Build a Fortress of Spirituality and Protection by Ronald A. Rasband
Content by Lori Frost
It’s been several weeks now since school has been back in session. Subtle hints of fall are appearing with morning dew on the grass and a crisp chill in the morning air. In just a little over a week, we’ll be spiritually fed by another inspired session of General Conference where we’ll be guided and counseled by the Lord’s Prophet and apostles. It’s a beautiful time of year, and a time I’ve always looked forward to. But recently I’ve discovered what a busy and overwhelming time of year it can be.
At our house, we’ve been hustling from place to place — school, soccer practice, dance lessons, church activities, work commitments, service projects, grocery stores, the gym — all the while trying to figure out a new routine and rhythm that feels balanced. I’ve been discouraged more times than I can count since it seems there’s always something to be working on and never enough time in the day to get it all done. My husband and I joke that we’re passing ships lately. He gets home from work with just enough time to eat dinner in 5 minutes, change clothes, and run out the door again. It’s go-go-go from sunup to sundown.
Even though being busy and over-scheduled is something I have tried to avoid for years, it appears that with four kids all involved in one activity + church activities for some of them as well, the busy hustle is, to some extent, unavoidable.
I felt so connected to Elder Rasband’s talk this past General Conference as he illustrated the importance of building a “fortress of protection.” He mentioned two different fortresses: Christ-centered homes that provide safety and security for our families, and our testimonies that provide “a fortress of spirituality and protection for our very souls.” He talked about several things we should be doing. Each one gives us the opportunity to feel the Spirit, grow in our testimonies, and grow closer to the Savior. He then reminded us that just as a fortress is built one log at a time, our testimony is built experience by experience.
So how do we ensure we’re taking time for these spiritual experiences and exercises that are so needed to keep us fueled as individuals and on-track as a family when life is rushing by at 100 miles per hour?
I started to look at the things Elder Rasband mentioned that would help us fortify our home and our testimonies. I realized that even though it’s a long list, a lot of them are things we’re already doing! It reminded me of what Elder Holland once said: "You are doing better than you think you are." Give yourself some credit. And for the other things that need improvement, remember that some things take a bit more planning and effort, and maybe even a little trial and error.
Log by log. One intentional day at a time.
No matter what season you find yourself in, and no matter how busy life may seem, I promise you that if you pray to Heavenly Father and ask for His help, the Spirit will guide you to know how to build a fortress of spirituality and protection for your family and for yourself individually.
“They had built fortresses for protection on the outside, and they had built faith in the Lord Jesus Christ on the inside—deep in their souls.”
- Elder Ronald A. Rasband
FAITH IN ACTION
How can you fortify yourself and your family? Take a few minutes today to write down the things you'd like to be doing regularly to build and strengthen your fortress of protection. Some ideas include: reading your scriptures, praying, fasting a full 24 hours, attending the temple regularly, sharing your testimony with others, being willing to share the gospel, studying "Come, Follow Me" as a household, etc. When you've finished, choose just one of the things on your list to focus on first. Pray to Heavenly Father for His help as you focus on improving in that area. He will bless you for your efforts!
In Galations 5:1, Paul talks about "the yoke of bondage" and how Christ has "made us free." What yokes of bondage can you identify in your own life that prevent you from fully living the gospel of Jesus Christ? Are there habits, doubts, or old feelings you could let go of in order to experience the freedom that the gospel can bring? Or how has the Savior and His gospel "made [you] free"?
As we head into General Conference weekend, I challenge you to think of the person you minister to. Could you invite them to watch a session of General Conference with you, or maybe have them over for breakfast before the morning session? Or perhaps you could pray specifically for them, that they will feel the love of the Savior and receive revelation for themselves as they listen to each inspired message. Find something you can do to reach out and show you care.