I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gospel Message Day 117

Holy Ghost, Part 2

I think the best way to talk about the Spirit--without repeating the basics over and over what I said in yesterday's introduction--is to share some personal experiences. Nothing too sacred, of course, because that would take away its sacredness.

One experience I often think of is what I have come to call My Mission Decision. (I don't know if I've told this story on this blog before. If I have, I apologize.) I grew up in a very missionary-minded family. Both of my parents served full-time missions. I had 6 brothers. We talked (and sang) about missions a lot as we grew up. I spent my child and teen years planning to serve as well. For the majority of them, I thought I would get to go at 19 like my brothers. Then I learned that the age for sisters to go was 21. (Imagine the emotions for me when the age for sisters was changed to 19 two years ago.) Age 2 put me one semester away from finishing my undergraduate college education, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to take a break to serve 18 months. But I could put my papers in, and I had spent a lifetime planning on serving.

I did a lot of pondering and praying about this choice. Each decision I made was some form of leaving to serve a mission--whether the end of the summer, or the end of the semester, or something else. I wanted to know If the decisions I was making were a good ones. But every time I had made a decision, I felt so unsettled in my mind and in my emotions. I found I couldn't concentrate on anything. I also found myself being quite anxious over all kinds of things. In the Doctrine and Covenants section 9 verse 8-9, we read:
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong
My anxiety and lack of focus was my stupor of thought. The Spirit was letting me know whatever the decision I had just made, it was not the best one for me at that time. After a few of these stupors following decisions, I finally made a decision that did not involved me serving anytime in the near future. And I was filled immediately with peace, calm, and reassurance. I knew that the Spirit was telling me this was the best decision. The one that would bring me the greatest happiness as well as put me where I needed to be for what the Lord had in mind.

Within two months, I was in the first month of my last semester--which included two literature classes. (That means a TON of work.) I was baby-sitting my two brand new nieces when their parents' school and work schedules needed me to help out. I was helping to unite many new and old ward members through our sports activities. I was called into the Relief Society presidency. Drained from the previous year's non-stop school, work, and trials and then doubling those with the new semester, I fell victim to a nervous breakdown early on--which very likely could have occurred near the beginning of a mission if I'd left right away and not given myself sufficient time to heal.

Instead, I found myself in a situation where I was serving in a ward where I was known and cared for, and I also had family nearby to help take care of me. I had purpose in a calling in which I was immediately able to serve without having to work through my unfortunate personality and social anxieties. (A mission would have taken a few months to work through those.) And when I emotionally collapsed, I was surrounded by support and comfort. I may have found those while on a mission, but I wouldn't have been much use for what I was supposed to be there for.

The Lord knew best and He used the Spirit to guide me in my decision that would put me where I needed to be at that time. I had to do my part. I had to ponder out what to do. I had to make my own decision. And when I went to the Lord with that decision, I had to be worthy enough to be in tune with the Spirit so that I recognized what its promptings were telling me.

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