Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Little Nudge

I had an experience in high school I will never forget. One I know I need to remember.

My junior year, I had made a friend. I don’t even remember her name, but I remember we hit it off. We shared a class, passed notes even did a couple things together. We were not super, super close, but we were friendly enough to swap phone numbers and share personal experiences with each other.

Then summer came. We didn’t have our class together anymore and our interactions became less and less frequent. Then after a few weeks into summer, I got a thought that I should call her. But, being busy with the ever so important social schedule of a 17 year old, I didn’t do it. The thought kept coming over and over. After a while, I started telling myself, “I have no reason to call her.” Or, “We have been out of touch for so long it would be dumb for me to call her now.” Even, “She won’t remember me.”

No matter how often I felt that feeling of “Call your friend,” I would look sideways and ignore the feeling.

By the time fall came around, I told myself I would find her and catch up… making up for lost time. But as I looked, I couldn’t find her. I asked around and finally one of my teachers told me the story. Thankfully, it wasn’t worse.

My 16 year old friend had conceived a child with a man 8 years her senior. They got married and moved away. I never made contact with her again.

Now, I knew my friend well enough to know this was NOT in her plans. I also knew her well enough about her family life to know she was trying to escape unfortunate circumstances. I knew the situation wasn’t good. Etc. Etc.

But even though I knew that, I didn’t seem to care enough. I don’t know that I would have been able stop certain events from happening, but I could have listened.

Now, I know it is pointless to rehash a situation. The “would-of-could-of-should-of’s” will drive a person insane. But this experience taught me an important lesson.

When the Spirit speaks, ACT!

My problem is, I have a hard time telling when the spirit is speaking to my heart of when it is just me. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t. But through the guidance of our church leaders, I have learned that if it is a GOOD thought, act on it. If it produces good results, follow through.

It is still a daily lesson for me.

Our stake president talked about this today. He spoke of the little “nudges” of the spirit. I like that explanation. The Spirit will “nudge” you to do something good.

Nudge is defined as “to push slightly or gently ... to get someone's attention, prod someone into action, etc”

Isn’t that a beautiful explanation; as applied to the Spirit?

I am going to try harder to notice those little nudges and use my lessons in the past to help me learn how to follow more fully today.

How do you notice spiritual nudges? When was a time you noticed a “nudge” from the spirit?
(image found here)


S'mee said...

When I taught 'cemetery' we did an experiment on this exact thing. Everyone had a small note pad. The idea being that ANY spontaneous thought, no matter how ridiculous, would be written down with the date and time for one week.

If you wanted to act on the thought "o.k." but also if you didn't.

Also part of the experiment was noting if and when any of those thoughts proved to be more than "just you".

Example: A thought to grab a box of mac n cheese while at the store, although I never make the stuff, and if i wanted, i had all i needed to make the real mccoy.

3 or 4 days later a sister called and asked if I could donate "anything, even a box of mac n cheese" for a particular need that arose in the ward. -boom, a Spirit filled message at the grocery store.
After a week it was amazing how many of those thoughts were really promptings.

Diane said...

Oh, if I could only call back all the times I felt that 'nudge' and didn't follow thru! I hope I have learned over the years to be more sensitive to the Spirit and His desires for my life.

For me, those nudges usually have to do with reaching out to someone who is hurting. I battled infertility for 10 years, having lost 3 children in miscarriage and never having been able to carry a baby to full term.

My husband was working with a lady who had been trying to conceive for a couple of years. She and her husband were finally able to conceive. The pregnancy was troubled from the start. At about the 13th week, she lost the baby.

Of course, both she and her husband were devastated. Even though Terry and I were well past our battles, I immediately was taken back to the anguish of losing my babies. I knew I had to visit this woman even thought I had never met her or talked to her.

I visited their home and was met at the door by her husband. I explained who I was and my circumstances and asked if he thought she was up to seeing me. He invited me in with tears in his eyes, saying he had been waiting on me.

I was astonished and he went on to explain that he had been praying that the Lord would send someone who could really feel her pain because he couldn't seem to reach her.

We visited for a while and I prayed with her. I left my phone number and asked her to call me when she needed me. We developed a friendship that lasted for many, many years and I was able to be there when she finally gave birth to a beautiful, perfect little baby girl 7 years later.

They now live in another state and we don't talk much anymore, but I know I was sent there that day by the Spirit. I served my purpose in that families' life and now we both have moved on and that's okay.

Knowing and doing the Lord's will has been the journey of my Christian life. Nothing has been more fulfilling than when I get it right and little has been more heart breaking than when I get it wrong.

Many hugs...........


Beth said...

Thank you Kathy for this post! Nudges... have been something I have been working on in the past year! The feeling and the need! I know I need to spend more time listening and acting on them. A couple weeks ago I got a nudge to sign up and go on the mission trip (see my blog) I didn't really want to... but I did go and it was good...lots of tiring work but it was good because of great need. Oh I love this post!

Jillene said...

What a great post!! Thanks for sharing!!

heather said...

Oh wow. Poor girl. AND that man should have just been charged for rape and sent to jail. urgh.

and yeah, I get these nudges too. When I act I'm always glad I did. For example one of those nudges led to Hubby. And I always regret it when I put it off for a lack of courage.

That Girl in Brazil said...

Ohhhhh, man. This one was for me. (Sorry, ladies. JUST for ME.)

I'm not very good at acting on 'nudges,' because at heart I'm just a great big coward.

But sometimes I do.

One was just recently - I was at the hair salon, getting my hair washed and thoroughly enjoying it. My hair-washer and I were having a hair-washer conversation - very low key, in other words. Just chit chat. She mentioned that she and her live-in boyfriend were thinking about getting married. (That's low key chit chat in Brazil ...)

Suddenly I felt SO STRONGLY that I should invite her to my (very LDS) Marriage Prep courses. At first I shoved it away HARD. I mean, I just barely met this girl - didn't even remember her name - and I'm inviting her to a very spiritual lesson with a big fat "thou shalt not have sex before marriage" across the title page.


But it came again, and strong. So I said a prayer, took a deep breath, and invited her to my class.

It wasn't quite the reaction I imagined - she totally scoffed the idea, and was probably rather offended.


Turns out that my hair-cutter was listening the whole time. Once I was in her seat, she started questioning me about my class and the church. We ended up talking for hours past closing time, and I gave her a pass-along card.

So. Follow nudges. It ALWAYS turns out awesome.

Anonymous said...

I loved thsi post... it has only been recently that I am feeling that I understand how the spirit speaks... as I was reading the BOM this week and hit Moroni 7, I have learned to ask myself " is this thought Christ centered?" b/c nothing that is from God will be bad... or something like that :)

Debi (Dubs2007) said...

What would prevent you from acting on all thoughts - even if you think they are your own??

For me it is a fear of embarrasment. What will they think of me, I will look silly, it is a waste of time.

So to me I am trying to care less about the way I appear and more about following the "simple instructions" whether from me, or God. the worst that could happen is I never miss another nudge. and possibly laugh with a friend when it is "embarrasing".

SO said...

Lately I don't even think I would know a nudge if it was a smack upside the head. I need to get closer to the spirit.