Hearing and Obeying

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(This is an excerpt from the chapter "Face the Son by Following Promptings" in the book Facing the Son.)

[H]earing and obeying the Spirit will help us overcome another light-blocker—loneliness.

As a new mother, I had many days when I just felt lonely. There I was, totally responsible for this brand-new baby, feeling overwhelmed and unsure, with no adult to talk with me for hours. To add to my situation, because of my limited vision, I could not drive and had no way of going anywhere on my own. I felt stuck.

As I prayed for help, I was prompted to take my baby and visit the woman next door in our apartment complex. Leora was an older widow who was very lonely, and soon we became good friends. She loved holding Christopher and having someone to talk to. So did I.

I spent a lot of time helping her around her apartment, doing things that were difficult for her to do. I cleaned and vacuumed and took out her trash. And she held Christopher, which gave me a much-needed break. My new friend frequently joined our family for family home evening, and she taught me so many things about enduring cheerfully.

I realized that as I focused on Leora’s needs, I wasn’t as lonely and didn’t feel so trapped. I started praying to know who else might be in need of a friend, and I was prompted to go to another apartment where two ladies in my ward lived. As baby Christopher and I visited this mother and daughter, I found two more friends who would help minimize the loneliness in my life.

Each day, I would ask Heavenly Father to lead me to those who might be in need of a friend. I tried to listen for the promptings of the Spirit and then to follow them. Looking back on those years, I have sweet and happy memories of time spent with my dear friends in that apartment complex—both young and old. I would not have such great memories and friends if Father hadn’t led me to them through the voice of the Holy Ghost.

I still try to pray for direction in how to help those around me. Sometimes I just have a thought to call a woman in my ward to say hello. Sure, at times I’ve wondered if it was really the Spirit or only my own idea, but I’ve learned to just follow the thought. Most of the time, when I’ve visited or called someone just because I was thinking of them, I could tell that they appreciated my efforts. It may be scary to think of going out of your comfort zone, but stepping out of your loneliness to follow spiritual communications is well worth the little bit of discomfort.

Loneliness can become a dangerous light-blocker because when we’re lonely we tend to look only to our own circumstances, and that can lead us to sadness, self-pity, discouragement, and so on. Loneliness, if we allow it, can start us on a spiral downward into darkness and away from the light. However, if we know how Heavenly Father speaks to us, and we ask for His promptings when we are lonely, we will not be left alone. Instead, we will find happiness outside ourselves, and that will help us move closer to the Son.

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