Don’t leave your spiritual gifts as unopened packages on the front porch

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Remember as a kid when a commercial would come on TV advertising the coolest new toy? The flashy colors and happy kids on-screen were enough to convince anyone that this thing would make the best Christmas gift ever! But there was usually one line most of us seemed to ignore: “some assembly required.” In the October 2023 general conference, Elder Stevenson said, “Even gifts received and unwrapped are often accompanied by the dreaded language ‘some assembly required.’ Likewise, I have observed a learning curve associated with spiritual gifts. Exercising spiritual gifts requires spiritual exercise.”

We are promised spiritual gifts from God, but perhaps we often need an instruction manual on how to use them. Magnify contributor Maria Eckersley joined this week’s Magnify podcast episode to share three spiritual reminders about receiving promptings of the Spirit.

  1. We are a spiritually gifted people
    Maria shared a story from her son Jack’s childhood. After they first learned that he had autism as a four-year-old, she kept praying that she would be able to more clearly see and understand Jack. One day, she felt prompted to incorporate one of Jack’s favorite shows into their communication methods. In doing so, she put blue dog prints all over her house in the style of Blue’s Clues. It was a breakthrough moment for their family because Jack started using words and communicating in a way he never had previously. The trick was to recognize that the gift was there all along, but God wanted her to assemble it herself, rather than giving the blessing immediately. This spiritual reminder can draw us closer to God and help us understand that he doesn’t just want to send us blessings, but send us gifts that we can access and feel confident to know that they will last. Maria says, “Assume that those gifts are there. The Lord won’t be holding them back from you. They’re outside your front door, but you have to do the spiritual work.”
  2. The Spirit is something we invite, not command
    We’ve heard the metaphor that receiving promptings of the Spirit is like tuning in to the right radio station. For Maria, she hates this metaphor. It implies that she has to guess which channel to tune in to. Instead, she feels that living life worthy of the Spirit will allow the Spirit to cut through any static. Additionally, Maria believes that the Spirit manifests itself in many different forms, and because of this we can find ourselves asking, “How can I believe in the God of lost keys and also the God who is silent during a big spiritual wrestle?” She then goes on to share the story of her plea to heaven during her husband’s battle with cancer. Instead of receiving an answer to her specific prayer, she felt prompted to study the scriptures more often with her family. Although this heavenly approach frustrated her at first, she eventually was able to see it as a gift when an answer came later. As Maria explains it, “The Lord wanted to give me a gift, not just a blessing.”
  3. When in doubt, do good
    The Lord’s whole goal is for us to develop a relationship with Him, so sometimes prayers that seem to go unanswered can be opportunities for us to simply do good. We then are forced to trust ourselves and find confidence in our decision-making. Maria believes there isn’t a perfect path to accomplish this, but that God will go with us down whatever road we take. And if we take a different path than we originally planned, the Lord will still show us beautiful views along our journey. Like Maria shares, “We have to stop worrying so much when we don’t know the exact right thing. Just do good.”

Hear more of Maria’s story on the Magnify podcast!

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