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The roller coaster is a great metaphor for life, isn’t it? Sometimes we’re up, and sometimes we’re down. As the Ziggy cartoon quote goes, “Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue.”
And our spirituality is the same way. Some days we’re strong and faith-filled. We feel close to God, grateful for our blessings, and eager to serve. Then there are days that hammer us down, times when that buoyancy flags a bit—or a lot—and we feel lost on the landscape of life.
For some, this sinking feeling lasts a long time, as we succumb to Satan’s whisperings that we’re all alone, no one cares, we’re unworthy to pray, we’ll never be as good as so-and-so, our life is useless—the usual litany of self-pitying messages he is happy to serve up steaming hot.
Think of spiritual sickness as a strong poison, one that can grip you in a vise of pain. You want immediate help, right? There’s actually a truly outstanding cure that works quickly and with astonishing power. It is to bear one’s testimony. Bearing your testimony is a kind of EpiPen, if you will. Its effect is instant and strong, so much so that it will surprise you. Yes, scripture study, prayer, service, and attending church help as well. But bearing your testimony creates an immediate reaction.
We all know the boost we get from hearing others bear their testimonies. But something else happens when we bear our own. Something expands in our hearts. The Spirit witnesses to us that our own words are true. Bearing one’s testimony can actually lead to spiritual healing.
You do not even have to bear it to another person, though that’s a terrific missionary tool, a great example to your loved ones, and a good way to lift your ward members. Just look in the mirror, and tell yourself what you know is true. And watch what happens. You re-establish that link to God. You invite the Holy Ghost into your very being. You fill with light.
Look how many members can trace the beginnings of their testimony to a youth conference or camp where teens bore their testimonies. By verbalizing what they believed, it solidified their faith and launched them on a lifetime of devotion to gospel truths.
Even a wayward child, or a soul who has strayed, can bear their testimony of what they do know. It’s a start, a moment when the Holy Ghost can rush in and whisper, “Yes!” to them.
Testimonies borne to others also have the power to re-awaken their beliefs. When did you last bear your testimony to those you’re assigned to Home or Visit Teach? Along with a caring message, a testimony can bring the Spirit in a way nothing else can.
Several years ago we moved into a new ward, and were given a Home Teacher who was a fairly new convert. He called one evening to make an appointment to come and see us. And it was a remarkable conversation because he said, basically, “I want you to know that I have a strong testimony that God lives, his son Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, and that we can all return to live with them again if we will repent. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel in the latter days, the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that we are led by a living Prophet today.”
He could have talked about himself for half an hour and I wouldn’t have learned anything more important than I learned in that short, beautiful testimony. He told me all I needed to know about him, and I felt a close connection, as if I could trust him implicitly. I knew the price he had paid for that knowledge because I had paid the same price.
And I loved it that he was so new in the church, he didn’t actually know the usual way Home Teachers set up appointments. He must have thought he was supposed to bear his testimony during the phone call. So unorthodox, so refreshing, so pure. And so appreciated. It left me feeling safe. I knew we would love our new ward because people here believed what I believed.
When you look around your ward at people who apparently have it all together, don’t assume they are without moments of discouragement. When you sit down to Home or Visit Teach, don’t suppose your families have no spiritual needs simply because they’re active, or have callings. We all benefit from every second that we can feel the Holy Ghost. And by bearing your testimony, you give them that extra conviction they may be aching for at that moment.
Testimonies are too powerful, too wonderful, to reserve them only for Fast and Testimony meetings. They should be shared in day-to-day conversations, posted on social media, and shared in family scripture study. Who wouldn’t love to wrap up in that warm blanket of love?
Spiritual weakness and shrinking faith are maladies any one of us can experience, but we can fortify others and even strengthen ourselves. As James E. Faust said, “Spiritual healing…comes from bearing and hearing humble testimonies. A witness given in a spirit of contrition, thankfulness for divine providence, and submission to divine guidance is a powerful remedy to help relieve the anguish and concerns of our hearts.”
What a marvelous balm, what a stunning cure God has placed right at our fingertips, wherever we may go. When we meet those who are discouraged, or we feel ourselves lagging, we can employ a remedy that actually heals hearts, and replaces doubt with hope and reassurance.
Makes you want to share it with the world.
Watch the music video of Hilton’s song, What Makes a Woman, from her new musical, The Best Medicine (with music by Jerry Williams). Hilton’s new LDS novel, Golden, is available here. Her books and YouTubeMom videos can be found on herwebsite. She currently serves as a Relief Society President.