Feeling the spirit
I work in the Young Women organization, and the President does a really good job of signaling to the girls when she feels the Spirit and inviting them to share what they feel. I feel like this is a valuable insight to share, because so often we feel unsure of what the Spirit feels like or whether we receive personal revelation. Of course not everyone feels the spirit at the same time or for the same reason, but I think it is great that she encourages the girls to be mindful and to try to recognize the Holy Ghost when they feel it. I have noticed, however, that I often do not feel the spirit when she does and I have come to know her so well that I can tell by her body language even if she does not say anything what she is feeling.
At a stake in-service meeting this week I noticed my not-feeling-what-they’re-feeling particularly acutely. We watched a training film that not only was not touching to me, I found it downright irritating. I glanced over at my friend and saw tears in her eyes and the tell-tale goosebumps she often feels. Then I felt guilty for not being touched and being judgmental of the video. What is wrong with me, that everyone is in tears while I am barely able to avoid a snarky remark?
I have come to realize something about myself and how I experience the Holy Ghost. I think most people feel touched by the Spirit when they are humble and willing to be influenced spiritually, and I am most humbled by having to work on my dissertation. I feel relentlessly inadequate and desperate for help and answers. I see very clearly what I do not know, what I do not understand, and how weak I truly am when I sit down to write.
I pray very earnestly for help pretty much every day, and I feel strongly that anything that is good about what I have produced has come by inspiration after prayer. There are moments when words just come, or an idea presents itself that feels like it cannot have come out of my brain. To me, that is the Holy Ghost answering my prayers and touching me with inspiration.
That is not to say that my work is inspired in the sense that it is the word of God, or innately better than anyone else’s work. Rather, I feel that my own abilities have been magnified and purified by the Holy Ghost. My dissertation is better because of the help I get through prayer than it would otherwise have been. Working toward my PhD has brought me to a knowledge of my own nothingness before God (and my committee, another story entirely…) and taught me to recognize the Holy Ghost in my life. I also feel the absence of the Spirit very acutely in my bad writing days that are filled with frustration and stupor of thought.
Do you have unconventional experiences with the Holy Ghost? When do you feel the Spirit in your life most intensely?