation—about how those in his time had lost the “key of knowledge”—provides a definition; it adds five words defining what the word key means: “the fulness of the scriptures”.’
Jesus said the “key of knowledge“, of knowing what is a big deal and what isn’t, what to spend our time on, and especially now, more than ever, what the truth is, is found in the “fulness of the scriptures.” We have to do the work to find this knowledge, to read from tissue thin pages of archaic old English, so it’s understandable that people don’t make time for it.
There are so many other ways to “read” the scriptures now than ever before. So many Youtube channels and podcasts are available. For me, I try to use these resources with the scriptures in front of me, otherwise I don’t remember what I have learned.
Are we using these precious, defining keys to move our lives forward? To get personal revelation that will guide us? This time in prayer and scripture study has given me so much comfort, direction and strength! For instance:
- I am told who needs my help every day.
- I was told recently at the temple how much my Heavenly Father loves me. This came without me asking, just a shower of warmth and love enveloping me. Being filled and covered at the same time with love and light was amazing!
- I was told a certain son would go on a mission when it looked very unlikely. That helped me and my husband to hang in there, to keep focusing on the positive things he was doing.
- I was praying desperately for something and the Spirit told me, that this particular issue was going to take a long time. It wasn’t that my prayers weren’t being answered but that God was honoring someone else’s free agency. I was so grateful for that understanding. It has helped me to be patient and let God prevail.
- I have been comforted over and over again.
- The mother guilt that we mothers put on ourselves, has been alleviated many times as I get on my knees and get reassured, once again, that my children’s choices are theirs to own.
When we are trying to change our lives and instill new habits so many obstacles arise. We have to fight the obstacles and figure out a strong cue in order to start, as Brad Wilcox says, “learning heaven”. My strong cue is right after I exercise, I open my scriptures. This is a significant choice and practice to build our families on the foundation of Christ. We can only do this if we are willing to use our precious time and invest daily in this relationship with Him. For me, this process has taken many years until it has become the favorite part of my day, when I can drink deeply. Reading the scriptures and connecting with God and Jesus Christ everyday switched from a :
- Duty— I should
- Habit—I must
- Nourishment—I feast
It’s okay to be dutiful, to start with a tiny habit to get going. I believe you will find as I have that feeling connected to the Spirit as much as I can, is worth the time I spend clearing away the weeds and debris that threaten to overwhelm me. Isn’t God so good to give us the key of knowledge in order to navigate through this swirling, chaotic world?