I was reading through old journal entries and ran across this one from March 2019 when I wrote about the lesson that I had taught in Relief Society. The lesson was about the talk, Wounded, by Elder Neil L. Andersen from October 2018 General Conference. As part of the lesson, I offered some things that had been helping me lately (and still help me now a couple years later) to come unto Christ.
I thought I would share it here in case it is helpful to anyone else…
Here are a couple of quotes from the talk that stood out to me.
“We search for happiness. We long for peace. We hope for love. And the Lord showers us with an amazing abundance of blessings. But intermingled with the joy and happiness, one thing is certain: there will be moments, hours, days, sometimes years when your soul will be wounded.”
“Never give up—however deep the wounds of your soul, whatever their source, wherever or whenever they happen, and however short or long they persist, you are not meant to perish spiritually. You are meant to survive spiritually and blossom in your faith and trust in God.
God did not create our spirits to be independent of Him. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, through the incalculable gift of His Atonement, not only saves us from death and offers us, through repentance, forgiveness for our sins, but He also stands ready to save us from the sorrows and pains of our wounded souls.
The Savior is our Good Samaritan, sent “to heal the brokenhearted.” He comes to us when others pass us by. With compassion, He places His healing balm on our wounds and binds them up. He carries us. He cares for us. He bids us, “Come unto me … and I shall heal [you].”
Jesus Christ is our Good Samaritan. He is the only source of true and lasting healing. He has the power to heal all of our wounds – both big and small. He is also the source of peace, love, and joy.
I don’t know about you, but for me, even though I know that the answer to all of my problems is Jesus Christ, sometimes it’s hard for me to know how to practically apply and intentionally access the power of His atonement in the moments when I am struggling and feel like I’m drowning.
Over the past couple years (and especially recently), I have discovered some resources and tools that have helped me with this. These are things that have become part of my own personal “Come Unto Christ” toolkit.
I would encourage you to make your own toolkit. I think it’s helpful to have multiple tools in your toolkit. Some tools work best with certain types of problems (or moods). And other tools work better for other types of problems.
Everyone’s toolkit will be a little (or a lot) different. Each of us are unique individuals and God speaks to us differently. Some of my tools may not work for you. And some of yours may not work for me. But I have found a lot of value in learning tools from others so I wanted to pass these on to you in case you want to try them out and see if they work for you.
My purpose in all of this is that I want you to feel encouraged and empowered to take intentional and practical steps towards Christ.
So with that, here are some of the tools in my own toolkit. I’ve added links to the resources where I learned about these tools, in case you want to check out the details for yourself. These are in no particular order.
Come Unto Christ Toolkit
- Tool #1: Vision Journaling/Hope/Gratitude Prayer
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.” (Alma 32:21)
– See and seek blessings that you desire with a brightness of hope rather than from a place/picture of doubt and desperation. Something that I have done with this as well is write down my gratitude/hope/vision prayer and then record myself reading what I wrote. Then I listen to these words/affirmations when needed… this focuses my mind in a good place, even/especially in the waiting period.
-I learned about this tool from Brooke Snow. Here’s the link to her podcast episode where she talks about this.
-I also learned this tool in more depth (along with other skills that have helped me a lot in my relationship with God) from Brooke Snow’s online Christian Meditation course.
- Tool #2: Be Still / Allow God to Hold the Space
“Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.” (Doctrine & Covenants 101:16)
“Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;
Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save. Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks. Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening. Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies. Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness. Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.” (Alma 34:17-27)
-Turn off all distractions. Go to a quiet place. Pour out your heart to God… But don’t get up and leave. Just sit there. Be still. Listen. Allow God to hold the space for you. Allow yourself to rise to the level of God’s emotions (peace, love, joy)
-I learned about this tool from Brooke Snow. Here’s the link to her podcast episode where she teaches about holding space.
- Tool #3: Be of Good Cheer / Wholesome Upbeat Music
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
“And now, verily I say unto you, and what I say unto one I say unto all, be of good cheer, little children; for I am in your midst, and I have not forsaken you;” (Doctrine & Covenants 16:31)
-Sometimes, I just have to let go of my worries and stresses and listen to some wholesome upbeat music while I dance around my house.
-Pick Me Up Playlist:
- Tool #4: Prayer Journaling
“The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God,8 the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father. He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation.
In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.
Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses— yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”
Does God really want to speak to you? Yes! “As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri river in its decreed course … as to hinder the Almighty from pouring down knowledge from heaven upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints.”” (Russell M. Nelson, Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives, April 2018)
-I learned about this tool from Brooke Snow. Here’s the link to her podcast episode.
- Tool #5: Pray and Ask for a Fresh View
“The Greek word of which this is the translation denotes a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world. Since we are born into conditions of mortality, repentance comes to mean a turning of the heart and will to God, and a renunciation of sin to which we are naturally inclined.” (Repentance, Bible Dictionary)
-When I am feeling fear (which shows up in multiple forms but boils down to some type of fear) instead of faith and love, I could use a fresh view about God, myself, and the world/others. Having this specific language to use in my prayers has helped me. Sometimes I just need to put on a new pair of glasses (figuratively) and see things differently.
