Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pursuing Promptings ... by Cindy Beck

© Cindy Beck, 2009
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, promptings, Spirit, Holy Ghost, heed promptings, pursuing promptings, Latter-day Saints, LDS, Mormon, yourLDSNeighborhood.com)

Most of us, at one time or another, have trouble heeding the promptings of the Spirit. It’s not usually a case of rebelliousness, but more a product of not understanding what we’re being told.

In the fall of 2007, an unwise decision to ignore the Spirit resulted in an accident on my bike. The broken elbow that followed gave me pause and since then, I’ve come up with a few thoughts on following the dictates of the Spirit.

Pray daily to be guided by the Spirit, and to have an increased sensitivity to His promptings. Ask for help in understanding what the Spirit is telling you. This is vitally important. So often we pray for help, but don’t pray for understanding concerning the how and why of the directives we’re given.

When a particular thought enters your mind repeatedly, don’t say, “Hmm, that’s interesting,” and then go about life as normal. Write the thoughts down, look at them throughout the day, and use your intuitive powers to figure out what you think the Spirit is saying. Once you think you understand, ask for confirmation.

Never ignore a prompting, no matter whether it seems trivial, silly or embarrassing. Recently, I had a nonsensical dream about a friend that had long ago broken off a relationship with me. The dream about her stayed with me during the day, and in keeping with my newfound resolution to heed the Spirit, I decided to visit her. However, deciding to visit and actually doing it was another thing. That friendship had ended on an angry tone. Anxiety and nervousness over how my visit would be received had me pacing the floor. It took half the day to work up the courage to call and arrange it. At my friend’s house, I looked at the carpet, cleared my throat and finally told her about the dream. To my surprise, she seemed to understand what it meant, and although she never gave me an interpretation of it, the incident resulted in reconciliation between us. I’m so grateful I did as the Spirit directed.

When you receive promptings for mundane tasks like, “I’d better pick up that toy lying on the stairs,” you might not see any direct result. Don’t assume that means it wasn’t a whisper from the Holy Ghost. So often we are guided in areas that we deem unimportant, but who can judge the value of a decision that prevents an unseen accident or tragedy?

An author friend of mine, Rachelle Christensen, admits she once received such a prompting but because it came as a quiet whisper and she was busy at the time, she didn’t follow through. While walking through the living room, she saw one of her children’s toys lying on the floor—a small plastic pony. “I noticed it and that should have been enough to pick it up but my hands were full. Later, I was in a hurry and came up with a bottle of applesauce from downstairs and stepped on it just right so that my foot turned over and I fell forward, out of control.” Rachelle not only sprained her ankle, but suffered bruises from the fall.

Remember that all good things come from the Lord. If a thought pops into your mind directing you to do a good deed, don’t waste your time trying to figure out if it was a kindly thought or direction from the Spirit. Instead, just go do it. More often than not, it is guidance you’re receiving.

Another author friend, Nichole Giles, felt a prompting to go outside one hot July afternoon and check on her family’s litter of puppies and their mama. “It was around a hundred degrees outside and I wanted to make sure they had enough shade and water to drink. When I got outside, all the water was gone—the bowls even overturned—and the puppies were lying in every patch of shade they could find and whining because they were so hot. Feeling terrible about their discomfort, I set up a second umbrella (they already had one) and filled their water containers with cool water to drink. As soon as I set them down, those pups and their mother lapped that water up until it was gone, so I refilled it again. While I was out there, I soaked the grass and filled up a low-sided Rubbermaid container so they wouldn't run out again, and so they could jump in it to cool off. Every one of those dogs jumped and played in the water. They'd been cooking in that sunshine. If I hadn't gone out there, the poor dogs might have died from heatstroke.”

From my own experience, I know that following through on the Spirit’s guidance to do a kind deed can often result in being in the right place when another person needs help. One afternoon, while cooking a pot of soup, I received an impression to take some to a friend. You have to understand that in the instant I announce my intention to take someone a meal, the main course will burn, and the dessert will fall flat. I hesitated. Is this really the Holy Ghost speaking to me, or do I have these feelings because I happened to think of Elaine?

I pondered the impression for a few minutes and finally said, “There’s probably nothing wrong with her, but it’s always fun to have someone bring a meal, especially when you’ve had a busy day at work.”

For once, the food turned out right … that in itself should have told me it was a prompting! I drove to Elaine’s house with it and rang the doorbell. Her husband answered the door and ushered me in. There on the couch sat Elaine, pale and weary. Unbeknownst to me, she’d had gall bladder surgery and had just come home from the hospital. The meal was well received and appreciated. Gratitude filled my heart for the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.

If you follow the steps above, I can’t promise that you will always know the right action to take in life. But I can guarantee that you’ll feel an increase in knowledge about the workings of the Spirit, and will become better able to feel and understand His presence.

And isn’t that what we all want?

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