I’ve been feeling a little “off” lately: some strange combination of antsy and overwhelmed. I get this way every once in a while, and it usually the result of focusing too much on things of the world and not enough on the things that matter. It’s funny how your spirit is affected by your priorities being out of line.
Sometimes a book will come into your life at just the right time. 21 Principles: Divine Truths to Help You Live by the Spirit by Richard G. Scott is just such a book.
Elder Scott has said
As you seek spiritual knowledge, search for principles. Principles are concentrated truth, packaged for application to a wide variety of circumstances.
In 21 Principles Elder Scott shares with us 21 principles that he has learned through prayerful study and revelation to help us draw closer to Christ on a daily basis. With just over 100 pages, this book is wonderful for those of us who need a little inspiration on a rainy day or something uplifting for when we are waiting in the car. These 21 principles each have their own chapter with Elder Scott sharing his personal testimony and touching stories to help liken them unto us.
Henry has gotten to the age where he needs peace and quiet when he sleeps. I would lay down and nurse him on my bed while I read this book. Each chapter is only three or four pages. The length of time it would take me to read and ponder a chapter in the comparative silence of my room was perfect for how long it would take Henry to fall asleep. As I would go about the next few hours of my day I would often find myself thinking about what I had read and how it was just what I needed. I thought about how to better apply these things to my life, and how I would teach these principles to my family. A few times I would read a chapter that perfectly voiced experiences I have recently had in my own life.
In the last year I have discovered a new and exciting past time. A lot of people think I’m crazy for asking for power tools for my birthday, and think that I am wasting my time by building and refinishing furniture. I try to explain to them how important it is to me. I don’t think that my new hobby is in any way more important than my family, but the process of discovery has made me a better person and a better mother. I would try to tell them, but I could never phrase it in a way that would get my point across. Who would believe me if I said that building my dining room table is a kind of spiritual refinement? Elder Scoot would believe me. Principle #3 states
Repeatedly I have been impressed to learn that to reach a goal never before attained, one must do things never before done.
Elder Scott then shares a story about being inspired by a friend who painted watercolors. In spite of self-doubt and negative self-talk he bought a few books and inexpensive supplies to try his hand at it. Over time and with much study and practice he became much better and still enjoys painting today. The most important thing to come out of his experience was not the blue ribbon he received for one of his paintings but an appreciation and greater understanding of the God of Creation. He says
Every indiviual has creative capacity. The satisfaction and growth creativity generates is intended for each of us, not just for the most gifted. To try takes courage…Edgar A. Whitney said, “No door is closed to a stubborn scholar”.
I was once a very timid and cowardly girl. The process of repeatedly trying new things has changed my character, and I am confident that I am far closer to being the woman I was meant to be now because of the experiences I have had with building my table and replacing light switches in my kitchen.
This is just one example of the many times that 21 Principles caused me to reflect on how the Spirit has affected my life without me even realizing it. I also was touched several times by principles that I need to be better at–simple ways to invite the Spirit into my heart and keep it there.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to read this book and I also have one to give away! Yay for you! :)