Sunday, December 26, 2010
Typically I write out my church talks word for word ahead of time. I'm a planner and a detail girl, so I don't always read every word but I definitely write every word. That's how I started planning this talk a couple of weeks ago when I received the assignment to speak. But last night, well after midnight, my two weeks of planning weren't coming together, and I was getting tired and frustrated. My head was definitely overloaded with way too much information. So I stopped perfecting my talk and said a prayer for help. i asked Heavenly Father to help me give the talk that He wanted me to give, and to help me to listen well enough to be able to hear it. I got the distinct impression shortly afterward that it was more important for me to get some sleep instead of continuing to perfect that talk because that's not the one I was going to give anyway. (yikes!) This morning I got up feeling uneasy about the thought of "flying blind" without a written talk in front of me, so I decided to print out my talk and bring it with me just in case I needed it. I realized our printer was running out of ink when I saw the big white space down the center of every page. Even if I had wanted to give that talk, I couldn't have. So, I finally gave in and listened to the Spirit (which is what the lesson was supposed to teach me anyway, right?) I walked up to the stand this morning with nothing written down, no notes, and no plan! (definitely in the top 5 on the list of scariest things I've ever done!) But with the help of the Holy Ghost, I said the things that I needed to say, and when I sat down, I felt like I had done what I was supposed to do. It was a huge confidence building experience for me.
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths for righteousness." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I already knew that when I listen, I will be directed. Today, I sealed it.
In April, Julie B Beck gave a talk in General Conference. In it she said, "The ability to qualify for, receive and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that we can acquire in this life." I did not hear that talk in the Saturday morning session of Conference. A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to attend a multi-stake RS conference. A member of the General RS Board was the speaker and in her talk she said, "The ability to qualify for, receive and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that we can acquire in this life." I did not know then that she was giving the same message that I had missed in conference, but her character and conviction were memorable and I knew that what she was saying was important, so I wrote it down. About a month later, my family was in HOU for an extended period of time and we attended church two times while we were there. The first ward we attended was having Ward Conference and the Stake RS Pres gave her lesson based on Sister Beck's talk from Conference. So I heard again, "the ability to qualify for, receive and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that we can acquire in this life." The next week we went to a different ward, and guess what the RS lesson was about?! Yep, the same thing. I heard that same message three times in three different and unexpected places. I'm sure it was not an accident.
I was different in April. My countenance was different. My convictions were different. My testimony was significantly different. But even though I was not in a place where I could hear Sister Beck's original message, I still needed to hear it. So Heavenly Father made that possible...three different times.
I didn't know what to do with the information at the time, but I felt the significance of it, and the events of the months following have allowed me to figure it out. Flying under the radar in my ward for the past few months without a calling has given me time to fill with better habits than I have ever had in the past. I spend time in the scriptures every day. I have sincere prayers daily...more frequently, if necessary. And I listen to the guidance of the Holy Ghost which is continual and clear lately.
I believe that each of us has a road map for our lives, which ultimately ends with a place in the presence of our Heavenly Father with our families. The destination is the same for each of us, but the points along the way are individual and specific. And the only way we can recognize and prepare for the details of that road map is to "qualify for, receive and act on personal revelation."