We all go through doldrums in life. Periods when our bodies and minds just need a rest from times of stress and exertion. We have to recoup our energy for the next great output. Everyone needs a break. A few times people have asked me how they can stay motivated studying the scriptures when they hit these slow spots. The short answer is this: having success generates motivation. Excitement generates motivation.
Think of when you were young. Did you get up every day excited to go to school?
How about a day with friends at the beach or an amusement park? Did you have any trouble getting out of bed on those days for an early start? If you’re normal, probably not.
Your excitement for the prospects of the day gave you the motivation to get out of bed and get moving.
If you have a goal to work out, maybe running or lifting weights, you will be more motivated to continue the habit if you are seeing success (running faster or farther, or lifting more weights).
It’s the same with scripture study. If you are getting revelation and having positive experiences, you will want to continue. You know there is more to come and you are making steady progress.
If you aren’t motivated, you aren’t excited or having success
So what do you do when you encounter a difficult day, or a day when your schedule is thrown upside down? What do you do if your mind is in a fog and you just don’t feel like reading, let alone studying and searching the scriptures? Do you take a break and say, “maybe not today”?
I hope not. This is when good habits can save you and motivate you to do something.
This is an opportunity to mix up what you’re used to doing and try a new approach to your study. A fresh approach or the right tool, can trigger revelation and success, and thus excitement and motivation.
This is why I created Scripture Notes because you can dig deeper and get more revelation faster. That doesn’t mean you don’t ever have a day where you feel like you could have gotten more from your study, but it’s easier to get out of a rut when you start having success finding connections and getting deeper insights.
Things that motivate me and bring success
Here are some things you can try when you’re having a slow day. Share your ideas in the comments below.
- Pray that God will show you something in the scriptures that will inspire you.
- Decide what you want to do. Are you just going to read till something stands out to you and *dig in deeper*, or try a new study technique?
Dig in Deeper
- Open Scripture Notes and start reading. Using your agency to start opens you up to success.
- Look for a word or phrase that stands out to you.
- Pause and think about it.
- Write down a question in your notes.
- Pause and pray for an answer (not a kneeling prayer, but just sitting there)
- Is there a search you can do to find out the answer to that question? (Open a search pane and just try a few searches – also see the next section on finding synonyms)
- Is that word in the Topical Guide or Bible Dictionary? (Open the Scripture Notes library and click on Study Helps)
- Can you further define the word with Webster’s 1828 dictionary or Strong’s Concordance of Hebrew/Greek definitions? (links in Scripture Notes)
- Can you find commentary on that verse using Bible Hub or the LDS Citation Index (links in Scripture Notes)
- Are there other questions you can ask? Write them down. You might not answer them during this pass through that verse, but in the future you will see that question you’ve written and it may be the right time for God to answer your question.
- Repeat steps 3 & 4
Try a New Study Technique
- There are tons of projects you can try out. When you sign up for a Scripture Notes account, in your first email you receive from me there is a free PDF book called, “48 Techniques to Make Your Scripture Study Deeper and Richer.” That’s a big sampling of things you can do to enhance your study and try something new. You can see some of those things on our Scripture Notes YouTube channel where you can learn new tips and techniques for studying the scriptures. Here’s a few quick ideas:
- For example, pick a Topical Guide topic, convert it to a collection note (you can only do this in Scripture Notes which gives you a master note area to type all your thoughts about the verses) and read all the verses on a topic together. This practically guarantees you will see new things you’ve never seen before as you see patterns in related verses.
- Study a person in scripture and ask why their life and story was included in the scriptures that God saw fit to preserve for us.
- Listen to a podcast or a video and when something interesting is said, record it in Scripture Notes so you don’t forget it. Tie it directly to the scripture it relates to, or do a search for the topic and create a Collection Note of all the verses so you can tie the thought to all the related verses at once. My 14 year old son had to teach a lesson on fasting today and I remembered I had made a note (from 2013) in my Scripture Notes which I was able to pull up instantly and have him use in his lesson.
(Featured image by alphaspirit @ 123rf.com)