Thursday, October 31, 2013

Receiving Revelation is Active: Anxiety is Not Happiness

This past month, I have been studying personal revelation, particularly "receiving revelation.

First, I must explain that revelation is something that anyone can receive through the Holy Ghost. In the talk, How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life, Elder Richard G. Scott said "The Holy Ghost communicates important information that we need to guide us in our mortal journey. When it is crisp and clear and essential, it warrants the title of revelation. When it is a series of promptings we often have to guide us step by step to a worthy objective, for the purpose of this message, it is inspiration."

Understanding the definition of revelation is not something I typically struggle with to understand. However, I do struggle with the 'receiving' part. I often times pray for answers to prayers - whether trying to figure out the next life event, or praying for the health of persons I care deeply about. I try hard to listen because I know the Holy Ghost is soft-spoken. And when I can't hear the Lord, even after waiting for a while and trying to exercise patience, I get deeply frustrated. That is when I have to remember the promise: God hears and answers the prayers of His children.

In the talk, The Spirit of Revelation, Elder Bednar said, "As you appropriately seek for and apply unto the spirit of revelation, I promise you will “walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5; 2 Nephi 12:5). Sometimes the spirit of revelation will operate immediately and intensely, other times subtly and gradually, and often so delicately you may not even consciously recognize it. But regardless of the pattern whereby this blessing is received, the light it provides will illuminate and enlarge your soul, enlighten your understanding (see Alma 5:7; 32:28), and direct and protect you and your family." 

Sometimes I am confused about what it means to have faith to receive answers/revelation. I feel like I need to do the best I can in order to be open to the Spirit and the revelation from God. I often get stuck with 'how much is too much.' 

For example, my sweetheart and I have been praying about our next life steps. We know that staying in the Virginia area is most likely not in our immediate future. As we contemplate a big move, there are several questions we need to answer: where do we want to go, where does the Lord need us the most, would we be able to secure jobs so that we can take care of ourselves financially, what moving company would give us the best rate, do we sell everything we have and just go for it...the list goes on and on. Thinking about these things is overwhelming at times, and trying to plan something that we are not super sure about freaks me out and I get major anxiety about not knowing what is beyond "the now." I also realize that asking questions and not doing research about any of them, does not help us receive revelation - receiving revelation is not LAZY.

Just with almost everything faith-related, ACTION is required in order to receive revelation. In the talk Ask, Seek, Knock, Elder Russel M. Nelson said, "To access information from heaven, one must first have a firm faith and a deep desire. One needs to “ask with a sincere heart [and] real intent, having faith in Jesus Christ to follow the divine direction given.

The next requirement is to study the matter diligently. This concept was taught to leaders of this restored Church when they were first learning how to gain personal revelation. The Lord instructed them, “I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right."

For each of you to receive revelation unique to your own needs and responsibilities, certain guidelines prevail. The Lord asks you to develop “faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God.” Then with your firm “faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, [and] diligence,” you may ask, and you will receive; you may knock, and it will be opened unto you."

At the end of the day, I have to remember that God intends that I am happy - that if I do my best, and have an active faith  in Him, that things will work, and not necessarily in any way that I could have imagined.

Elder Scott continued, "Our Heavenly Father did not put us on earth to fail but to succeed gloriously. It may seem paradoxical, but that is why recognizing answers to prayer can sometimes be very difficult. Sometimes we unwisely try to face life by depending on our own experience and capacity. It is much wiser for us to seek through prayer and divine inspiration to know what to do. Our obedience assures that when required, we can qualify for divine power to accomplish an inspired objective."

Studying this topic has really helped me understand those things that typically give me anxiety, and as you may recall, anxiety does not go hand in hand with my happiness. I know that revelation is real, and that I can receive it when I do my part to receive it. Receiving revelation is active, and happens a lot more than I tend to think. I loved this youtube video* I received in my inbox. It is a good reminder that I am a recipient of revelation all the time, and sometimes forget what that looks like.


*This video is included for the sole purpose of inspiring others. I do not encourage forwarding emails to long lists of people unless it is a Christmas card, moving notifications, party invitations, or wedding/baby announcements. 

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