In college I had a Bishop who was one of the most spiritually in-tune people I have ever met. He taught us to love the scriptures through his own example. Every morning he would get up at 4 AM to study and pray for an hour. He did this no matter where he was, no matter what time he had gone to bed the night before or what he had to do that day. He always made time for scripture study. I asked him once about it and after a long moment of silence he asked me this, "Heather, what if you knew that the reward for reading your scriptures for 5,000 hours was to see the Savior's face in the flesh? Wouldn't you get up at 4 AM every day too?"
His words pierced my soul and I realized that if I wanted certain answers or certain spiritual experiences I must put in the work required to get them. I am nowhere near the devotion of my college bishop (yet) but for the last several years I have been consistent about studying my scriptures. Usually I have done my study while my children take their afternoon naps. This has usually been the best time for me because I am awake, alert, and usually have at least an hour of quiet and uninterrupted time. I always make it a point to do my scripture study first thing after I put them down for a nap, before I wash the dishes, before I check my email or change over the laundry. If I don't do it first then I know I will get distracted. For the last five years this pattern has worked for me and I have learned to love-- and devour-- the scriptures.
But... the rhythm of my life has changed.
My oldest two no longer take naps and my babies seem to have opposite napping schedules-- when one is asleep the other is awake. I have tried instituting "quiet time" every day where the younger two nap (hopefully) and the older two play in their rooms by themselves for an hour. Some days it works and other days it falls apart in pieces. I have found myself getting frustrated that this coveted nap time (aka. "me time") is not as consistent or quiet as it use to be.
So, I have found myself adopting a new scripture study philosophy which comes from my hero, Julie Beck. She said,
"Many answers to difficult questions are found by reading the scriptures because the scriptures are an aid to revelation. Insight found in scripture accumulates over time, so it is important to spend some time in the scriptures every day." (Source)
That last little phrase has become my new scripture study mantra:
Spend SOME time in the scriptures EVERY day.Spiritual knowledge accumulates little by little, distilling upon your soul like dew from heaven. It is much more valuable to spend a little time in the scriptures every day than it is to spend lots of time in the scriptures once in awhile. Sort of the difference between accumulating your food storage little by little every week so that you are prepared, versus racing to the store when a tornado warning comes and stockpiling it all at once. With the first way you can live in a state of peace and security knowing your are prepared, while with the second one you are always afraid that some major catastrophe will take you by surprise.
So, no matter how crazy or hectic my days are, I am trying hard to make sure that I have dipped into the scriptures-- for some amount of time-- everyday. Some days this means that I read two verses and call it good, other days I have a spiritual feast and study for hours, and most days are somewhere in between. The important thing is that I am opening my scriptures every day and showing God I am willing to learn and to receive.
So what works for you? How have you made time to do your scriptures study daily?