I’m not a big advocate of New Year’s resolutions. Setting long-term goals with indefinite endings once a year just doesn’t seem effective or attainable, as New Year’s resolutions themselves are evidence to. I am, however, a proponent of continual repentance and New Years presents a prime opportunity to review the changes implemented in the last year and evaluate what you’d like to work on in the months ahead.
I started taking stock this last week of where I feel I need to make improvements. One area specifically became clear to me on our drive back home from Colorado. Mickayeen and Emma were asleep and we were nearing the turning point that would take us northward. We were low on gas and I planned to stop at the junction to fill up.
Perhaps 20 minutes out, we passed a gas station on the side of the road and I had the thought to stop there to fill up. I pushed the thought aside, too focused on my own goal. Next came the whisper that if I didn’t stop we would run out. Again, I tucked the voice away.
Well, the junction had no gas stations. So I turned and continued northward. Twenty miles, no gas stations. Forty. Fifty. All the while, the gas gauge fell steadily. Once Mickayeen woke up I had him google how far out from a station we were. It said forty miles. The gas gauge said it would last 35.
We set the car on cruise, turned off the heat and music, and prayed. Soon the gas gauge read completely empty, with the station still ten hilly miles away.
I was anxious. I hated the thought of running out, of Mickayeen having to walk several miles for gas, of potentially relying on strangers. But my husband quieted my fears, reminding me that the Lord would provide as much as He could, despite my boneheaded, stubborn ignorance. And He did. We ended up running a solid seven miles on no gas but we made it to the gas station and filled up without further problems. It was a long story and a big headache that could have been avoided if I had been more prompt to respond to the instructions of the Holy Ghost.
While I feel like I often speak by the Spirit, I have fallen out of practice of doing what the Spirit tells me to do when it’s beyond words. I realized I have been missing opportunities to serve others and thrive personally by ignoring the actions that I am sometimes encouraged to take. Heavenly Father clearly illustrated to me that this is an area He would have me work on here at the turn of the year. And so I have set out to do so.
Last Tuesday, a thoughtful ward member posted a suggestion to check in with our assigned home/visiting teaching families since it had been -20 degrees for several days. I felt impressed to follow through with it and shot my girls and my companion a quick text. Honestly, I didn’t expect much to come from it but it was at the very least practice for following the Spirit.
A couple of days later, one of my girls called me and asked for a ride to work. Mickayeen had conveniently come home from school before his last class and it worked out that I could take her to work and drop him off in the same time frame. I was grateful that she felt comfortable calling me and relished the opportunity to serve, with the hunch that perhaps it would not have happened if I had ignored the initial prompting to text her earlier in the week.
My hunch was verified today during Sacrament meeting. I had invited my new friend to sit with us, which she did. Halfway through the meeting she stood up to bear her testimony. The cracks in the story were filled as she explained how her car’s gas cap was unique and had gotten stuck the night before she called me for a ride. She put off fighting with it, planning instead on getting gas in the morning. Unfortunately, the gas cap still wouldn’t budge the next morning and the car couldn’t run on what little gas remained. She explained how she felt frantic and flustered, texting her husband that she would probably not make it to work, despite feeling strongly that she needed to somehow get there. As she pondered and internally prayed for an answer, she recalled the week’s earlier text and my offer to help her if ever she had a need. Timing was perfect and her needs were able to be met through an answer to a prayer and a response to a prompting.
I am imperfect in my callings and in my practice of never postponing a prompting. But I find in this blatant evidence that God is aware of his children. He loves us and wants to answer our prayers. He does so through using His other children, the ones who seek His voice and respond to His calls to act. I have never felt more joy than in knowing that I have been the hands of God for another child of His.
I look forward to refining my ability to listen and respond to the Still Small Voice in this coming year. I know that as I do so my life will be blessed and I hopefully can bless others as well.