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"Help! My Scripture Study Plan Isn't Working": Tips From a Professional Organizer

by | Jan. 22, 2020

The following article is brought to you by Gospel Day by Day, a community designed to help parents lead home-centered gospel learning. You can find Gospel Day by Day on Instagram here.

Wouldn’t it be a dream come true if we could organize the pantry or the toy room or a closet and never need to touch it again? But just like the dishes, laundry, and so many other aspects of our lives, we know that as those spaces are used, order needs to be restored, and little adjustments will be needed. As a professional organizer who has helped women get organized for the last 15 years, there is one thing I can always count on: sooner or later, things always need to be REORGANIZED.

Because I know this is part of the organizing process, I don’t feel like I am a “bad organizer” when problems arise. I just look at it as feedback. Some things work well, other things need tweaking, and knowing this allows me to make important and necessary changes. I know “there is always a way” to organize a space, even if it takes a few (or even ongoing) attempts.

The same thing will happen as you plan your personal and family scripture study. When we set goals for gospel study, we make our best guesses about what we need to do to be successful, and usually we are on the right track. But over time, we see that some things work—and others don’t. This doesn’t mean we are “bad at scripture study;” it just means that occasionally we will need to make an adjustment. The magic happens when we plant ourselves firmly in the mindset that “there is always a way,” and give ourselves permission to keep pivoting until we discover the best plan for ourselves and family.

Consider these strategies if you feel your plan isn’t working:

-A-Days and B -Days. We love those days when everything goes according to plan (A-Days), but what we really need is a contingency plan for those less-than-ideal days (B-Days). When we wake up late or people aren’t very cooperative, it helps to immediately identify this as a B-Day. Making this shift in our mind allows us to accept that while today’s study may not be on our highlight scripture study reel in heaven, it doesn’t mean we have to throw in the towel. On B-Days, our study might be shorter than usual—perhaps as we run out the door, or drive to school or work; or there might only be a few family members present. But it’s okay because we know it’s not our norm. Tomorrow we can return to our A-Day standards, while still reaping the benefits of being consistent with our gospel study today. What a relief to have a fall back plan that we can feel good about! The A-Day/B-Day is an ideal tool to help support the “there is always a way” mindset. It also helps validate that, with some flexibility, your plan is still a good one.

-Mix it up. We all know how it feels to keep plowing through something that has begun to feel monotonous. Burnout is a condition to watch for, and a fun one to solve. If you or your family begin to feel bored with your study plan, it’s time to mix it up a little! This usually means looking for ways to make it fun.

Suggestions for family study:

-Invite another family over to do a Come, Follow Me lesson with you

-Prepare an object lesson and then have a discussion

-Experiment with reading at a different time during the day, or try a different reading location.

-Ask the kids to plan or participate more. Perhaps even give each child a day to be completely in charge and decide ahead of time to be totally ok with whatever he or she prepares. Remember, it doesn’t have to look a certain way in order for you to be successful.

Suggestions for personal study:

-Shorten the reading and spend a little time journaling. I have found that when I journal testimony, parenting, and other life questions, I begin to find answers as I both read scriptures and write about what I have just read. Though I may not be getting through as many verses, this brings new life and meaning to my gospel study.

-Alternate reading with listening to or watching conference talks (or other church videos). The point is to feel the spirit, and that can come through various mediums. Changing the format can bring some fresh energy into your scripture study routine and can deepen your desire for it.

-Schedule some regular study sessions with a friend, sister, spouse, or child. Keep each other accountable or even set up a short 30-day challenge. This is a great way to make it fun and create some social interaction. Just because it’s “personal study” doesn’t mean you need to feel isolated.

We have recently discovered a strategy for our family’s Sunday Come, Follow Me lesson. We were struggling to get the family to come together after church for a lesson because everyone comes home hungry and tired. When we did manage to gather the family, the lessons were short, contrived, and not exactly full of the spirit. And then one Sunday after church one of my youngest daughters asked my husband to help her prepare a brunch for the family. Of course, everyone came rushing to the table for bacon and pancakes! While they were there, we slipped in a quick Come, Follow Me lesson…and we suddenly realized we’d discovered the secret. Now each child rotates a week to team up with a parent to make brunch and teach the Come, Follow Me lesson, and everyone always comes willingly.

Just as it took Nephi several creative attempts to secure the brass plates from Laban, we will be blessed with success as we have faith that the Lord will “prepare a way [for us to] accomplish the thing he has commanded.” Troubleshooting doesn’t mean we have been doing it wrong, or that we will never figure it out. With a little patience, creativity, and faith, “there is always a way” to be successful with gospel study.

 Jenny Layton helps women stop settling for a life they don’t love. As a professional organizer, productivity expert, and mindset coach, Jenny creates signature systems, routines, and vision to organize homes, families and businesses, freeing her clients from clutter so they can focus on what matters most. Jenny is a blogger, speaker, author, a regular guest on KUTV Fresh Living, a wife to a very supportive husband, and a relatively sane mother of 5, which she considers her highest achievement. 

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