“Why don’t I feel a burning in my bosom?” Almost every Latter-day Saint has asked this question when the Spirit seems to elude the deepest pleadings of the heart. Recognizing the Holy Ghost isn’t meant to be a piece of cake, but it doesn’t have to be a rarity either. In Elder Bednar’s metaphor about light he notes that revelation can come as quickly as flipping on a light switch in a dark room; however, most often revelation comes gradually, how the sun rises. And some days it’s foggy and you can barely see one step ahead. The good news is that Heavenly Father always answers our prayers. The tough news is that getting answers requires hard work and patience, but there are some things you can do to recognize and invite the Spirit into your life.
Seek the Holy Ghost in All Things
In the movie The Count of Monte Cristo, Mercedes points out to her true love, Edmond, that God has given them the chance to start again. Disgruntled because he felt God had dealt with him unjustly, Edmond asks, “Can I never escape Him [God]?” Mercedes responds, “No, He is in everything.”
If you look around, you’ll see the truth of her statement: when a kind word passes between two people, when the sun rises, when someone forgives another you can feel the Spirit—but you have to be looking for it. When we are busy and distracted from a long, hard day we can get caught up in the moment and forget to remember the Spirit; however, it is exactly in these moments that we need the Spirit most of all.
When you are busy and have a million things running through your mind, spare a moment to reflect on how God has blessed you. See His hand in your life in your safety getting to work, in the beauty of the mountains, in the small kindnesses another pays to you, and you will feel the Spirit.
Recognize The Holy Ghost’s Guiding Path
Sometimes a choice that initially felt right turns out to be wrong. Onetime I was applying for the job of a lifetime. I felt confident, having been led to it and inspired throughout the application process. When I didn’t make it past the first round, I wondered if the supposed “burning in my bosom” had been merely my own thoughts.
Dejected, I continued my search. After many more efforts I finally was accepted at another reputable institution. My “wrong choice” had indeed been inspired—helping prepare me and lead me to the right opportunity. Recognize the Holy Spirit’s influence even when it is difficult to detect.
As long as you stay true to the Gospel and do what is right, you will have access to the blessings of heaven. If you are living righteously, you will have the Spirit in your life, and He will inform your choices if you allow Him to. Keep your heart open to divine inspiration and have hope for the future, even when it seems like things might not be going your way.
Take Time to Listen for the Still Small Voice
A 20-30 minute shower with no music tuned in the background can be lonely, but sometimes you have to be alone for the still small voice to have time to talk to you. Better yet, fly solo without company or the radio on a road trip. A long car ride provides ample time for the Spirit to speak to you. Listening to music while also trying to listen to the Spirit doesn’t work, because both tasks require the use of the senses. Get comfortable with silence on occasion.
Direct Conversations to Spiritual Experiences
Better than the latest gossip, take occasion to ask people about a spiritual experience or to share their conversion story or to express how they have seen God’s influence in their lives lately. Though, like the ten virgins and their oil lamps, we can’t rely wholly on the testimonies of others to support our own faith, sharing our own testimonies increase our faith and others experiences can positively affect our faith if we build on them.
Forget Yourself and Serve Others
Elder Uchtdorf paints a compelling portrait of how service helps us recognize the Spirit’s promptings: “Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet serving the Lord and serving those around us. Selfless acts of service and consecration refine our spirits, remove the scales from our spiritual eyes, and open the windows of heaven. By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer and serving others, we often find the answer to our own.” So if you want to help yourself, help that old lady with her groceries, and tutor that kid in reading.
Feeling the Holy Ghost isn’t always easy, but if you look around and do some inviting, you’ll see His presence in places you have never thought of. If you’re still not feeling His presence, get involved in something that will help you recognize the unmistakable—yet sometimes elusive to us—whisperings of the Spirit.
- What are some unique places or times when you’ve felt the Holy Ghost?
- How do you keep the Holy Ghost from eluding you?
- Has a “wrong choice” ever led you to a correct choice?
Please comment below if you would like to share your thoughts.