Do you ever get the feeling that you just really have to do something?
Like turn off the stove, or double check something to find out that you really missed it the first time.
Or, go out of your way to do something and never really understand why it was you felt so pulled to do it?
I believe that these promptings come from a HOLY source. They help someone in one way or another. They enable us. They give us comfort or peace. They inspire us to consider more than we would have. They encourage diligence and effort when otherwise we could have been complacent or worse.
It has been a passion of mine to try to be self aware. I have always been fearful of hitting a brick wall and finding out that I've arrived at the end. Like the movie, "The Truman Show", where a man is in a fake reality, and finds out. But worse, there's nothing outside your globe.
It's an irrational fear, but consider with me as did René Descartes, "I think, therefore I am." But what if that stops? What if I get so ingrained into my life that something stops? I see old people incapable of a certain function because they stopped for so long. What if that happens to me? What if I realize someday that I can't do something...or worse...what if I don't realize it and I slowly am drifting towards uselessness.
This is a real fear for me as my motto in life has always been that of President Spencer W. Kimball. 'Do It.' Or as more commonly noted as Nike's slogan, "Just Do It."
I am a firm believer that the English dictionary does not contain the word "CAN'T" but that "CAN'T" is a contraction of two words. CAN but WON'T. I believe that everyone can do anything but they choose NOT to do what they are unwilling to do.
This lesson was taught to me by my older brother Garrett one day when I was listening to him improvise on the piano. I sat in awe (usually the case with my older brother) listening to him.
When he finished playing, I said in reverence, "I wish I could play like that."
He responded so curtly that I was instantly taken back. "No you don't."
Shocked and trying to flatter him (not that he needed it) I stammered, "Yes I do. You play so well, and can make up anything. I wish I could play like that."
Seeing he had my attention, he turned towards me, showing me that he was intent at communicating, and clarified. "If you really wished that you could play like me, you would. You would practice, and learn to do it."
I'm fairly confident that my brother at that instant was following one of those promptings (not that he wasn't capable of intense thought and personal engagement) but to drive a point, he had no personal gain in giving me that brief but poignant speech.
That moment I decided I would quit being lazy at the piano, and started up again.
My mother had paid for me to take many years of lessons on the piano...all of which I wasted by my lack of desire and failure to practice. But, all it took for me to commit to learn was a few simple words from my brother at just the right moment.
My commitment was there, and I taught myself. I learned to sit and play my own improvisation and to create my own melodies. I learned to read music and now enjoy a skill at music.
This one example has been a source of learning to which I have been able to compare my own efforts to "Keep Moving Forward" (as they say in the movie Meet The Robinson's).
As I have learned to keep learning and keep listening to the promptings in life, I have seen my efforts to grow enable me to be used by God to bless not only my life, but also the lives of others.
I have changed careers many times. Somewhat out of my desire to keep learning, somewhat out of my impatience with a career to progress as quickly as I would like, and somewhat through the promptings I have received.
Now, to address the topic of this blog. How do we understand the promptings that come into our life?
To begin, I point to my desire to understand and my desire to receive promptings. I was told once in a youth fireside something powerful from Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
This impression caused me to begin and become very diligent in writing a journal. I wrote often over the years and now have 7 books of my life journal from 11 years old until today. I have recorded small and frivolous activities, and very powerful promptings. Some promptings have been so powerful and exact that they have been written word for word as they were received many different times.
Sometimes promptings come to me with a general thought that I can write about and clarify with current understanding and research. Sometimes they come word for word as a direct command to myself from God. Sometimes they are a small insight that I almost perceive as my own thoughts. Sometimes they come as a vivid dream with some very specific details.
Following the advice taught to me as a young teenager, I have sought diligently to record and save these promptings. I have them. Most of them are currently sitting in a box being stored at my parent's home as our RV can't lug around my wife (Shandra) and my book collections.
More important than writing down these promptings has been the recording of how I felt when I received them. Recording what was going on in my life at the time I received them. Engraving the record of my mind, my heart, and my actions together have helped me to see and understand who I am.
I know when a thought is from God and when it is from Satan. I know when a thought is my own and when it is from God. I know when parts and pieces of a thought are mine, but the context and grammar are from God. I know when dreams and ideas are from God. I know that when I act on the things from God I am blessed with more and when I fail to do so, He waits for me to act before I receive anything else.
I know these things for myself because I have recorded them for years. I have read and studied the changes and growth of my understanding and written my theories. I have tested those theories and proven them in every scenario. I have applied logical reason, emotions, hope, faith, and scriptural evidences. I have even confirmed these conclusions with direct affirmation from God.
I have had people tell me, "You have a special connection to get promptings like you do." or more adamantly, "That's freaky how you had that dream the night before it happened." or more reverently, "I wish I could get promptings like you do...I guess you are just more special..."
You can bet I wanted to respond just like my brother did to me with the piano, but...I listened to the prompting which said that it wasn't appropriate to rebuttal their statement. Instead, I would like to give a conclusive response and quote our Savior.
To quote Jesus on the "Golden Rule", "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." (Luke 6:31)
And so I share with you this simple truth.
When Jesus calls an apostle and gives unto him the sealing power and authority to act for and in behalf of God himself on earth, and when an apostle gives advice on how to receive and strengthen your personal relationship with Jesus (as well at that "other comforter which [HE] shall send) and you obey, then you are entitled to the promise and blessing which that apostle gives in conjunction with that advice.
I witness to you that the relationship I have with the Holy Comforter is a relationship akin to that of my wife and I. We have been together for many years. We listen to and talk to each other. We give and receive advice...scratch that...I RECEIVE MUCH ADVICE and give questions and concerns. I do things throughout the day that invites HIM(Holy Comforter)/HER(my wife) to want to be in my presence. I write down and store the wonderful memories and experiences and learn from any bad ones (miscommunication/misunderstandings/selfishness/greed/fear) so that we can become closer and more united.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we are baptized after we turn 8. At that same time, we are Confirmed a member of the church, and given the gift of the Holy Comforter, or the gift of the Holy Ghost with the words, "and [I/we] say unto you, RECEIVE THE HOLY GHOST..."
As I have baptized my two oldest sons, I have often asked them at the end of the day about their experiences.
What have they learned about their gift?
How have they gotten to know the Holy Ghost today?
What did he say to you? And did you listen?
They, as have I, mentioned many times missing out on the opportunities to follow promptings. I have been sad as a father to realize the failed opportunities to teach and enable my children and others to take advantage of those opportunities.
I write this blog for the intent that my children, clients, employees, and friends might see and know to what hope you might look in this world.
I can build beautiful homes. I can remodel and change colors/design/theme/areas of a living space or a plot of ground. I can advise on financial decisions and resale value. I can go into people's homes and help them make decisions that are wise. I can do these things because I have learned to do them over many years.
Imagine how much better we would all be if we knew and were comfortable with someone who knew...EVERYTHING. Every past experience. Every Future Experience. Every good choice and bad. Every best practice and timing. This is a real thing. God does know all things, and he knows how to give a good gift.
Just as we (imperfect creatures) tell our kids sometimes, "No." Or to wait, or to go ahead and try it for themselves if they aren't willing to listen, GOD KNOWS ALL. He intends to give us every good gift. In fact, in my church, we believe that HE wants to give us all that he has. I believe that to be true, and so I seek for all that is good, virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy. I seek it at His hand and no where else. I know to whom I can look to guide my efforts, for encouragement, inspiration, peace, and comfort. I know who can best enable me. I know who will always lead me to help others.
Join me in the search for happiness as we all try a little more to understand the world in which we live, and our purpose in it.