Ok, so I'm back, but I shan't get give you the next installment of my March of Dissipation today.
I've been thinking about Elder Bednar's Conference talk. Conference, by the way, was lovely as usual. I gladly trade the usual three hours in the Church building wrestling the youngsters in high heels, for 8 hours in my yoga pants in front of the TV, watching the GAs. (To be clear, I'm the one in the heels, but perhaps if I put the kids in heels and I wore Nikes, everything would be more pleasant and I wouldn't scowl.)
Anyhow, I was talking with my sister not too long ago about how the Spirit works for us personally, and then after that discussion, I started asking the same question of some other friends and family. And I was interested to hear that all of us were being taught somewhat differently. I explained to them how the Spirit works for me: pray, then wait until I feel peace about my way forward. But many times my answer is no answer because the decision doesn't really need to be made yet. I feel sometimes that the Lord is telling me not to plan too far ahead, but to fill this time with what I already know I should be doing, keep my options open, and wait for further instruction, or for new, completely different things to be thrown into my path. Sometimes I feel like there are many ways I can go, and many of them acceptable to the Lord. Sometimes when I finally do get the calm, peaceful feeling I'm waiting for, and move forward, my steps are still tentative. I don't always feel sure until I'm up to my neck in it. The Spirit also tells me when someone speaks truth because I feel tingling and pressure in my head (often I end up in tears). It confirms all truth, whether I am learning spiritual things, walking through some Indian ruins in the Painted Desert, watching a show about black holes on the Discovery Channel, or chatting with a friend. And also, very, very occasionally, I have heard an actual voice inside my head that is not my own, that gives short, meaningful instruction and intense comfort.
As I explained this to one friend, she seemed to think I was being a little laissez-faire, and needed to run a tighter spiritual ship. She said she needs more timely, specific revelation, and she gets it.
Another woman gets very strong spiritual confirmations for many questions she has, answers that leave her without doubt. She even has the Spirit tell her when someone else is struggling, or will soon struggle, many times with deeply personal issues. Sometimes these people are near-strangers. She feels the burden of acting on this knowledge, even though many times she doesn't really know how, because she doesn't know if anyone else will know to help. She said she knows this isn't how it works for most people, that it some sort of spiritual gift, and she hasn't always had it.
Another friend told me she feels a burning in her chest, and thought everyone else did, too.
I don't know what exactly to say about all this, because I already understood that our communication with the Lord is a personal one, and so I shouldn't be surprised at the differing ways the Spirit communicates with us as individuals, but I guess I was...fascinated by the variety. And Elder Bednar's talk further clarified my thoughts. His analogy about light and the Spirit (most of the time the Comforter is slow and nearly imperceptible, like the rising sun, although it is occasionally intense and dramatic, like flipping on a light in a dark room), resonated with me. It reminded me that the voice of the Spirit, for me, and for most people, most of the time, really is still and small.
How does the Holy Ghost speak to you? (Feel free to post anonymously).
Is there a Conference talk you are still thinking about?