Monday’s emails with our missionary generated the usual question, “Mom, whatcha doing today?” I responded with an outline of my day’s To-Do-List. My son’s response was quick and to the point, “Mom, be sure to do your scripture study first. Everything else will fall into place if you prioritize scripture study.”
I didn’t respond.
My internal response? “Sweetheart, it is sweet that you are on a mission and now you think you know how all of this works, but Mom’s been handling her life just fine for a lot of years. I managed to raise you and I think I can handle getting my own day organized without your two cents.”
I began to get started on painting my front room, which was soon followed by a multitude of other competing demands, each task tumbling on top of the one before.
Before I knew it, I was snuggling down, ready to sleep when the thought came to me: I had not studied my scriptures! An entire day and I had not made time to do so. I had been so busy doing one good task after another that I had not made time for the most important use of my time: strengthening my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
The first thing the next morning … okay, first I brushed my teeth! Then, I curled up with my scriptures to study. Inwardly, I was chagrined at my earlier pride and I was ready to eat humble pie as I followed my son’s counsel to read my scriptures before doing anything else with my day.
What a wonderful, fulfilling day! I got more done on my To-Do-List than I had the day before. Even better, I found myself pondering what I had read throughout the day—discovering nuances and understandings the more I thought about what I read.
As Mormons, we claim to have access to prophets and revelations specific to our times and needs. Do we heed (listen & obey) what we receive?
Twenty-four years ago, an apostle of God, President James E. Faust spoke and said:
In your generation, you will be barraged by multitudes of voices telling you how to live, how to gratify your passions, how to have it all. You will have up to five hundred television channels at your fingertips. There will be all sorts of software, interactive computer modems, databases, and bulletin boards; there will be desktop publishing, satellite receivers, and communications networks that will suffocate you with information.
Local cable news networks will cover only local news. Everyone will be under more scrutiny. There will be fewer places of refuge and serenity. You will be bombarded with evil and wickedness like no other generation. As I contemplate this prospect, I am reminded of T.S. Eliot’s words, “Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
We are inundated with information—social media feeds us hundreds, if not thousands, of bits of information every day. But is it useful? Is it knowledge?
“Social Media” doesn’t even promote sociality. Our youth are struggling more than ever with feelings of despair and loneliness. You see them sitting together in groups—each with their face glued to their phones and not fully engaging socially with each other. There is no “social” connection in social media—it is a competition to see who can get the most followers and “Likes”.
In this world of chaos and overload of information, but no knowledge—where can a daughter, or son, of God turn for peace, understanding, knowledge, and even wisdom? The scriptures.
Yet, how often do we roll over, turn off our phone alarm, scroll through our social media feeds, and neglect to pray before we start our day? I’m guilty of this. I’m sure I’m not alone!
How often do we then rush into our day, feeling like there are too many things to do and never enough time, neglecting to study our scriptures? I am so very, very guilty of this.
My missionary is right. I need to make scripture study my FIRST priority each day. These last few days, when I have followed his counsel, I have discovered an increase of peace. I have also, surprisingly, discovered that I am getting MORE done in my day. And, again, surprisingly, I have discovered less desire to waste time scrolling through social media—instead, I want to use it as the tool it is supposed to be! I want to use my social media to connect with my loved ones, not just as something to fill my time between activities.
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference.
Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of almost 20 years.