I’m a girl who loves having answers.
When I was younger, I had many questions. I wanted to know why the sky was blue and where my lost lunchbox was. When I was in high school, my questions became more complicated. What is the square root of 347? What happens when we dream?
Through experience, I discovered that when I had a question, I could find the answer through a formula: a math formula, a scientific formula. I made sense of the world through these formulas.
When my questions expanded beyond the temporal and into the spiritual, I had more questions: Is the Book of Mormon true? Am I really a daughter of God? Should I serve a mission?
To my delight, I learned that I could find answers to spiritual questions through another formula! The formula for me went like this: praying plus studying the scriptures plus going to church plus listening to the prophets equals answers.
I loved this formula! It was easy to follow and—more importantly—it worked. This formula helped me know that God loved me and that the gospel was true, and I was certain I could use it to receive answers. So when President Russell M. Nelson invited us to “increase and improve [our] ability to hear Him,”1 I thought I was ahead of the game.
But at a vital point in my life, my formula seemed to stop working.
Weeks before my mission began, COVID-19 forced me into reassignment, and I wanted to know if serving was still what God would have me do. I prayed, read my scriptures, went to church, searched conference talks, and … nothing. I was about to make a life-changing decision, and time was running out!
Although I still didn’t have my answer, I took a leap of faith and started my online MTC training. I eventually went out into the field but soon returned home due to some unique personal circumstances and with even more questions. I tried my formula once more, desperate for an explanation, but again—nothing. I brought my questions to general conference. I took them to the temple when it reopened. I read Liahona articles. I tried everything I’d heard others do to find answers. But it seemed as though the heavens were closed.
Of course, my efforts were never pointless. I was able to draw nearer to God and feel the Spirit more in my life, but I wasn’t getting the result I yearned for. I wondered whether I really did know how to hear Him.
Then, one day, I got an answer. It didn’t happen while I was praying, reading the scriptures, or attending church, but I believe I received this answer because I had been seeking Him in these ways. The answer didn’t satisfy my question completely, but I realized that if I had faith, God would feed me “line upon line, precept upon precept” (2 Nephi 28:30), in His own time and way.
New, unpredictable connections to heaven began coming in ways I’d never experienced before. As the weeks passed, I tried to open my heart to accept communication from God in new ways. And that was the turning point. As I continued to seek Him through prayer and scripture study, I began to notice an outpouring of direction from God. My questions were finally being answered. It was a miracle!
I realized that because I was expecting to receive revelation in a specific way and time frame, I was missing instances where Heavenly Father was speaking to me. Revelation might not come in the same way every time. God speaks to us individually and in His ways.
President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, taught: “The way to receive revelation from God has not changed from the days of Adam and Eve. … It is always done by exercising faith.”2
Sometimes we may need to wait patiently upon the Lord for answers. But as we do so, we can continue to seek ways to bring the Spirit into our lives. Try praying at a different time. Search the scriptures like you never have before. Take a walk and ponder. Sing hymns. Attend the temple more often. Do family history work. Serve. Fast. Write down your thoughts after a prayer. Visit sacred places. Do faith-filled things that bring you closer to Him. There is no end to the ways that God can speak to you because there is no end to His power.
As we seek additional ways to invite revelation, we can continue to strengthen our relationship with Heavenly Father and our ability to hear Him. If you are seeking revelation, know that He is waiting to help you and will offer you answers in His own time and way. And if you look closely, you might see that He already has.