I’m not sure if I could tell you all the reasons many college students decide that eating a well-balanced diet is just not worth their time. Regardless of the why, it is common to hear of college students living on only macaroni and cheese (like my husband), eggs in some form for every meal (my brother), or those scary, frozen burritos that are made of slimy mysterious-ness (a roommate).
My brother is a student at BYU and when I heard a friend of ours was headed that way the next morning, I rummaged around the pantry and freezer for something to send along to my brother. I think his study to eating ratio is 94:1. He is losing weight, so making food for him might make me feel like taking care of the ‘needy’. sort of kidding. =)
The next morning I sent along a frozen soup I had made a few weeks back, a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread and an enormous pile of buttery, chocolate chip and M&M cookies (made two batches quickly).
That evening, my brother called and said, “Thank you SO much for the cookies!! They are amazing!!” In the background, I heard equally happy shouts of “thanks!” from his roommates.
That was sweet of him to call and say thanks. But….for the cookies? The cookies might be most gratifying– who doesn’t like a homemade cookie? But my brother’s nutrition-starved body needed the hearty vegetable soup and the homemade whole wheat bread! The cookies, delicious though they might be, did not add much in the arena of wholesome and substantial.
What in our lives constitutes the buttery, chocolate chip and M&M cookies? A new outfit, a new gadget, a moment when we feel noticed and ennobled? Is that what we feel are the blessings worth the majority of our attention? What in our life is a little less exciting, a little less of an instant gratification but much more substantial and wholesome? A testimony of the Savior, time with a loved one, a warm place to sleep. Are we thanking God for these more hearty blessings?
May I be the first to say, I’m not hating on chocolate chip cookies (sometimes I make cookies instead of dinner, hehe) or on new gadgets (my phone is pretty cool). I’m just thinking more along the lines of this, from the scriptures:
feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted (2 Nephi 9:51)
and this, from General Conference:
Sometimes it feels like we are drowning in frivolous foolishness, nonsensical noise, and continuous contention. When we turn down the volume and examine the substance, there is very little that will assist us in our eternal quest toward righteous goals. One father wisely responds to his children with their numerous requests to participate in these distractions. He simply asks them, “Will this make you a better person?” (Quentin L. Cook)
I hope I have enough courage to prayerfully look where I am giving my attention. What do I see as my greatest blessings? I believe that when we ask God sincerely, He will answer our prayer and give us the direction we need to follow His path more fully.
Thanks for studying with me today!
S: (Prayer/Ask) Am I giving my best attention to the things that matter most to God?
- Read the verses surrounding the one quoted above. (2 Nephi 9:49-53) Underline what Nephi promotes as worthwhile in eternal eyes.
my heart delighteth in righteousness; and I will praise the holy name of my God.
Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.
- More from Elder Cook‘s talk:
…My counsel tonight is to rise above any rationalizations that prevent us from making righteous decisions, especially with respect to serving Jesus Christ. In Isaiah we are taught we must “refuse the evil, and choose the good.”4
I believe it is of particular importance in our day, when Satan is raging in the hearts of men in so many new and subtle ways, that our choices and decisions be made carefully, consistent with the goals and objectives by which we profess to live.
- This little line with so much promise! think about ‘passions’ in a broadsense- anything that we gravitate towards
…see that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love (Alma 38:12)
- Here Mormon describes our day as he saw it. Look for how he –rather un-gentle-like 😉 — calls us to evaluate where we put our attentions.
…when there shall be many who will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.
And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.
O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies—because of the praise of the world?
- Think back to yesterday. Give a rough estimate of what percentage of time you mind was on things “that will make you a better person” and what percentage was on things “which cannot satisfy.”
- The ‘house-keeping’ part of life -food preparation, cleaning, studying, traveling, etc– takes a good chunk of our time. How can we elevate the mundane tasks of living life to something even better?
- Why is it hard to choose the hearty over the instant gratification? Shouldn’t we know better?
R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: Am I giving the things that matter most to God my best attention?)
- Write down one ‘hearty’ thing that you wish you loved more. Write down one ‘buttery chocolate chip and M&M cookie’ that you wish you didn’t love so much.
E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.
The Challenge: Think of one thing you give a lot of attention to. Think of one thing you’d feel would be more worthy of your attention. Spend the day trying to switch these two. Report back in your journal.
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