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I make this resolution every year. I decide at the end of the year that I don’t want to spend another year as a less active member of the church. I think about going back, I plan to go back, I buy a new outfit, I tell my friends, and then Sunday comes, and for some reason I think of some excuse not to go. I would love to end 2017 as an active member, but I don’t think I’m ready to commit to being a faithful churchgoer. How do I reconcile who I am with who I want to be?
— Wanna Be Active
Dear Wanna Be Active,
Congrats on having the desire to attend church and strengthen your faith in 2017. This is a tremendous goal.
When you’ve been out of a church for a while — or any healthy habit for that matter — getting started is often the most difficult step. You’ve got the best intentions but are then bombarded with all the reasons not to do it when the time comes. We’ve all been there!
First, understand that you don’t have to be fully committed to attend church; your attendance helps you to build commitment. You’ll most likely associate with at least a few people who are in the same situation as you — trying to come back, trying to be better people, trying to build faith, commitment, happiness and discipleship. It’s a process for everyone.
Some practical steps to help you get to church:
1. Since you’ve told your friends, ask one of them to come with you and give you a ride. Tell them that you’ll try to get out of it and commit them to come to your house ready to go anyway.
2. Instead of committing to be active in 2017, choose one Sunday and commit to go inside and sit down in sacrament meeting on that specific Sunday. And once you’ve done it, then do it again. People are more successful when they break large goals down into small chunks.
3. Pray for help. Tell Heavenly Father that you’re not perfect, you’re not sure if you’re ready to change, but you want to take the first step on the path to doing so. He will help you.
I hope this advice is helpful. We’re rooting for you.
Readers: How have you overcome the challenge of returning to church? How do you stay active?
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