At the last General Conference, President Russel M. Nelson said, “Thank you for your desire to make your homes true sanctuaries of faith, where the Spirit of the Lord may dwell.”
Over the months of no church, I think this was our desire and result. Think about what our homes have become over the last few months. Our homes have become places of learning where our families gain secular and spiritual knowledge. Our homes have become a refugee from the pandemic storm where we can give thanks that for one day more (and hopefully many more days) the pandemic has not entered. Our homes have become safe where we don’t have to wear a mask. In some cases, our homes have become a Mission Training Center where I am sure there was less yelling and better choice of media.
I suggest that valiant saints have made spiritual progress during the pandemic. We are studying Come Follow Me with more intent. We are gathering our family together for family prayer because everyone was home. We follow a prophet and participated in a Global Fast. We reached out to family, friends, and neighbors to make sure they were okay. In summary, became Saintlier.
These gains were possible because the Lord gave us time to reset. For a bit or for longer, we could jump off the treadmill of life and decide what is of most importance. Our families. Our faith. Our covenants.
Now that in many places, life is opening up. We are going to restaurants. We are going to the movies. We are going back to work. We are going to school. We are going to weekly church services. As this happens, we need to ask ourselves how will we keep the spiritual gains we have made during the pandemic?
I suggest we make sure our big rocks, that we enlarged during the pandemic, are placed into our life jar before we add the gravel, sand, and water of life.
I am referring to an object lesson often taught by Dr. Stephen R. Covey. The author of a great book titled “Spiritual Roots of Human Relations” (yeah, he wrote another famous Book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” too). Dr. Covey used the illustration to talk about a paradigm shift that allows us to fit all of life without sacrificing the most important (i.e., The big rocks).
Picture your life like a one-gallon wide mouth Mason jar. Into the jar, you pour a cup of gravel, a cup of sand, and a cup of water. Since there is still room at the top, you start placing the big important rocks like spirituality, family time, personal development, and relationships. You will soon find they don’t all fit.
Dr. Covey’s paradigm shift is to first put in the big rocks, then add the gravel and the sand, the water. It all fits.
So, as we start to unwind, I am suggesting that we don’t push aside our big rocks, but rather we first make room for them and then let life hit us.
One way we can do that is to not rush back into a normal life (i.e., pre-pandemic) or even a new normal life. Add time commitments slowly so that you don’t chip off parts of a big rock. In other words, unwind your life like a rose rather than a dandelion.
Do you have other suggestions how to keep the spiritual gains while we unwind our lives?