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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

So Much for 15 Minutes

I started studying something new this morning. I was really only going to spend 15 minutes on it, but the first question was this:

image: lds.org
"How did Joseph Smith’s reading and pondering of James 1:5 lead him to receive revelation?"

Well, I decided to write my answer down. As I did so, I decided that I want my children to know my feelings on this....

When we ponder, we open our minds further to additional information heaven has for us. When we hurry on, we lose the opportunities to learn more. 

image: Etsy.com
For me, there are tuggings that I feel. I can’t explain it, but there are times when I read or hear or see something and there is a brief moment of there-is-something-more-to-this-than-what-you’re-currently-seeing, and I know that I need to take a few moments to really think on it or study about it.

Once, a woman, who had just received and ignored a "tugging" experience and had some disastrous results, asked me if there were times when I ignored the Spirit’s promptings. I had to honestly answer, “Often.” She was surprised by this. 

image: arealchange.com
I realized that the Spirit whispers to me often, and there are many times when I don’t follow it. These times of tugging are some of those times. They come on often. They are invitations to slow down and become more aware--to receive answers, but I often find myself in too much of a hurry, and I think, "Oh, I'll do that later." Sadly, as you can guess, though, "later" never comes. I guess, in a way, I often allow myself, like a bull, to be pulled by the ring in my nose--no, don't worry, I don't really have one of those. The opportunities pass, and I have, yet again, missed out on what the Lord had to offer me. **sigh** Thankfully, though, there are many times when I do slow down and take the time to be taught from on high. Those are times I treasure. From those experiences, I have greater confidence that what I'm doing is the right thing for me or that what I'm learning is preparing me for the next step.

Right now, our family is working on reading the Book of Mormon completely before the end of the summer. To be honest, though a worthy goal for my kids, it’s making me crazy! 

One thing I love about the Book of Mormon is that I often feel tuggings as I read. Actually, now that I think about it, when I read it in the way that it was meant to be read—slowly, deliberately, and with a lot of thought in an attempt to understand how it applies to my life—I might even venture to say those tuggings are daily. It may even be that reading the Book of Mormon is what first made me understand that those tuggings exist.

image: dimensionsinfo.com
With this barreling through the Book of Mormon process that we have going on here right now, I feel like I’m missing so much. I feel like my eyes are skimming across the top of the Grand Canyon, and I’m missing what lies deeper. I’m missing the grandeur of this great book.

The promise at the beginning says, “A man [will] get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts.” Maybe this little exercise this summer is teaching me this by contrast. As I skim, I feel farther removed. I feel like I'm missing the whole point. I definitely miss my verse or two a day experiences. I miss those tuggings.

In that same introductory page, this promise is given:

And so I wonder, those who say we are brainwashed, could it just be that there is a power from heaven that the average John Doe on the street hasn't experienced, and therefore, doesn't understand? Could it be that those tuggings await us all? Could it be that all it takes to get them is an awareness that they exist and an attempt to receive them?

As I implied earlier, those tuggings aren't just reserved for when I read scripture. They come on often. I just believe that the exercise of reading has opened a whole new aspect of life--the ability to recognize tuggings.

image: musiccourtblog.com
I don't believe that heaven is that far away. I do believe that doors are open to us to get us back there and there are things here to help us have a successful life. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be LDS to read the Book of Mormon. It may lead you there eventually, but anyone can read it. I also need to assert that these same feelings can be found by reading any of God's words.

When I was a youth, my passion was for the Bible, particularly for the New Testament. I would stay up late at night reading and pondering. Nightly, my dad would knock on my bedroom door and tell me to "Go to sleep." It's not that I didn't feel those feelings back in those days; actually, maybe it's those very feelings that kept me reading each night. It's just that the feelings were stronger once I delved into the Book of Mormon.

image: mormon.org
I guess if I were searching for guidance, if I wanted to understand God and have His guidance in my life, the Book of Mormon's the first place I would look. Not necessarily because of the words it contains (although, those are important too), but because of the feelings I get when I study it. Joseph Smith received revelation because he took the time to ponder. I'm glad to know that I can too. It's just amazing to me that his ponderings and subsequent revelation have led to my ability to have the same.

1 comment:

Tonya said...

I learn so much from your example. I'm not one to feel those "tuggings" as I read. Maybe I need to slow down and take more time to ponder. Thanks for giving me something to think about:)

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