I have faced several situations in my life where I have prayed, asked, and sometimes just told Heavenly Father about a situation, and then gotten an answer that I didn’t expect, or like. This has tested my faith beyond measure. But I have learned so much in the process of not getting answer that I want. So here are the things that I do when I don’t get the answer that I want.
1. Spend a lot of time talking to Heavenly Father. And I don’t just mean morning and nightly prayers. I mean honest to goodness, all day communication. I pray on my knees, and then I pray in my heart while I drive to work, while I run to the store, during every minute. I ask for my heart to be open and for any little thing that can help me, to help me. I have been inspired and comforted while vacuuming, cooking dinner, and working out. It’s amazing the times that Heavenly Father can speak to us. I find it’s so important for me to make very specific, on my knee time, and also make ALL the time a time when I can be inspired.
2. Read, read, read. Flip open your scriptures anywhere. I made a goal to try and read a verse or two instead of checking out instagram when I ride in the elevator, or when I’m standing in line. Eating up the words of the Lord and his prophets have often been the way for me to find the comfort and reassurance that I need.
3. Look at what prophets have said. We once had a lesson in seminary about Hiram Page in the Doctrine and Covenants. It was the chapter where the Lord talks about the “seerstone”. Hiram Page thought he was getting revelations through this stone, and that he was being called to take the church in a different direction. In my lesson, we discussed how the Lord handled this situation. He specifically says that Hiram should not be chastised publicly. He is told that he was mislead by the Devil, and that he really thought he was doing the right thing. The Lord then speaks about Joseph Smith as the prophet, and mouth of the Lord. We then discussed how if you are getting revelation, answers, or insights that are different from what the Prophet is saying – you should reexamine. The Prophet will not be allowed to lead us astray. I have such a firm testimony of that. So when I am getting an answer that I don’t like or want, or even any answer for that matter, I compare it to what Prophet’s have to say.
4. Lose my pride. This is SO hard for me to do. I’m stubborn. I’m convinced I’m always right. I hate looking silly, backtracking, or apologizing. I have learned that if I’m going to do the things that Heavenly Father REALLY wants me to do, I have to lose that attitude. I have to check my pride at the door when I come down to kneel in prayer. If I have that pride with me, I won’t listen no matter what the answer is. I won’t care what the answer is. It is only the times when I have made a conscious effort to say “whatever it is that YOU want me to do, I’ll do it,” that I get comfort.
5. Determine to figure out why. When I realized that I wasn’t supposed to serve a mission, I was angry. It was when I decided to figure out why I was on the path that I was on, that I started seeing more clearly. If we have an attitude of trying to understand what the reason or purpose is, instead of being upset with that answer, we are able to see. I woke up each morning determined to find the reason behind my call not to serve. And I found them. I have such a clear understanding of the reasons and the plan that Heavenly Father made for me. It came from changing the whiny “why not??”, to a sincere desire to know why, and what I was to do instead.
Not getting the answer you’re looking for can be hard, hurtful, and confusing. But I know that when you combine your personal revelation with the word of the Lord, his mouthpiece, and His quiet words to you, you’ll understand and be able to accept. Even if you don’t get that full understanding, he’ll give you the capacity to accept and be patient. It’s truly amazing what He can do with our stubborn hearts and minds, if we just let him.