A few weeks ago, a gentleman spoke in church about an aspect of his job. He's an operations and efficiency manager at a fairly large corporation. His employer expects everyone in the company - from management to the lowliest employee - to utilize what they call "The Five S's" to improve efficiency.
With some thought, the gentleman from church was able to apply that system to believing in God and having His presence in our lives. I loved his viewpoint so much, I took thorough notes so I could share my thoughts with you.
The first step is to sort out what is needed and what's not. We are to remove those things that have no value. Refocus, evaluate, and declutter.
What in your life has no spiritual value? Certain television shows? Music? Books? Games? What about other activities? Shopping on Sunday? Eating or drinking things that aren't good for you? Habits or hobbies that detract from the Spirit?
This can include people who add no spiritual value to your life. Are there those who drag you down rather than lift you up? Those who encourage you to drift further away from where the Lord wishes you to be?
Remove those things that do not bring you closer to your Heavenly Father to allow room for those things that will bring you the most everlasting joy.
Once you've sorted, you must straighten what's left. Arrange, organize, and set things in order. Set expectations, goals, and guidelines.
Decide where you stand. Know what you're willing to do and what you won't. Make the time to pray, study your scriptures, write in your journal, and spend time with your family. It takes a conscious effort to make these things a habit.
Determine where you want to be spiritually. What do you want to believe, to know? If there's someone you admire and look up to, what steps can you take to be more like him/her? Make a plan. Set it in action.
Clean and maintain your surroundings to enable the ability to identify defects and abnormalities. In other words, repent and forgive.
Let go of your guilt, make amends. Kneel in fervent prayer and beg forgiveness from our Heavenly Father. Wipe the slate clean. Drop your baggage. Become clean and pure once more.
Forgive others. Give up your hard feelings and resentment. Allow others to become clean in your eyes. Unburden yourself from the heavy load anger carries.
Revisit the first three S's on a regular basis. Attend church meetings every Sunday. Partake of the Sacrament to renew your baptismal covenants. Spend time each week, month, and year reviewing your goals and examining your life. Make self-examination a constant in your life.
When you find yourself lacking in one area, set a new goal and start again. The Lord doesn't expect perfection. He wants you to do your best. Keep trying. Don't give up.
Continue to improve every day. Look for ways to better yourself - not just spiritually, but in all other aspects of your life. Be disciplined and actively engaged. Forward momentum, no matter how small, is better than remaining stagnant or sliding backwards.
Something I've learned as a writer is to begin with the end in sight. If you do this, everything else will fall into place. Keep the goal of eternal life firmly fixed in your heart. When difficult times descend upon you and choices have to be made, belief in our Savior, Jesus Christ, will help you through and lead you to the other side.
And, as always, remember that believe is a verb. A verb is an action. Therefore, to believe is to act.