In the Church we are encouraged to study the Book of Mormon, read the General Conference Addresses, read and prepare a home teaching message from the monthly First Presidency message from the Ensign, study the Gospel Doctrine lesson, study the Priesthood lesson, and if your calling requires it, also prepare a lesson for your class. Add to that Family History work, Temple attendance, Home Teaching…
How do we find time to do everything that is expected of us?
It sounds like you are feeling a bit overwhelmed. Indeed it does sound overwhelming when you put it in those terms. I have a couple thoughts that might help. First, remember that the Lord has counseled us through King Benjamin:
“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.” Mosiah 4:27
Do not run faster than you have strength. Our relationship with God is not a “to do’ list and never should be. If you’re seeing your spiritual life that way, you will feel anxious and unhappy. A new angle is needed. The things you mentioned are all good things that can help us on our path to God, but they are intended to help support you like a life preserver and not to stress you and pull you under the water like a millstone.
Take a step back from the list for a moment and ask yourself what things help you feel closer to God. How can you more adequately nourish your relationship with the Father and the Savior? Which suggestions from your list would be helpful for you at this time in your life?
Remember also that there are different times, seasons and missions in this life. (I’m not talking about 2 yr proselytizing missions here, but life goals.) Joseph taught (Ensign, May 2006, 54–570) that “magnify your calling” simply means you are doing everything God requires you to for it. In the case of home teaching, the Spirit might tell you meeting once a month and reading the message is sufficient for a family. He may also tell you that you need to be making bi-weekly visits, taking over food, and helping with household chores. If we’re talking about two different home teachers here, we shouldn’t think the latter is magnifying his calling while the former is shirking his duty. Similarly, a person might be prompted that scrapbooking highlights in her children’s lives is currently sufficient for family history (generations later, when she becomes the person of interest, those documents will come in handy).
Finally, I counsel you to re-read (or watch) Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk, The Gift of Grace, from the recent (April 2015) conference. His words serve as both a reminder, a teacher and a balm to our spirits. Here are some of the highlights from that talk:
“Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the blood of the Son of God.”
“If grace is a gift of God, why then is obedience to God’s commandments so important? Why bother with God’s commandments—or repentance, for that matter? Why not just admit we’re sinful and let God save us?”
“Brothers and sisters, we obey the commandments of God—out of love for Him!”
“As we walk the path of discipleship, it refines us, it improves us, it helps us to become more like Him, and it leads us back to His presence. “The Spirit of the Lord [our God]” brings about such “a mighty change in us, … that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”
“Dear brothers and sisters, living the gospel faithfully is not a burden. It is a joyful rehearsal—a preparation for inheriting the grand glory of the eternities. We seek to obey our Heavenly Father because our spirits will become more attuned to spiritual things. Vistas are opened that we never knew existed. Enlightenment and understanding come to us when we do the will of the Father.”
Continue to strive to keep the commandments and counsel we have been given, Steven, but do it out of love and gratitude for the Savior, not out of fear. Then you will find the Lord’s yoke is easy and His burden light. (Matthew 11:30).