"Read your scriptures. Go to church. Attend the temple. Serve others. Do family history work. Magnify your callings in the church. Pray always. Work hard..."
Sometimes the list of things a disciple of Christ and member of The Church of Jesus Christ can seem like a burden. As I've come to understand and see for myself the power of regular, daily devotion in my life, I have found that they are, in fact, anything but burdensome. They bring life, light, and hope to my life.
I am easily distracted by all the different opportunities in life. There is a clear fear of missing out that is projected onto me from all kinds of voices. What if I don't exercise as much as I want to? What if I don't get to go to that hockey game? What if I don't get to do that fun activity my friends invited me to?
It is easy to forget that everything I do has an opportunity cost - something I must give up in order to be able to participate in that thing. So when I choose good things over the most important and best things, I have paid the cost for those good things with the currency of the most important and best things.
The list mentioned previously is not really a checklist - a list of must do, eternally damned if I don't do them - but rather a list of invitations to take time to get to know God.
That is not to say that I can survive spiritually without taking time for daily devotion. I can't. Rather, only by doing them intentionally with an understanding of why I do them will they be effective in my life.
It is a list of invitations to see Him in the lives of men and women in the scriptures. To see Him in my personal life through the impressions and experiences that come to me through prayer and daily devotion. To experience Him catching me when I'm about to make poor choices, helping me see a better way with a quiet and small voice.
God's voice speaks to me softly, but clearly. He invites me to become better. He shows me ways to improve my own wellbeing and contribute to wellbeing of others. He whispers. Daily devotion is how I open my soul and quiet my minds to hear His whispers and invitations.
Daily devotion has given me great gifts, and saved my family from great tragedy. There was a time when I forgot the power of daily devotion - and slowly but surely the louder voices of the world drowned out the voice of the Lord and I became confused. But thankfully, I kept other commitments and they held me in place long enough to come to myself and see where I had gone wrong. Daily devotion has been key to redeveloping the spiritual strength I needed to serve my wife, my children, the members of my ward, and my brothers and sisters in the world.
Thanks be to God for His love and mercy, and his still, small, quiet voice that has kept and preserved me in such a time of trouble and turmoil.