Exercising Our Spiritual Muscles by Juan Pablo Villar
Content by Sarah Garner
A few years ago, my family was at a crossroads. We’d moved across the state away from our extended family and our home town to our dream location. We were loving the location, but the home we were in wasn’t ideal and we needed a change. The problem was, we were having a difficult time finding a new home in this new town we loved. We decided to expand our search back to our hometown, even though we wanted to stay in our new town. We spent weeks searching and looking at homes with nothing feeling or seeming right. Then, one morning, I woke up early with the strong impression of which house we should move into. It was back in our hometown, a home I didn’t love when we looked at it initially, and it was at the tip-top of the price-range we’d been looking in. It wasn’t the obvious choice, but it felt like the right choice. Though it felt difficult, we decided to exercise our faith and make this change that we felt led to.
Over the next several months and years, events would unfold in our lives that we would never have foreseen when we chose to move. Through each of these events, we would see more clearly exactly why we needed to be where we ended up. We didn’t know at the time that we would need familial support, medical professionals not available in the small town we'd wanted to live in, or the support of new friends we made as a result of our move back to our hometown. But Heavenly Father did - and in exercising our faith, we were able to eventually see why we’d received the promptings we had to move.
Exercising our faith at that time was extremely difficult and, quite honestly, the trials we’ve faced in our lives have felt both stronger and more abundant since we have moved. My faith falters often, and I find myself wondering at times why we are here and why things are so hard. Yet, when I look back, and remember the decisions made in faith, and see the blessings that have come through the darkness, I feel the strength of my faith carrying me forward and reminding me to trust in God.
“When doubts come to our minds, trusting in the Lord’s promises will be required to move forward. In this way, we are exercising spiritual muscles and developing them into sources of strength in our lives.”
FAITH IN ACTION
"If we want to increase our faith, then let’s do things that require faith.” I loved Elder Villar’s challenge to identify which of our spiritual muscles need more activity with a focus on “small but constant” activities that will allow us to continuously strengthen our faith. This week, I’d love to issue you a challenge to pick one “spiritual muscle” that could use strengthening and identify what small activity you can add to your life this week to strengthen that portion of your faith.
I don’t know about you but, when I am adding a new habit to my life, I always seem to do better when I have a plan of action and way to record my progress. So I’ve created a simple journal page printable you can utilize this week to set your goal and record your daily experiences as you participate in this challenge as well as look back at the end of the week to ponder and record your experience. Some great questions to think about during this challenge are:
In what areas of my life could I use an increase of faith?
When is a time in my life that I have exercised faith?
What does “putting your faith into action” look like for me?
What opportunities did Heavenly Father provide me with this week to exercise my faith?
In our Come, Follow Me topic for this week we study spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-13. Elder Villar also mentions spiritual gifts and explains that they are given to us as opportunities to practice and grow those gifts. As you make a list of spiritual gifts that you notice in yourself, ponder what experiences you have been given that have allowed you to strengthen your faith and develop those gifts.