Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Scripture Power?

Last Sunday we had an excellent talk on the scriptures. . . at least I think that's what it was on. Between my twitchy *almost* three year old and my five year old's bloody nose I didn't hear much. However, the few sentences I heard hit me hard.

I've been struggling lately in my scripture study. I don't know why. I mean, I read all the time. Why is it a struggle to read one more thing? I've had times in my life when I felt the Lord's spirit every time I opened my scriptures but not so much now. Some nights when I study the stories (think Alma and Amulek watching the believers get burned or the war chapters) make me feel, well, depressed! Some of the scriptures are just so sad and I just can't take any more sad. Far too often scripture study feels like a burden instead of a gift and I'm not sure how to change that. I know I need to and I suppose prayer is the place to start. . .

What about you all? Do you ever have Church duties that are supposed to make you feel good but end up making you feel worse? What do you do to change your attitude/perspective?

Oh and check out this link to lds.about.com. It's got an inspirational poem and some handy links.

14 comments:

Lura said...

For me, scripture study is almost always a burden. I hate to admit that, but I always have to make myself read, and I have a hard time focusing when I do read. I guess it hasn't always been that way. There have been times in my life when I've read everyday and enjoyed it (for the most part), but the past couple of years, I've really had a hard time getting into it. Sorry I don't have any suggestions, just know that you're not the only one.

Maryam said...

All I gotts to say is Amen sista. I've read 10 books in 4 weeks but I drag my feet with the scriptures. Robert has been gently encouraging me because he knows it will make me happy. Then Sunday I received that message several times and he'd look at me and say "See?" He's right, we correct each other and it is nice because we don't get all crotchety about it. Anywho, I've been reading the Ensign. That helped. love m

Lucy said...

Every Sunday. Especially RS. Hate RS.

Coffinberry said...

My scripture reading goes through phases: sometimes I'm diligent at deeply studying for myself, and sometimes I'm just relying on ancient habits (at bedtime w/ husband, alternating verses through a chapter, and at evening family prayer w/ whole family & any guests present, popcorn-style). I can tell the difference when I'm doing it on my own in addition to the other, but I'm currently stuck in a 3 or 4 year long rut of an ancient habits phase, and I just have to hope it's enough.

Elizabeth-W said...

I think finally, only finally now, is reading the BofM appealing to me. There's a lot of stuff I just don't understand.
It sure sounds like you're not alone. There are other things I'd rather read first, too.

Tyler said...

After I got back from my mission and started school, I promised myself that I'd study the scriptures for at least 30 minutes everyday. For the most part, I've held myself to that, though some days I've failed miserably--especially after the kids came along and my reading for school became more intense. I don't know if I have any suggestions that will work for you, though.

Maybe changing your approach for a day or two might help. My dad once suggested that when I was feeling burdened or depressed that, instead of reading the scriptures straight through, I should turn to the topical guide and read all the references to, say, faith. Sometimes changing the way I study helps me to see the principles in a new light and brings the Spirit more than just reading from front to back everyday.

As for Church duties that I couldn't get into: I served as scoutmaster for just over a year and a half and I hated every minute of it. I loved the boys and loved being with the boys, but I couldn't invest myself--not matter how hard I tried--in the particulars of the program. I think this struggle is one reason God's set his Church up like he has, something I've explored a little in a post at my blog.

Anyway, you asked and that's my two cents worth (okay, maybe one cent worth...but who's counting?).

The Miz said...

Hi, I found your blog through Maryam's. While I am sorry that you go through this, it's nice to know that there more than just me. Of course I know that but some people hide it so well (i.e. me) that you don't see it very often. On thing that really gets me down, and I'm not too sure it is really a duty for me, but having visiting teachers. The reason is is because there are those sisters that you know would have nothing to do with you had they not been assigned and it is always made evident when after they have been re-assigned to someone else they don't even give you the time of day. I've yet to find a solution except to not have any. Dang, that doesn't really help does it?
Rebecca

Kelly said...

