Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Driving with the Holy Spirit

I've been going through the strangest life transition, and on Sunday I talked with the stake president about it after a stake meeting I attended. He said that the gift of the Holy Ghost is something God gives us, but we are in charge of unwrapping. He said it sounds like I'm just finally unwrapping my gift.

I have been pondering this all day. I believe it is true. Life without the gift of the Holy Ghost is hard. I say that not from experience but from observation. People who don't have the gift of the Holy Spirit to be with them all the time, or who don't live the covenants that make that blessing possible after baptism by authority, just have it harder, from what I've seen. I've lived most of my life worthy of the Holy Ghost's companionship, to varying degrees, but I only realized recently how much I was underutilizing this present from the most high God.

The image I saw in my head this morning was of myself in a car, in a red Ferrari (as a shout out to my friend Nathan). The gift of the Holy Spirit is like a car that God gives us when we are baptized and confirmed. When we are commanded to receive the Holy Ghost, it is like we open the car door and get in. 

Hopefully the first thing we do is buckle the seatbelt, so we're not tempted to leave again. 

But it is just so easy to sit back in that fancy car and think, ah. How comfortable. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter and having his companionship all the time is a comfortable feeling.

It's so easy to sit in that car and rejoice that you're sheltered and warm. You can watch from the driver's seat and stay dry while the rain pours outside; the "car" of the Holy Spirit is your protection.

Sometimes, I thought, I've even had the gumption to reach out and use the windshield wipers or even the daylight running lights on this figurative vehicle. The Holy Ghost can illuminate our lives and our decisions for us if we use it to. 

But I feel like I finally figured out how to start my car.

It came down to a commitment to follow any prompting I received, period, right when I got it. Starting just hours after that commitment, my life began to shift. It has been incredible, in the literal sense of the word--sometimes I can barely believe it, because it seems in-credible to me. 

And now I'm using this gift the way it was meant to be used the whole time. I may only be going 10 miles per hour, but that's a lot when you're used to mostly flipping on and off the windshield wipers and merely taking comfort in the luxurious seats and the shelter from the elements. 

The scriptures teach that the way to God is a strait and narrow path. The Holy Ghost is, I perceive, a vehicle to help us on our way on that path. Many talks compare the guidance of the Holy Spirit to a GPS, but I would go so far as to say that that's just one part of it. The GPS is built into the car, which is also our protection, our comfort, our illuminator of the way ahead, and the wiper wiping away the residue of external attacks on our faith. 

The constant companionship of the Holy Spirit is a gift, but it's up to us to unwrap it. Heavenly Father's present to us at baptism is a shiny, beautiful, structurally sound car that will get us where we need to go, but it's up to us to turn it on and drive.

The end.