Friday, January 20, 2017

Skipping stones and diving deep

I've made the joke before that I've got spiritual ADD. I find myself so often jumping from one topic to another, one scripture to another, one lesson to another, that I often feel more like a stone skipping across the surface of the water than a deep-sea diver. 

Sometimes I don't even skim. I sit at my desk with my scriptures in front of me and I seem unable to choose from all the options before me. I could read my scriptures chronologically, or by topic; I could study the principles Jesus taught, or focus on His stories; I could look for lessons learned, or blessings promised; I could research prophecies and their fulfillment. 

You see the problem here? I want to know it all. I want to read it all. How can I choose? So, sometimes, I don't.

It's a tragedy, really.  Too much bounty equals starving me.

This is why I love to write. It focuses my study. It gives me purpose and direction. I need that. Without a purpose, direction, a tangible end in mind, I have the natural tendency to spin my wheels and get no where.  I feast, not pick. I dive, not skim. I think of 1 Corinthians 2:10:" . . . for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."

I want to dive deep and find those things.

I believe that we can find God in every aspect of life. Just take a walk outside or look into the starts at night and you can see Him. But, there is more to God than the beauties of the earth; there is more to know that the things we can see with our eyes. But how can we find them?  I mean, do you ever feel like a skipping stone, bouncing on the surface, never stopping long enough to get too deep?

Maybe you're mind is whirling with family, work, or community responsibilities. Heaven knows (literally) that every day we are pulled in a million different directions. How do we find time to dive deep?

The answer is the same for all of us . . . and different for each one of us.

The answer that applies to all of us is this: we choose to.  We decide we want to get more than our feet wet.

When we do this, we take responsibility for the things we learn and feel. We don't wait for the ocean to engulf us; we jump into the ocean.

Then comes the answer that is different for each of us--the answer to how we will dive. As I mentioned above, the how that works for me is having some sort of direction or purpose.

For example, my latest Work in Progress is about how mother's can lean on Jesus for support and strength. I spent months studying about Jesus and His relationship to women and mothers, and evaluating His influence in my mothering. I dove deep.

When my son left to serve a two-year mission for my church, I wanted him take my testimony with him. So, I bought a set of brand new scriptures, and I spent a few months marking them for him. I underlined passages with meaning to me, highlighted passages and added to them messages for him. I read and marked scriptures in a way I never had before; every word I read, I read for him. I dove deep, and I grew to love the power of the scriptures, and my son, more. (More than two years later, my son has returned home and is away at college. He texted me the other morning out of the blue just to tell me he read from my scriptures that morning, and that he loves them. Meant the world to me.)

When I am asked to speak to a group of women, I never give the same exact presentation twice. I can't. The women in each group are different, and I want to give them a message for them, not just one I've memorized. When I prepare for speaking engagements, I dive deep.

This doesn't mean that I spend an hour every day in thorough study. But, it does mean that I adjust my schedule to allow more that a passing minute to read a verse. I'll admit, some days get away from my, and I find that skipping a stone is better than nothing at all. But, on the whole, when I am diving deep on a regular basis, I feel fully submerged in His word. I feel different--I am different.  

Ask yourself: Am I skipping stones? Or am I diving deep?

If you find that you're skipping stones, then remember the first step: choose to dive. Want to dive. I know you're busy with a thousand things you need to do every day, but doing a good thing isn't always a good thing when it keeps you from what's best.  

That will bring you to step 2: Find a way that works for you. Most of you won't sit and write a book (although I highly recommend it!).  Pick a topic, a person, a book to study, and then dive!  Write a talk or short essay on something, just for the sake of study and learning. Study a parable or story as if you were going to teach it to someone else. Buy an inexpensive set of scriptures and mark all the verses pertaining to faith, or charity, hope.

There are so many ways you can dive deep into the things of God. 

Ask God for direction. He's completely invested in you and your spiritual growth. He knows exactly what you can study to help you reach those deep things of God.

Peter was a fisherman when he met Jesus. After a long night of working and fishing, Peter had caught none, and was out washing his fishing net. Jesus asked him if he could use his boat as a floating classroom, if you will. They launched out into the lake and Jesus taught the people for a while. When He was finished, he turned His attention back to Simon (Peter) and said, "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught (or catch)" (Luke 5:4).  Peter doubted, telling Jesus that he just had a nonprofitable night of fishing. But here's what made Peter great. He then said, " . . . nevertheless, at they word I will let down the net" (Luke 5:5). And he did. And he caught do many fish that his net broke, as he fished in the deep. 

Don't skip stones. Cast your net out and try different things. Include Him in your study. Launch out into the deep. Then be prepared to receive inspiration, answers, knowledge, and blessing so great that they just might break your proverbial net.
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