The Effects of Following the Spirit… or Not

So today is going to be short, sweet, and to the point. I just wanted to share an experience I’ve had that has actually been a really good life lesson. It’s one I’m sure I’ll have to learn again one day, but I really hope not. Since July I’ve been doing really well with staying focused and getting into a schedule and getting things done. It feels so good to do what I know I need to be doing in order to be accomplished, productive and successful. These are the things Heavenly Father needs me to do in order to become more like Him.

In Doctrine and Covenants 88:124 it says: “Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.”

I may have written about this scripture a couple months ago, but I’ve learned a little bit more about why this particular verse is so important. I take these things that Heavenly Father is telling us to cease from doing or that we need to be doing as commandments. I’ve noticed that I’ve started to slip in my schedule and study habits and started being idle and just laying around…. “relaxing” is how I’ve justified it. “I deserve a break every once in a while, right?” RIGHT! But the way I’ve gone about taking my breaks is NOT the way I need to be taking breaks! I end up watching a movie or an episode of a TV show and then staying on the computer for a lot longer than I meant to (and even staying up later and having to sleep in later the next day because of it) especially when the episode ends in a cliff-hanger. But the worst part is that I consciously am choosing to stay on longer. I clearly have the thought “I need to stop now and do homework” but somehow I end up justifying it and don’t stop when I’m told.

I think that because I’ve been doing so well at not doing that for the past few months, the effects of not following the promptings of the Spirit are a lot stronger because I can more easily recognize when the promptings just stop because I just brush it away instead of embracing and listening to it. Let me tell you – when you don’t follow the Spirit, especially after having listened to it for a while, it wears down on you. For me, I can feel that I’m more grumpy, exhausted, annoyed at little things and selfish. I stop feeling happy and good. And I hate it! I know that I don’t like it and I want to change, but at the same time, I don’t. I just want to crawl into a hole and wait for it to change on its own. Changing your attitude can sometimes be the hardest thing to do, but I know what I need to do to keep it from happening again: LISTEN!

It takes discipline and the ability to recognize and listen to the promptings Heavenly Father is sending us because He knows what we need to be successful. It’s difficult and not always what we want to do, but I know that it’s completely worth it because my happiness, selflessness and fun levels go way up! So my goal this week is to always listen to the promptings, especially when I know I’m getting them. And when I want to take breaks, do something that will strengthen me instead of weaken me, like reading a good book or cooking instead of watching a movie. And if it’s something I need to do later, I want to also do better at writing them down and reviewing them later so that I will always be able to receive the knowledge and guidance I need to be better in my own life. I share this with you to keep myself accountable with something I really want to change in my life. And as much as I don’t enjoy learning lessons like this, boy am I so grateful for them because it teaches me time and time again what a loving Heavenly Father I have and the ability I have to change because of Him and my Savior.

I hope all of you will want to and choose to do the same because I know how it can change you and strengthen you and bring you closer to your Father in Heaven. I promise those things can happen if you’re simply just willing to listen to those things you can know and feel are right rather than those things that make you feel unhappy and groggy mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I promise your life will change for the better if you make a conscious effort to follow those promptings!

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