Regarding scripture study, I think everyone struggles with this from time to time, if the truth be told. The main thing that helps me is to change the approach once in a while. Take an institute class or a free online course from BYU's continuing education website (I actually enjoyed the quizzes!)

Another time I read the Book of Mormon and looked up all of the cross-references to each verse. I got all the way to Mosiah before giving this one up, and I learned a lot. I'm thinking of taking that style up again and finishing sometime.

Now that I'm in Primary, it's all I can do just to keep up with the Sunday School schedule, even though I don't attend. Which is OK because I have a hard time sitting through the discussions there sometimes.

Regarding callings that are supposed to bring you happiness, well, who ever said serving in the church would be easy? I say this, of course, having had a really rough time the last, say 5 years, with my church callings. I've had to give myself an attitude adjustment by studying scriptures about serving "willingly," not to mention spending lots of time in prayer trying to love the people I served. And I try to remember that it was not at all convenient for the Savior to serve the people in His day, it was not at all joyful for Him to suffer for me, and if I suffer a little (or what feels like a lot) because of or for others, then I am only becoming more like Him. If only I can do it without feeling so grumpy....

Elizabeth-W said...

I LOVE Kelly's idea. I think if I thought of it as a class I might do better. thanks!!

Laura said...

Thanks for all your suggestions. Like Tyler suggested I do the topic study fairly often, but I usually just end up thumbing through the psalms (they have the power to settle me like nothing else!) and wondering if I could ever write that many poems. . .

I have a question for Maryam--does the Ensign count as scripture study? I often tell myself it does. I just wonder what others think.

Lucy-- I feel ya on the RS thing. It was really hard for me for awhile. We have a few women in there now who are honest about their problems and question in their lessons/comments that it produces some great discussions. I've come to enjoy it.

The Miz--thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment! It always makes me feel to good to hear from people. VT can be hard. I get a lot of enjoyment from talking my teachers' ears off. There are days they can't get a word in edgewise :) It's hard because you know the Lord has your growth and best interests in mind but sometimes it is so hard to discern what He could be thinking!

Kelly--Way to say it, girl! Sometimes I forget to connect the dots back to Jesus. Thanks for the reminder :)

Heath#1 said...

Just to add my 2 cents, I think we are all in different seasons of life. We have time to do what we can and we have to step back and remember that, some times we just need to open the scripture to be obedient. One verse may be all you can get to, and survive the day. The Lord knows each of us and our abilities and hearts. One thing is don't let it get you down. If you do read something else and try again. I love Relief Society and look forward to seeing all the sisters and hearing what they have to say. You, Laura always have great and very insightful things to say and I look forward to hearing from you. I have learned in my experiences that the only one who doesn't want you happy is Satan. Heavenly Father hopes for us to find the joy and peace in our lives. Your friendship brings me joy, I think you are a great person.
Good luck with the reading and yes there are somedays that the Ensign counts as scripture time, for it is our modern revelation from a Prophet of the Lord, right? Anyways just wanted to add in there I agree with Kelly too.
Hope it's okay that I stopped in to say HI and a lot more :0)

chris almond said...

it is probably because the scriptures are boring and not well written.

Blessly said...

I get the blues sometimes too, and today I am feeling lonesome. Hebrews 13:5 is a favorite scripture and my heart finds hope in the words of Jeremiah 31:3 "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."
The Psalms are awesome too.
God Bless You, Leslie

Anonymous said...

I'm Catholic so... take that into consideration, but I feel your predicament.

The truth is that no one is free from sadness... and depression is a chemical disorder of the brain which isn't just going to go away if you are "good". Maybe you should go see a doctor about it.

I love the passage from 2 Nephi 2:23-- "And they[Adam and Eve] would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin."

To me, this says that without sadneess, we cannot know joy.

I'd highly recommend if you are having a tough time getting through your scriptures- take Tyler's advice and study some of the specific uplifting passages that can give you joy and comfort. Good luck to you and clearly, you are not alone- ever.