I’ve been less active in the church for a couple of years now. I’m not ready — or want — to go back right away, but I was wondering if you could suggest some things I could do as I contemplate the possibility of returning to church. Please keep in mind that I don’t want to meet with the missionaries and I don’t want the Relief Society president visiting me or anything like that.
Dear Considering Girl,
There are many simple things that you can do as you contemplate increasing your church activity. I’ll give you a list of three and then hopefully those who comment on this article will share some more.
Prayer — All things church-related are designed to bring you closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Prayer is one of those things you can do no matter where you are. If you’re not ready to attend an actual church service, begin communing with God by simply speaking to him. If praying feels awkward (“Is anyone actually listening?”) just say a short one to start. The more you do it, the more natural it will become and the more you’ll feel a desire to do other things that will bring you closer to your Heavenly Father.
Listen to the Hymns — Studying the scriptures may not be something you feel like doing — yet. So a great place to start is listening to the hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hymns are scriptures, too, and the same themes that fill the wonderful pages of the Bible and the Book of Mormon can be accessed at LDS.org. Choose a couple to listen to each morning and night. Your mind will feel clear; your heart will feel happy; and you’ll begin to enjoy a sweet peace every day.
Choose a commandment — Lifestyle changes don’t happen overnight. You can, however, make small adjustments that make you feel good and that propel you in the right direction. Think of a commandment that you can remember (it doesn’t matter which one!) and try to live it for one day. Once you’ve successfully done that, try to live it for a few days, then a week, and so on until it becomes a part of you. The Lord has promised us that when we keep his commandments, he immediately blesses us. If you can get yourself started by choosing one commandment to live, you will be able to experience that very promise for yourself.
Considering Girl, these are just a few things to get you going. Be patient with yourself. Your Father in Heaven loves you and will help you progress if you continue to be open to the promptings that he’s already given you. Remember, many people have been less active at one time or another in their lives, but there is always a way back.
Let us know how it goes!
Readers: What additional suggestions could you offer our friend? What blessings have you enjoyed as a result of your church activity?
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Angela Trusty is a young single adult advice columnist for the Deseret News and Washington Times communities. Twitter: @angelatrusty email: firstname.lastname@example.org