GETTING HIT WITH A SPIRITUAL TON OF BRICKS…
Years ago I was listening to yet another inspiring account from a sister in Relief Society as she spoke about following the spirit as it inspired her to take action and the rewards that followed because of her ability to listen to that prompting.
After church (with tears running down my face) I called my mother and my frustrations poured out between sobs. Why couldn’t I have the same spiritual experiences that other women had? Was I really just not righteous enough to experience such blessings? How could I tell when I was having a prompting or if it was something else?
My mother said those words that all mothers seem to know to calm a frustrated child and then she revealed all the secrets I had been longing to know the answers to on how to listen to the spirit.
“Your intuition is to do good and to be good, and as you follow the Holy Spirit, your moral authority and influence will grow,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson
As women, we are born with special gifts and distinctive capabilities that we received from God. Sadly, somewhere along our paths in life, we have started to doubt those gifts we have been divinely blessed with. Living in the world sometimes has that effect on us, we get these little seeds of doubt placed in our heads by people passing through our lives that make us doubt ourselves instead of doubting our doubts.
We become more afraid of what others might think or say, that we are to seem strange our out of place. Or possibly we are just afraid to trust ourselves enough to use the blessings we have been so divinely blessed with. Fear is a peculiar thing, it’s an instinct that is meant to protect us, yet sometimes instead of protecting us, it prevents us from listening to that still small voice. We start doubting our selves, and ask is that really the spirit whispering intuition to me or is this just me having silly thoughts, wishful thinking, or maybe I’m just being a worry wart?
An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.
Our minds are designed to protect us from fear, to prevent us from feeling pain, from getting into a dangerous situation. What if I told you that same fear that is designed to protect you is also hurting you? Preventing you from listening to that still small voice of inspiration that the spirit is whispering in your mind.
As I dried my eyes and used yet another tissue to wipe away my frustration, my mother told me how to learn to follow my intuition.
Your intuition is like a muscle, the more that you use it, the more you will be able to understand the difference between the whisperings of the spirit and a random thought, she told me. Every time you listen your ability to hear the promptings of the spirit will grow stronger and stronger.
“You should also pray too, you know.” I could feel her smiling over the phone in that knowing way that moms do.
Why it had not occurred to me to pray for help in listening to the spirit, was really unknown to me. It was one of those duh, I should have thought about that moments.
“Try this,” she said, “next time you are in a grocery store and you have a prompting to buy a bottle of ketchup, do it, don’t even question it. Just start following the little promptings, take notice of every tiny one.”
Our call ended, and I hit the floor in prayer. My prayers are sometimes awkward and somewhat irreverent, and this one was no different. The sentence, “Heavenly Father, I need help listening to my intuition and promptings. Not just a little help, but a lot because I’m pretty bad at this, can you just hit me like a ton of bricks so I know when I’m getting a prompting? “
Spiritual bricks are funny things because you would think I would have had an experience that began with a choir of angels singing around me as I was listing to the spirit, but no it wasn’t quite like that.
That next Sunday as I was getting ready for church I had a distinct impression to grab a sweater to bring with me to church. I did what any sensible girl who was trying to listen to promptings would do, I ignored it. It was May in Arizona and the weather report called for 100 degrees that day, it was an illogical thought to even consider bringing a sweater in that weather. So I made the choice to leave my sweaters hanging in the closet.
That small choice I regretted for the next three hours sitting in 60-degree temperatures because the AC units had been cranked down to arctic levels and no one seemed to know how to return them to normal. Nearly shivering in Relief Society I was hit by that spiritual ton of bricks.
With that, I learned a valuable lesson, never ignore a prompting no matter how strange or inconsequential it may seem.
“This voice of the Spirit speaks gently, prompting you what to do or what to say, or it may caution or warn you. Ignore or disobey these promptings, and the Spirit will leave you. It is your choice—your agency.” —President Boyd K. Packer
Hindsight is 20/20 they say, I felt lucky that my disobedience to a small prompting was not something that was of eternal consequence. That spiritual ton of bricks had not been something that had caused the spirit to leave me and it caused me to be so much more diligent in listing to the still small voice no matter what it was speaking to me.
“We have only to open the ‘many windows’ to our soul—to happily employ our eyes and ears and intuition, to use our sense and our senses and our ‘inward vision.’ We can furnish our minds with interesting pictures to look at, inspiring things to hear, happy memories to live with” (Marion D. Hanks, Improvement Era, Oct. 1964, 883).