Increasing our faith today

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“On my road of infertility, I have felt that my faith has been exhausted. In fact, there have been times that I wanted to ask Heavenly Father why He was not recognizing my faith. After all, I was praying, going to church, serving in my calling, fasting,

attending the temple. I have learned that it is essential to our spiritual survival to be constantly cultivating our faith, even if our faith seems to go unnoticed. Our faith can be expanded as we believe and repeatedly choose to live obediently. Elder David S. Baxter taught us that ‘faith is like spiritual oxygen. As we allow faith to freely flow within us, it awakens and enlivens our spiritual senses. It breathes life into our very souls. As faith flows, we become sensitively attuned to the whisperings of the Spirit.

Our minds are enlightened, our spiritual pulse quickens, our hearts are touched’ (“Faith, Service, Constancy,” Ensign, November 2006, 13).

“Faith can transform us because the Spirit is more abundantly with us when we have faith. Faith changes our perspectives, gives meaning to our lives, and destroys despair.

makingListResized“Recently, Joel and I decided that we needed to do an inventory of our faithfulness and the level of our discipleship; after all, there must be some ways our spiritual senses could be enlivened. We sat down one Sunday evening to discuss what we could do to increase our faith. I do not feel that we were faithless prior to the discussion, but I did think we needed to take inventory of our busy lives on the plateau of comfort and find some ways to start climbing again. We inventoried our scripture study, prayers, fasting, and temple attendance. We could have evaluated our family home evenings, how we serve in our callings, what we do to help other people, and many other things, but we did not want to overwhelm ourselves. We spent several months improving our scripture study, committing to petitioning our Heavenly Father more sincerely, fasting with greater intent, and seeking the Spirit in the temple.

“I encourage you to sit down with your spouse and determine very specific things YOU can do to increase your faith; you are probably much more faithful than we and won’t need as much of an overhaul. I cannot adequately express the difference these changes made in my personal life, and in our marriage. My trials did not disappear. I did, however, see small yet significant miracles: feeling greater joy in my life, an increased desire to absorb the teachings of the scriptures, feeling closer to the Spirit, and an increase in the quality of my prayers (I actually talk to Heavenly Father and discuss things with Him). Additionally, I received strength as I served in my calling, I noticed a deeper love for my husband, and I felt a greater capacity to endure the challenges we faced together. What a difference it made. I truly felt my spiritual pulse quickened.

“Do an inventory of your faith. Decide what you can do to get off of the plateau you are on. Start climbing again” (an excerpt from my book…pages 116-117).

It is often overwhelming to think about all that we need to do spiritually. Start in one place. Choose to improve one thing. Make a written commitment and plan for that improvement. You can even open a notebook and…

  1. Make a list of areas you would like to improve (it is always a good idea to do this personally and with your spouse).
  2. In each area, list what you are currently doing (I think this is the hardest part because you are admitting reality, which is eye-opening and sometimes embarrassing–that is NORMAL).
  3. List what you would like to ideally be doing (remember you don’t have to achieve perfection).
  4. Decide what might be keeping you from doing the action right now.
  5. Determine specific steps and actions you can make to accomplish the ideal; include times, days, locations, and other details.
  6. Choose a reward. I hate to say it, but often times, we are motivated by a reward. Is that so wrong?
  7. Finally, choose one to start on tomorrow. Work on that one thing, in addition to whatever you might already be doing for 2 weeks and then evaluate. Make necessary adjustments and work again for a period of time.

An example…

Step 1–Area I would like to improve: Scripture Reading and Study

Step 2–What I am already doing: I read the scriptures associated with my Primary lesson on Saturday night while I am preparing for Sunday.

Step 3–What I would like to ideally be doing: Reading the scriptures every day for 10 minutes.

Step 4–What is keeping me from doing this right now?

  • Reading scriptures at night doesn’t work because I am so tired or I get wrapped up in television, working on projects, talking to my spouse, etc.
  • I have a hard time getting up early in the morning.
  • I don’t know where to start my reading. Choosing a place to start reading is overwhelming to me.

Step 5–Steps to accomplish:

  • I will get up 10 minutes earlier. I will have my husband wake me up and remind me of my reward (see below).
  • I will read in my favorite green chair by the light of my lamp.
  • I will read for 10 minutes.
  • I will start in Enos, read all the way through the Book of Mormon and then start at the beginning to finish 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, and Jacob (those first 3 books are always daunting to me with the Isaiah chapters and the allegory of the olive tree).

Step 6–Choose a reward: If I can read each day for a week, I can go to my favorite restaurant for lunch on Saturday (and have a Saturday soda).

Just try it with one thing and see if it works. Sometimes when we make a plan with attainable and tangible parts, it is easier to accomplish our goals. You might just surprise yourself!

 

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