It has been a few weeks since my last post. I've been working on another project in the meantime, yet I have had plenty of spiritual experiences since and feel it's time to write them down.
First, I'd like to share an experience that happened today in Sacrament meeting. Our bishop stood up to bear his testimony before opening it up to the congregation, but this Sunday was different. He told of a story from last year where he attended a church meeting with all of the apostles. At the end of the meeting, President Boyd K. Packer asked that the apostles share their testimonies, so each one did. When they were finished, Packer approached the pulpit again and said, "Those were very nice stories, and I'm aware of the Spirit being here because of them, however, those were not testimonies. Now, I'd like each of you to get up again and bear your testimonies." My bishop told us, "Brothers and sisters, after that, the meeting changed completely." He then invited us to share what we knew to be true and promised that we would receive the answers to our fasts if we bore our testimonies that day.
My goodness, what a wonderful experience to be a part of! I cannot remember feeling the Spirit so strongly in a Sacrament meeting. Person after person got up and shared their knowledge of the gospel. After hearing "I know...," "I know...," "I know...," one could not help but feel the power of our ward and the testimonies within it. I had the great opportunity of bearing my own testimony, and in stating the words, "I know," I received guidance in my testimony that has proved to be a sweet experience for me. I can tell you that I know this gospel is true and that God does hear and answer our prayers.
With this in mind, I'd like the majority of this post to be my testimony. I've been on a kick recently about our purpose here on earth and how to manifest that in our daily actions. Our daily actions are what make up who we are, what characteristics we acquire, and how we are progressing. It is in the Now that we make these decisions. As Neal A. Maxwell has said, "There can be no agency avoidance. No decision is a decision. Delay is a delusion, and that delay always discards the holy present. It simply throws it away."
I'm in the process of striving to receive revelation for myself on a particular subject that is very important to me. This fast Sunday, I've studied talks on the subject and have prayed fervently for an answer. I feel like this blog post may also help in my process of receiving revelation, so please bear with me if some of this seems less accessible, though I'll bet you can relate to at least some of the questions I've been asking.
I recently read a talk by Richard G. Scott called, "Finding Happiness." In this talk, Elder Scott states, “The intent of your Father in Heaven is to lift you from where you are to where he knows you will have eternal purpose and unspeakable happiness. By using the talents, abilities, and latent capacities developed in the premortal existence, he will lead you through growth experiences here on earth.”
This life is an experience of joy. We are here in mortality because our Heavenly Father wants us to attain the highest degree of glory and happiness for all of eternity. What a wonderful fact! How blessed we are to know this of our mortal journey and our Heavenly Father! However, in order to obtain that happiness, we must expand our souls (Alma 5:9) and gain the characteristics needed to become gods. We are here for a purpose; we are here to progress. This discipleship is not a passive lifestyle.
Elder Scott posed some questions that made me reexamine my daily actions in relation to my eternal goals. He said, “I am confident you have the intention of doing all of the right things. Yet I wonder, are you doing them as fully and as completely as you are capable of doing? That is not an accusatory question. It is one asked in sincerity to help you, if needed, to open your eyes and evaluate each day’s decisions to confirm that what you are doing will lead you to where you most desire to be... Your goals are noble, but you decide by the choices you make each day whether they will be realized or not. A knowledge of truth is of little value unless lived in full measure."
The reason we are here can be realized daily. We can access our God daily and know what He would have us do to continue building up His kingdom. It is when we act with purpose daily to follow His counsel and refine ourselves that we will truly be surprised by who we can become.
Brothers and sisters, I have had some experiences this year that have struck me hard. They have been difficult challenges that have forced me to examine my plans, my confidence, and my spirit. Yet, I cannot express how grateful I am to my Father in Heaven for blessing me with these experiences and with the tools to utilize these experiences in the most effective way possible to develop a stronger relationship with Him.
As of late, I have come to feel the power of our purpose here on earth, brothers and sisters. Our Heavenly Father has specific goals and plans for each of us. He has given us characteristics, talents, people, callings, jobs, and interests that are specific to us. He expects us to take these blessings and expand them. He expects us to marinate in the words of God and to live lives that radiate with light and truth. He expects us to gather His sheep and to bring as many of His children back to Him as we can. He expects us to be as He is.
Do not waste the present. I have gained a fresh testimony today of the importance of these moments now and how we consecrate our time for the building up of God's kingdom. Every day can be filled with revelation--personal revelation that God means for you. If we search for these messages, hunger after them and watch for them in our scriptures, prayers, temple worship, and interactions with others, we "will be overwhelmed with gratitude to find that He has come to trust [us]" (Henry B. Eyring).
I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and the opportunities we have to receive these promptings from our Heavenly Father. I want to share one last quote from Neil L. Andersen's talk, "Preparing for Your Spiritual Destiny." He says, “Personal revelation received through the gift of the Holy Ghost guides us through the unforeseen in accomplishing what we are here to do.”
Brothers and sisters, may we rely on the Lord to travel through the unforeseen and may we recognize for what purpose we are here on earth. I promise that every time you re-recognize your purpose, your perspective will shift, and the mountains you found before you will turn into molehills. You will find the strength of Christ from His atoning sacrifice to conquer any challenges that stand in your way. Because you are here for a purpose, and if you remember that in all your daily actions, you shall not fail.
Thank you for letting me share these thoughts. I know they are true, and I feel the power and love of God as I figure out, piece by piece, just what He has in store for me.