This week has definitely been slower than usual. Nevertheless, good did come out of it.
We have been trying to find solutions to problems that we are facing. Not major problems, but small ones that make a big difference. Scheduling our time best, avoiding imminent distractions (wink wink, nudge nudge) (not really, but here and there), and making sure that we are doing everything that we need to be doing. We have tried almost everything in the book. We have sat down for periods of time to plan everything out, were more diligent at our routines, rearranged our furniture to create a different atmosphere. They all do help: “The Lord deserves our very best, and we cannot give that to Him without good, careful planning”(M.Russell Ballard,”MTC Devotional”); routines help us to do everything we need to, and a different environment definitely helps you to form better habits and restart again. The one linchpin that was missing though was the daily Gospel solutions that nourish, satisfy, and fulfill. We did everything that we could using worldly solutions to find an answer. We used all that we knew, but it was missing the most important part. Maybe this will demonstrate what we experienced:
“It is precisely because these principles are plain and simple that many times they are not considered when there are challenges to face that affect family life. At times we have the tendency to think that the more serious the problem, the bigger and more complex the solution should be. That idea can lead us, for example, to seek help from people or institutions outside the home when in reality the most effective solution will come by applying the glorious principles of the gospel in our homes in the small actions and duties of everyday life. The scriptures remind us “that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6)”. (Fransisco J. Viñas,”Applying the Simple and Plan Gospel Principles in the Family,” Ensign May 2004.)
Worldy solutions may build and help, but gospel solutions fill and complete. But does this apply to all things?
“A few years ago, I spoke with a young bishop who was spending hours each week counseling with members of his ward. He made a striking observation. The problems that members of his ward faced, he said, were those faced by Church members everywhere—issues such as how to establish a happy marriage; struggles with balancing work, family, and Church duties; challenges with the Word of Wisdom, with employment, or with pornography; or trouble gaining peace about a Church policy or historical question they didn’t understand.”
“His counsel to ward members very often included getting back to simple practices of faith, such as studying the Book of Mormon—as we were counseled by President Thomas S. Monson to do—paying tithing, and serving in the Church with devotion. Frequently, however, their response to him was one of skepticism: ‘I don’t agree with you, Bishop. We all know those are good things to do. We talk about those things all the time in the Church. But I’m not sure you’re understanding me. What does doing any of those things have to do with the issues I’m facing?”’
“It’s a fair question. Over time, that young bishop and I have observed that those who are deliberate about doing the “small and simple things”7—obeying in seemingly little ways—are blessed with faith and strength that go far beyond the actual acts of obedience themselves and, in fact, may seem totally unrelated to them. It may seem hard to draw a connection between the basic daily acts of obedience and solutions to the big, complicated problems we face. But they are related. In my experience, getting the little daily habits of faith right is the single best way to fortify ourselves against the troubles of life, whatever they may be. Small acts of faith, even when they seem insignificant or entirely disconnected from the specific problems that vex us, bless us in all we do.”
I know that these truths are ones that change us forever. Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass.