Making time for God in a busy, technology-infused life

Riley Creer, a graduate student at Penn State University, has learned the importance of making time for God despite a busy school and family life. Although the world values instant gratification, Riley feels there is great value in working and waiting for spiritual answers. (Kalicia Bateman)

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Like many other college students and young adults, Riley Creer finds that there is not normally enough time in a day to complete all the things required of him. He has learned that finding and making the time for God in a busy schedule is critical for his spiritual well-being.

With so many distractions vying for his time and attention, Riley feels he could make more of an effort to slow down and make more room for God in his daily schedule through pondering.

“It’s something that I’m terrible at,” Riley said. “But I think in the scriptures there is a clear pattern of people pondering the experiences they’ve had or the things they’ve learned. Then immediately, they learn more or have another experience that’s even bigger that the one they just had.”

Riley admires the young Joseph Smith’s dedication to asking questions and searching for answers — taking the time to study, read and ponder.

“He (Joseph Smith) studied and thought about it. It sounds like it took up a lot of his time and a lot of his thoughts,” Riley said.

Even after Joseph Smith had his First Vision in the spring of 1820 as a 14-year-old boy, he had to wait for years to learn more about the work God had for him to do. He was continually working, waiting, and getting new answers until his martyrdom in 1844.

Although Joseph Smith spent his life in pursuit of answers, it does not mean that all of his questions were answered. Riley has come to accept that some of the questions he has may never be answered in this life, but he knows they will eventually come. Riley feels similar to Nephi, an ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon, who said, “I know that he (God) loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”

Unlike in Joseph Smith’s times, technology now plays an interesting role in the search for understanding and knowledge. Riley feels that young adults today, in a lot of ways, no longer have to wait or put in hard work to get what they want.

Siri will tell users the weather the moment they ask. Spotify or Apple Music allows listeners to stream music at the touch of a button. Google gives thousands of search results in a matter of seconds.

“The world is moving towards instant gratification — where you don’t have to wait for the next week for your episode to come on because Netflix puts the whole season on at once. So you can just binge the whole thing,” Riley said. “But I think spiritually, it’s the wait — and the work you have to put in while you wait — that’s where the growth comes from and where you find the answers.”

He admits that while instant gratification is sometimes appealing, it does not give the growth that individuals need. Waiting and working, on the other hand, does bring growth and more meaning to life. It is through the patient determination to find answers that seekers develop a closer relationship with God.

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