Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fear Not I am With Thee

Early on in the process of change I found that listening to General Conference on the way to work was a powerful way for me to feel the spirit. I downloaded the conferences on to my iPod and would occasionally listen as I drove and try to learn from the teachings.

This effort worked well, and while I may not have done it as much as I should have, it definitely had an influence in my life. I would generally skip over the prayers and songs to get to the "meat". One night as I was praying, asking Heavenly Father what he would have me do, I felt a strong impression that I should listen to all of these recorded conferences...Songs, prayers, sustainings, that little introduction they voice guy does at the beginning...the whole thing.

What an odd impression. I was expecting some great revelation, and what I got was "listen to the boring parts of conference". Or at least that is how I took it. I had committed to obey any prompting, so I figured I needed to obey this one.

It slowly became a habit. I didn't particularly find these sections useful, but it became natural to listen to the whole session straight through. One night I was driving home from work, after a really tough day. One the major triggers for my addiction is stress, and this night I was definitely feeling stressed. The temptation was strong. As I turned on the car I was at the end of a conference session, and the choir was singing "How Firm a Foundation". Listening to the third verse, I had one of the more spiritual experiences of my life. It was as if the spirit were imprinting the words in my heard.

Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.
That experience changed me. I was a different man after that night. I wish I could say I never faltered again, but I can say I have never lost hope in the ability of the Savior to change me. I walked away with faith that I could and would be changed, and that the Lord would "strengthen me, help me, and cause me to stand". My fear was gone.

I learned a few things there in my car that night. Among them the power of music to touch my soul. But perhaps most important, I learned that no matter how small the prompting seems, I am always blessed when I follow the Holy Ghost.

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