“Am I Majoring in the Gospel?” Ensign, July 2018
I remember at one point while I was in college, my testimony started to waver. I was so busy with homework and tests that I had begun to neglect my scripture study and prayers. I never seemed to have enough time to do everything I was expected to do. But in a moment of clarity, I suddenly had the thought, “Destiny, you’re majoring in history, but shouldn’t you really be majoring in the gospel?”
I began to look at where I invested the majority of my time. I realized that while I was investing hundreds of hours per year reading secular resources, I was investing only a fraction of that in what should have been my true major: the gospel. Immediately, it made sense why my testimony was wavering. And I knew how to fix it.
There are a variety of ways to make the gospel our major, regardless of what subject we’re studying at school.
One way (my personal favorite) is to always have a morning devotional to start my day, no matter what.
Daily devotionals may seem overwhelming if you think of them as only a long scripture study. For me, a devotional can be short or long, depending on my commitments that day. My morning devotional consists of prayer, scripture study (usually a few verses at a time to ponder), writing a few thoughts in my journal, and then reviewing my goals for the day, week, or year. It’s something that can be done in as little as 15 minutes, or it can be as long as an hour or two if I’m really on a roll and have only a few commitments that day.
By starting off my day with my number-one priority—my relationship with my Heavenly Father and a review of both my eternal and my temporal goals—I feel I can dedicate the rest of the day to school, work, and so on, armed with the Spirit that came from my devotional.
Another way I did my best to major in the gospel was to decide not to do any homework on Sunday. At first the idea seemed impossible, and I was very nervous to try to compete with my classmates when they had an entire extra day to study each weekend. However, let me share some of the unanticipated blessings that came from this decision:
The Lord increased my ability on weekdays so that I could do well in my classes even when I had to get up early to study.
Because I had to plan when to do my homework in advance, I learned the critical skills of setting up and following a schedule as well as how to estimate and manage time. I struggled less with procrastination than most of my classmates. (And, ironically, I found that some friends would often party on Saturday and cram last-minute on Sunday, which meant that they really didn’t have an “extra” day for homework after all.)
I believe strongly that taking a day off to clear my mind helped me be more mentally and emotionally healthy than I would have been without a break.
My Sabbath worship was more meaningful because I wasn’t thinking about rushing home to do my homework. I was never tempted to miss church because of a paper due the next day.
Deciding how to major in the gospel is between you and the Lord, but maybe consider one of these other ways you could make sure the gospel is your number-one priority:
Sign up for a religion class (whether at a Church-sponsored school or at your local institute of religion).
Set up “companionship study” with a roommate or friend each morning to help get you out of bed.
Listen to a general conference talk when you’re getting ready in the morning, during your workouts, while you walk to school, or at any other moments when your mind would otherwise be distracted with trivial things.
When you sit down to do your homework, first open up your scriptures, read a few verses to invite the influence of the Spirit of the Lord, and pray for help to recall what you are learning.
By making the gospel your true focus, you are establishing good habits that will bless your whole life, from your future marriage and children to your ability to serve in Church callings and in your community. Take a moment to write down a few ways you can show your Heavenly Father that He is your number-one priority.