When I was a teen, I would sometimes worry about differentiating between spiritual promptings and my own thoughts. On my mission, I focused on what I called, “Fine tuning myself to the spirit”. It was amazing. I watched miracles unfold and gained a new level of spiritual understanding as I acted on promptings that I received.
At the end of 2019, I realized that with the busy life I lived, I did not focus on fine tuning myself to the spirit as much as I wanted to. I made a goal to write down every prompting and good thought in a journal, and what resulted (if there was a result).
It was unrealistic to carry a journal around with me everywhere I go, so I made the journal in a notes page on my phone. I call it my Fine Tuning Myself to the Spirit Journal.
In this journal, I write down the date, what I felt, what I did or didn’t do, if I listened or didn’t listen, and what happened. I also like to include the “level” of prompting. Sometimes I go back a few months later and add a “result” and sometimes that “result” is never shown.
I write down super simple things and I write down bigger things. It has been a super humbling and uplifting experience to see, feel, recognize, and record all the ways the spirit personally communicates with me. And to be really vulnerable… a few years ago, I made a BIG mistake.
While I was in Mexico for a sealing, I was prompted multiple times to visit a family that was baptized right before I went home from my mission. We already had plans that day and I didn’t want to cancel on the other members and re-arrange our busy day as well as miss out on seeing these members in a different area. And I thought, “I’ll see them when we are back in a few months for another sealing.”
Long story short, I did not listen to the promptings and I went with what had already been planned. The next day, we flew back to the USA. That night, the dad of this family that I was prompted to visit was shot just outside of his house. Shot and killed instantly.
I got word of this and felt so much shame. I was beyond frustrated with myself for not listening. If only I would have listened I thought… I would have been able to see this brother one more time in this life and be there for this family when they needed it most. I repented, I wept, I apologized and I promised to never disobey a big prompting again.
As a result, the Fine Tuning Myself to the Spirit Journal was born. God forgave me and told me that it was never too late to try again and to never stop trying.
Here are some “simpler/smaller” examples from my journal:
- 1/13/2020 I had a quick feeling to get Carter off of a barstool. I didn’t and turned around to finish washing the dishes. Carter fell off of the barstool 30 seconds later.
- 1/25/2020 I was checking out at Walmart and I had a thought that I’d need to help translate Spanish to English for someone. I didn’t have my wallet and they didn’t take Apple Pay so I had to go to customer service and wait till I got Walmart pay set up. Right when I got to customer service, a worker was struggling to communicate with a Spanish speaking man. She asked for support and they didn’t have any Spanish speaking employees on shift right then. I told her I spoke Spanish and she was super relieved. I helped translate for the man and get his problem resolved. I paid for my groceries and was on my way.
- 05/10/2019 At church, a young mother walked out of relief society with her crying new born baby boy. I had a feeling to go and help. I thought oh I don’t know her, that might be weird and I don’t want to embarrass her. I had another prompting. I hesitated cause I didn’t want to be wrong. I then had another prompting and I got up quickly, left the room, and approached her in the hall (my heart was racing). I said, “Hey, I don’t want to step on your toes and I don’t know you… but I keep having the same feeling to come and ask if I can help you with your baby. I’d love to hold him for you while you listen to the lesson in relief society.” She burst into tears and was so grateful. I validated her feelings and told her that there is no shame in needing a break with your baby and that being a new mom can be hard! We all need breaks. I was 7 months pregnant with baby Charlie and I held her baby for 45 mins in the nursing room while she was in Relief Society. Very small act, made both of our days.
I like to say… “All we have to do is listen and act on the promptings we receive”. If only it was that simple. I believe we can make it simple with practice and determination. I love to acknowledge when I listen and when I don’t. I love to learn from all experiences and to let it shape how I handle spiritual guidance in the future.