President Oak’s talk, “Small and Simple Things,” from April 2018 Conference was the topic of a recent Relief Society lesson in my ward, and it really got me thinking about the small and simple things. We know these things by heart: say your prayers, read your scriptures, attend the temple, go to Church, etc. They are seemingly simple and seemingly small, but as President Oaks points out, without them, we become adrift from the gospel.
Why is that? It often doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to miss out on sincere prayer and scripture study, but we know within our heart of hearts it is. Let’s talk for a moment about habits. Did you know it takes 21 days to create a habit and only 1 day to break it? My older brother was in a habit of practicing his Spanish. He had practiced it for 100+ days, and then one day, on our family vacation, he broke that chain. He hasn’t been practicing his Spanish ever since. Proof in the pudding, my friends. Habits are hard to create and easy to break, and that’s why I think those small and simple things can seem like such arduous tasks. We know they shouldn’t be arduous and so difficult to accomplish, but when we break our cycle of habits, it takes so much longer to re-establish that habit. As stated by President Oaks, “None of these desirable small and simple things will lift us to great things unless they are practiced consistently and continuously.” It is in the habit of these things that we will be able to accomplish the greatness of the Lord’s work.
President Oaks also reminded us that in order “to protect against the cumulative negative effects that are destructive to our spiritual progress,” we must continue in the habit of the small and simple things. That is because without these habits, we allow ourselves to succumb to sin in the smallest of ways. Not praying is a sin. Not attending Church does not allow us to repent of our sins. These things separate us from the Lord, and as we are separated from the Lord, we are more vulnerable to leaving His side. We can always come back, but why would we want to leave his loving embrace? As I have watched dear friends leave the Church, it generally begins with disregarding the small and simple things. As they slowly became disaffiliated, they also became disaffiliated with the scriptures, prayer, and Church attendance. These things are vital to the growth of our testimony.
Chart your progress. Create habits. Remain close to your loving Heavenly parents. I promise that as you do the small and simple things, your life will have greater light, purpose, and happiness. This will come because you will have a closer connection to your Creator and Redeemer. People will see that light, and they will know that you are a disciple of Christ, and then you can persuade them to also do the small and simple things.