The summer heat waves have made us all more sympathetic when anyone has a power outage and can’t cool their home. It saps your strength and energy, you feel sticky all over, you can’t sleep, you worry your food is ruined.
But there’s another kind of power outage that’s even worse, one that spells disaster any time of year. It’s a Spiritual Power Outage.
Unlike a power outage that deprives you of light and refrigeration, this one deprives you of a feeling of closeness to your Heavenly Father. You feel cut off from His light, from inspiration, from promptings. It’s a loneliness that’s all-encompassing.
We’ve all felt fluctuations, those gleaming moments when we feel close to Him, and those dark moments when we don’t. So how can we “keep the lights on?”
Here are ten ways to increase spiritual power, and even build up reserves for difficult times:
- Realize that this is common and you’re not alone. Reach out to those you can trust and share your feelings with, someone who’ll help you navigate the storm. This is one of the purposes of gathering together each week, to strengthen one another. This is a time to take swift action. We need spiritual power from the Holy Ghost during these turbulent times, so don’t put off getting help.
- Examine your life. Is something amiss that needs your attention? Is there a sin you’ve been justifying (That one. The one that just popped into your head), or a step of repentance you’ve been ignoring? Often the Holy Ghost retreats from us when we stop trying to keep the commandments. He knows we can’t do it perfectly, but trying matters. Make sure you are not participating in anything that would drive the Holy Ghost’s presence from your life—this includes choices on electronic media, too.
Elder Carlos E. Asay described the amazing benefits of keeping close to this third member of the Godhead: “The Holy Ghost can bring you power to perform beyond your natural abilities. He can provide you with the help of unseen powers in all that you do – the power to speak with convincing authority, to receive promptings that enable you to say things you had not planned, and to receive impressions, which if heeded, bring blessings to you and others. Mortals may have great abilities and potential, but however great these mortal powers may be, they are only a shadow of the powers that can be claimed through a linkage with the Holy Spirit.”
- Adjust your priorities. Sometimes we fill our lives with things that are good, but they crowd out the better things of eternity. Have you taken on too much and it isn’t leaving time for the temple, for scripture study, for pondering and meditating? This isn’t to be taken lightly. As President Russell M. Nelson said, “When you reach up for the Lord’s power in your life with the same intensity that a drowning person has when grasping and gasping for air, power from Jesus Christ will be yours… When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have ever done before, then [the Holy Ghost’s] power will flow into you.”
- Immerse yourself in things that restore the Spirit to your soul. This could be inspiring music, recorded church talks, the Liahona, scriptures, and Family History. Cultivate friendships that lift you to a higher plane, that make you want to obey and become the best you can be.
- Serve. One of the best ways to drive away gloom and restore joy is to help others. Find a project and devote time to those in need. Justserve.org is a great resource. Contact the families you’re assigned to minister to. Ask neighbors how you can help. Your bishop and Relief Society President may also know of some ways you can serve. Sometimes it’s during these very (often inconvenient) moments of service that we get a sudden burst of revelation about a completely unrelated problem we’ve been struggling with.
- Forgive. Choose just one person you know you should forgive and pray for help to truly move on. Pray for them. Realize that “hurt people hurt people” and they are a product of their upbringing and experiences. See them the way God does, as a child He wants back.
- Get a Priesthood blessing. Sometimes the dark clouds gather so thickly that we can’t seem to drive them away on our own. Reach out to a Priesthood holder and drink deeply of God’s messages for you.
- Count your blessings. This sounds simplistic, but it actually works. Take an hour to simply review all that is good in your life, all the ways Heavenly Father has helped you. Spend some time in pure gratitude.
- Study Christ’s atonement. Really make it a matter of focus and consider all that He suffered, just from your own life. Contemplate His eternal promises and how much you mean to Him. See yourself in the glorious Plan of Exaltation, and picture yourself in the Celestial Kingdom someday. Yes, you.
- Pray differently. Lose the well-worn phrases and just talk to your Father. Pour your heart out, reach for understanding, seek to do His will. Pause to listen, to feel, to meditate. Talk to Him about what matters most. Strive to humbly accept correction, to truly mean it when you say, “Thy will be done.”
For years I’ve kept a quote by Parley P. Pratt in my scriptures. It’s about the Holy Ghost and the very power we’re talking about. Here’s what he said: “The gift of the Holy Ghost … quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections; and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.”
Wow. Wouldn’t we all love to keep that gift, that power, with us at all times? By implementing these ten suggestions, we can address the downswings in our spirituality, the “power outages” when we’re missing that amazing gift, and restore ourselves to fully bask in the power and light of God again.
Hilton is an award-winning playwright and the author of many best-selling Latter-day Saint books. Those, her humor blog, and YouTube Mom videos can be found on her website.