Hearing His Voice by David P. Homer
As a former journalist, I’m used to consuming LOTS of media – news on the radio, podcasts, articles, blogs, social media… it can be hard for me to find time to be still because there seem to be so many fascinating and important things going on in the world! But if I’ve learned one thing about personal revelation, it’s that it percolates into our lives. It is a slow, cumulative, drip-drip-drip of information that God gives us in silent moments. And it’s very hard to hear His voice when our lives are filled with the voices of others.
As I read Elder David P. Homer’s talk, a question struck me: how much time am I spending with my own internal voice, compared with the time I spend listening to the voices of others?
Elder Homer quips that we sometimes “crowdsource guidance in our lives, thinking the majority will provide the best source of truth.” At first I giggled – I’m definitely guilty of asking for opinions on which couch to buy or which haircut to get via Instagram polls! – but here’s how I believe we do crowdsource the serious stuff in our lives: when we are spending more time immersed in feeds or articles full of other people’s opinions, experiences, values, and priorities, we subconsciously begin to internalize those as ours – or at least as ones we should aspire to.
We can consume wonderful media, and listen to people who uplift and inspire! But their specific revelation for their family and their values aren’t necessarily the ones best suited to our lives. In D&C 88:118, we’re taught to “seek ye out of the best books [I would add that “books” encompasses all sorts of media we consume in our digital age!] words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” Clearly, we’re not expected to come up with everything on our own out of thin air! But if I am spending more time with other people’s thoughts than my own, I’m ultimately abdicating my own values in favor of borrowing other people’s priorities. And that is the opposite of personal revelation.
I’ve come to learn that when I feel frazzled and out of balance in my life, it’s usually because I’m giving more time (and therefore weight) to the voices of others, and not spending at least as much time with my own thoughts and looking to the best source of information: God’s voice.
Elder Homer tells us, “learning the many ways He speaks to us is a lifelong quest.” At times, I’ve had to wait upon the Lord in discomfort for long stretches of time, but the time and effort it took to receive answers were precisely what made them such deep, sacred, perfectly personalized experiences. Heaven is cheering us on! The Savior’s hand is always outstretched, and I testify that if we will make the effort to create more space for Him, His voice will become an intimate, familiar presence in our lives.
Faith in Action
Set aside a block of time to work on understanding how the Lord speaks to YOU, personally. Elder Homer lists several ways the Spirit speaks to us; consider writing them out in bullet points and then going through the list and identifying the ones you’ve personally experienced in the past. You may start to recognize patterns.
For example: for me, free-form journaling has been hugely helpful in organizing my thoughts and defining my priorities, and I find myself turning more and more to my notebooks when my head is swirling. It’s one especially potent way I’ve learned to receive revelation and hear the Savior’s voice. (One thing that hinted to me this might be my “spiritual language”: I remembered that my grandmother was famous for her many notebooks and ink-stained bags, and my grandfather was also a prolific writer. There are valuable clues within your own family!) Spend some time tuning in to that voice and understanding what works best for you!