Have you ever wondered, “Is this inspiration, or just my own thoughts?” I have struggled with the uncertainty of discerning between mortal ideas and heavenly guidance for a long time. It was not until recently that I had an experience that changed my whole perspective. I was assigned to lead a small group of boys in planning a week long High Adventure trip for our scout troop. As part of the assignment I needed to create the spiritual theme and vision for the trip. I struggled to know exactly what God wanted our focus to be and what He wanted the boys to learn. I searched the scriptures, prayed, and pondered. Then at moments when I was thinking about it, my thoughts were led to new ideas. Slowly over a period of time I would have new thoughts until I had a whole picture of what our theme should be. But the strange thing was that the inspiration came to my mind in a very natural way.
The new ideas came in a logical train of thought. I began to realize that these inspirations were not coming in the way I expected. I thought they would come in stark “lightbulb” impressions. But I came to realize that God often utilizes the moments we are thinking to very naturally guide our thoughts into the ideas He wants us to have. It is so natural that it is sometimes not immediately apparent that we are receiving a revelation. Just as being led by a physical hand is so natural to our bodies, the touch of the Holy Spirit on our own spirits and thoughts feels so natural and familiar. Just because we do not have an amazing, life-changing, visionary experience every time we receive revelation, does not mean we are not receiving messages from God. It is usually a gradual, subtle experience. It has often been compared to a sunrise that comes up gradually, little by little, as it illuminates our view. This comparison is even more interesting as we remember that it is the earth that rotates and turns its face to the light. Similarly, God takes our thoughts and slowly “rotates” or guides them until they are illuminated with the light of His wisdom and we can see all clearly. If we are seeking, praying, studying, and listening for God’s guidance our thoughts will be in the right place and we will have God’s ideas of what to do. However, not every thought is a message from God. In these instances when we are uncertain of what choice to make and what God’s guidance is for us, we should to consider our options, decide on the best one, and then ask God if it is right. If we still seem to lack an answer, sometimes God is just giving us the opportunity to act for ourselves to see if our choice is right or wrong.
Often, if our choice is wrong, we will feel restless or negative about the course of action we are pursuing, and that is a sign that we need to do something different. If we are doing what is right, God will give us a peace and a calm that we are on the correct path. If we are doing all we can to follow God’s direction, God has promised to guide us. Remember, that God is on our side–He loves us, wants to speak to us, and desires the best for us. Think about your life. Strive to recognize the small impressions that God so often sends to our mind and heart. You’ll find the Lord is speaking to you a lot more than you thought!