Episode 37: The Gospel is Not a Checklist, It’s a RelationshipNov 15, 2021
How do you even know that you are treating the Gospel as a checklist? Well, this is what I have seen many women I work with feel when they are treating the gospel like a checklist. See if you can relate with any of these as I list them.
- You often feel behind and as though you are not doing enough
- You are overwhelmed with all that you have to do
- You feel like you are on a hamster wheel in life running as fast as you can but you aren’t going anywhere
- You are doing all the right things but still don’t feel like it’s enough
- You’re a faithful woman who goes to church, studies, prays and serves and still feels inadequate
Did You Relate With any of Those?
If you did, you’re not alone. I work with many women who feel this way too. But guess what? It’s easy to get caught in this trap because there is always more to be done in the gospel, right? You need to make sure you are reading your scriptures and saying your daily prayers. Going to church and the temple regularly. You need to make sure you have all your ordinances done for yourself and all of your ancestors while simultaneously serving others wherever there might be a need.
The list goes on and on right? It almost sounds like a giant to-do list! From that list, it’s easy to think that the gospel is a huge list and we need to check them all off. The problem is, there is not an end to this list. It’s kind of like the laundry...it just keeps coming and coming with no end!
So if that’s the case, then why would God ask us to do something that doesn’t have an end to it and could make us feel like we are forever behind and inadequate? I don’t think it’s because God wants us to feel that way, I think it’s because we turn it into that.
Our thoughts about those tasks determines our view of the Gospel.
My thoughts are that those tasks that we are asked to do in the gospel are not just busy work for us to do and get done. My thoughts are that those tasks are relationship building tools that God has gifted us so that we will draw closer to each member of the Godhead.
“When you know and understand how completely you are loved as a child of God, it changes everything.” - Sister Porter
I don’t believe that it’s about what we DO in the gospel but what it BRINGS when we do it. What is it that each of these tasks bring us? POWER, and that power really is the love of God. The best part is that the love of God has energy behind it. Energy to heal and give us the power and strength that guides us back to our Heavenly Parents. All of these tasks in the gospel help us feel God's love and the powers that God’s love brings us. I love what Sister Porter has to say about the love of God. “When you know and understand how completely you are loved as a child of God, it changes everything. It changes the way you feel about yourself when you make mistakes. It changes how you feel when difficult things happen. It changes your view of God’s commandments. It changes your view of others and of your capacity to make a difference.” - Sister Porter
Remember when I said our thoughts determine our view? Sister Porter says it too! I love that first line she says, “When you know and understand how completely you are loved as a child of God, it changes everything.” Does that sound like a checklist to you or more about a relationship? All that our Heavenly Parents are asking us to do here is about the love that they have for us and the love that we have for them
That Sounds more like a Relationship.
Think about your relationship with your family. Do you ask them to do things just because? No, you usually have an underlying purpose in that task. For example, you might have daily chores for you kids to do.
Are you asking them to do those chores so they can check them off a list and feel good because they did? No. You are asking them to do chores so they can learn skills, be responsible, learn to be part of a team and help. There are so many underlying reasons but most of all, the reason is because you love your kids and you want what’s best for them.
The relationship that we have with our Heavenly Parents, the Savior and the Holy Ghost are the most important relationships we will ever have. Each of these relationships have something very powerful to offer us if we will build those relationships.
Next week’s episode I dive into each of those powers so stay tuned. What I want you to see this week is that we are not a gospel of doers, but a gospel of receivers. If you are simply a doer in the gospel then your thoughts are focused more on the tasks and the completion of them than on the relationships. Your view of the gospel will be that you need to keep doing more and more in order to feel adequate, you will feel burned out running faster and faster and not feeling like you are getting anywhere.
If you are a receiver, you recognize that all that you do in the gospel is about receiving God’s power and love. When you do anything that God wants you to be doing, there is a receiving back in strength, wisdom, healing and growth. A receiver focuses on building a relationship with each member of the Godhead rather than on their "to do list" in the gospel.
The "tasks" are Relationship Builders
You do not have to keep doing more and more to get better results out of your scripture study, prayers or temple attendance. You simply need to look at those tasks as relationship building tools and a way to receive what they are ready to give.
“God’s love is not found in the circumstances of our lives but in His presence in our lives.” - Sister Porter
We do not need to make sure our life circumstances are perfect to show that God loves us. God is not asking us to shoot for perfection by not making a mistake and doing everything on the planet possible. God is asking that there is room for Them to be present in our lives so They can bless us.
Elder Kopischke said in this past conference that, “Many, feeling overwhelmed because they do not meet perceived standards, mistakenly believe they have no place in the Church.” That is the ultimate devastating result of viewing the gospel as a checklist is that when you can’t keep up and feel like you don’t measure up then you feel like you don’t belong. Please don’t let it get to that point for yourself and if it has, that’s ok. God still loves you and is ready to be a presence in your life when you are ready.
It Starts by Reimagining Your Relationship with the Gospel
It’s not a checklist, but a receiving of power and love from the relationship. You're probably wondering, what are the steps? How do I reimagine my relationship with the gospel? That is something I teach in my Spiritual Survival Course.
I have an entire module on ways to make the gospel a relationship and not a checklist. I will be opening the Spiritual Survival Course in January to anyone on the waitlist. So click here to be notified when it releases.
Be sure to tune in to my Meaningful Minutes Podcast next week when I talk about building a relationship with each member of the Godhead and what each of them can bring you.
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