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Friday Minute: Friday Minute: 10 habits to discard for spiritual peace

Published: Friday, April 1 2011 6:30 a.m. MDT

With the disclaimer that all lists are fluid, here is Part 2 of my previous article, "What to seek, what to trash." In no particular order, these discards may clear the clouds of unrest to allow a rainbow of peace in our souls.

1. Selfishness. Some cling to selfishness as a lifestyle. Like barnacles on a ship of emotional rust, the more we allow selfishness to hang around, the harder it is to remove. By loving God enough to give away our crustiest selves, we gain our true self-worth. Freed from the fetters of self-pleasing, we are free to please God by serving others.

2. Shock music/Shock radio. Ratings drive the music industry and talk radio. Shock-jocks don’t care about "the peaceable things of the kingdom" (Doctrine and Covenants 39:6). Wean yourself from the miasma of gut-knotting rhythm and hate-debate. When you listen to hymns and scriptures on CD, your drive-time will shift from "wells without water" (2 Peter 2:17) to a wellspring of peace.

3. Sloth. Nothing saps our energy like the energy it takes to do nothing. Slow of foot is one thing, but slow to respond to our own eternal potential is a waste of life.

4. Sleazy TV. Far from the "Leave It To Beaver" generation, even today’s commercials require gunslinger-reflexes to trigger the clicker to tamer images. One family in my ward has no TV at all. They actually interact with one another. I’m addicted to the BYU channel and "Cake Boss," but the variety of non-sleazy selections is narrowing. Tune out Babylon; turn on Bethlehem.

5. Gutter talk. Bridling our tongue is the diction of perfection: "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body" (James 3:2).

6. Slaves to schedules and lists. Your schedule and to-do lists are means, not ends. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list" (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Of Things That Matter Most," Ensign, November 2010).

7. Diversions. Wholesome recreation is good, but when we crave 24/7 entertainment to feel better about ourselves, we risk addiction to diversion itself. Such addiction saps the very leisure time we seek. No wonder "twitter all day" rhymes with "fritter away."

8. Clutter. Our family recently cleaned out the pantry and fridge, trashing mounds of expired food. What was that green moldy thing? Meat or cheese? Like a Saturday house cleaning, our spirits also crave order. By de-cluttering moldy habits, especially procrastination, we foster an environment of learning. But remember that no one can lead others from chaos to order without first undergoing a mighty self-cleaning.

9. Pleasing everybody. Moms know this syndrome. They nurture by nature, and we sometimes take advantage. Pleasing everybody else is not only self-defeating; it is exhausting. Pace yourself. The Lord knows your heart.

10. Control. Control is not leadership. Controlling others is a loss of self-control. The Savior led with love. The only thing we can control is our will, and for disciples, even that must be given away by "offering (our) whole souls" (Omni 1:26) to Christ.

Less is More

By losing the things that weigh us down, we gain the things that lift us up. Such is the law of gravity. Such is our love for the Lord.

William Monahan is a 1980 graduate of BYU Law School. He practices law and teaches Law and Ethics. A former Phoenix stake president and current high councilor for the QC Chandler Heights Stake, he is active in Interfaith and is a U.S. Air Force veteran.

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