- Tool #6: Listen to Spiritual and Uplifting Music
“For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” (Doctrine & Covenants 25:12)
-I have a playlist that I listen to (or just pick a song or two from) very frequently. These songs place my focus back on Christ and give me a better perspective on life.
-Speaks to my Soul Playlist:
- Tool #7: Negative Thoughts / Little Black Notebook / You Thoughts
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:6-8)
-I learned about this tool from Brooke Snow. Here’s the link to her podcast episode.
- Tool #8: Keep Your Focus on Christ
“Faith is the most powerful force in transforming human nature. As man’s thoughts turn to God and the things that pertain to God, man undergoes a spiritual transformation. It lifts him from the commonplace and gives to him a noble and Godlike character. If we have faith in God, we are using one of the great laws of life. The most powerful force in human nature is the spiritual power of faith. Jesus said: ‘According to your faith be it unto you’ (Matthew 9:29). (Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, 29.)
-When I lose focus and start to allow fear to creep in, come back again. I try to keep my eyes locked on Christ.
- Tool #9: Spend time in Nature
“All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3)
“But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-10)
“In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” (Psalm 95: 4-7)
- Tool #10: Spend time in the Temple
“Sometimes our minds are so beset with problems, and there are so many things clamoring for attention at once that we just cannot think clearly and see clearly. At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can “see” things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known. The Lord will bless us as we attend to the sacred ordinance work of the temples. Blessings there will not be limited to our temple service. We will be blessed in all of our affairs.” (Boyd K. Packer, Blessings of the Holy Temple, Ensign, February 1995)
“It is in the temple that we remember who we really are and see with clarity who we really can become. In this we will feel the Lord’s love for us in a personal way. It draws us to Him.” (Jean A. Stevens)
“You are never lost when you can see the temple. The temple will provide direction for you and your family in a world filled with chaos. It is an eternal guidepost which will help you from getting lost in the “mist of darkness.”” (Gary E. Stevenson, Sacred Homes, Sacred Temples, April 2009)
-My personal favorite time to go to the temple is early in the morning (usually on a Saturday). There is something special about starting my day off with the peace that comes by spending time with God in His house. After I exit the temple, I love to walk around the outside of the temple for a few minutes and listen (with headphones) to my Speaks to my Soul playlist, while writing in my journal and recording special impressions and feelings that I had while in the temple.
(as I write this now, a year into this pandemic and the temples not being fully available, I’m reminded of how much I miss the temple. I look forward to the day when I can go inside again.)
- Tool #11: Spend Time in the Scriptures
“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.” (2 Nephi 32:3)
-It really helps me to make this a real study as often as I can. Commentaries, reference companions, discussion videos on YouTube, etc. help me to gain new insights into the scriptures.
-I have really enjoyed using journaling editions of the scriptures so I have more room to write my thoughts/impressions/feelings, quotes, etc.
- Tool #12: Spend Time with Christ
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (D&C 88:63)
-Scriptures, especially the New Testament stories from Christ’s life, bible videos, etc.
(adding this on as well… If you haven’t seen The Chosen, I highly recommend it. This show is amazingly well done and has strengthened my relationship with Christ.)
- Tool #13: See, Say, Feel/ I am Statements / Affirmations / The Law of Creation
“And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon… Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other.” (2 Nephi 2:14, 16)
“And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew. For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth.” (Moses 3:5)
“And I, God, said: Let there be light; and there was light.” (Moses 2:3)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)
“And I, God, called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, called I the Sea; and I, God, saw that all things which I had made were good.” (Moses 2:10)
-God follows the creation pattern of See, Say, Feel. I am also a creator. God has given me the ability to create things in my life. I need to use this creative power wisely. I need to choose to act rather than being acted upon. I can create my own experience. The words “I am” are creation words. What matters? How I see, what I say, and how I feel.
-I learned this tool in more depth from Brooke Snow’s free online Law of Creation course.
- Tool #14: Remember Who You Are
“And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten; and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is noGod beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.
And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.
And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?” (Moses 1:6, 12-13)
-Satan is always trying to get us to live in our false identity (the natural man). He bombards us with attacks on our identity. Remembering who we are gives us a lot of power over Satan and his followers.
-Reading my Patriarchal blessing has helped me a lot with this. Also, I have audio recorded myself reading my Patriarchal blessing (in affirmation format) and I listen to that sometimes.
-A resource that has really helped me with this recently is Brooke Snow’s book, Living in Your True Identity: Discover, Embrace, and Develop Your Own Divine Nature
- Tool #15: Breathe / Get Present
“The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” (Job 33:4)
Do these tools automatically make my problems disappear and never return? No. Not usually. But they do give me peace, reassurance, perspective and the ability to keep moving forward. Small and simple things. Over time, they make a huge difference.
“I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation, for the Lord has promised that “if thou shalt [seek], thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.”
Oh, there is so much more that your Father in Heaven wants you to know. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “To those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, it is clear that the Father and the Son are giving away the secrets of the universe!”” (Russell M. Nelson, Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives, April 2018)
I encourage you to seek tools to add to your own personal Come Unto Christ toolkit. Heavenly Father is excited to give away the secrets of the universe to you.