Gospel Barometers

[ 17 ] Comments

by Nick Galieti

A challenge that many face when navigating the paths of spiritual growth lies in finding an accurate barometer by which we can gauge the direction our spirituality is heading. From time to time I read certain scriptures that talk about righteousness, or the state of the wicked and ask myself if I share any of the conditions or characteristics described. Most of the time I seem to have a desire to convince myself that I fall short of being either righteous or wicked. I often feel like I should be floating somewhere in the middle, and yet there is something about being in this kind of lukewarm middle that seems incomplete.

One such barometer came to me in the form of a scripture, D&C 84:80.

And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.

I take a verse such as this and ask myself, “Am I weary in mind?” (What is weary in mind anyway?) “If so, does that come from something that I am not doing right spiritually? I could be less weary than I have been, perhaps that is an indicator that I am heading in the right direction.” From there I seek to appraise myself, my spirituality, and ask what I can do more fully, or start doing?”

What spiritual barometers do you use?

What scriptures help you assess where you are at in life as well as motivate you to do better?

17 Responses to Gospel Barometers

  1. Howard says:

    Well I see gospel and spiritual as very separate things with the gospel being a subset of or news about the spiritual. My spiritual barometer is how in tune I am with the Spirit.

    • Nick Galieti says:

      Let me rephrase the question for you then Howard. What scriptures or parts of the gospel help you appraise the direction of your spirituality? Is there a scripture that tends to do that more than others?

      • Howard says:

        I see what you’re getting at Nick and I’m sure it works that way for a lot of members but sorry, not for me. I walk in the spirit, scriptures, lessons and conference talks come and go and while I enjoy them it is my personal on-going relationship with the Spirit that marks my spiritual direction and progress to me the rest is a moralization of spirituality, just an approximation of where we actually need to be.

        • Nick Galieti says:

          Are you saying that the scriptures don’t offer you direction, or that general conferences talks don’t offer you counsel?

          • Howard says:

            I’m saying the Spirit trumps those things by offering real time personalized tutoring and guidance. Scriptures and conferences talks offer general advice some of which is quite dated.

  2. Bonnie says:

    I think this is the question to ask ourselves, and those who are complacent don’t ask it. It was what took Joseph many times over many years back to the Lord. It was what brought people to him seeking guidance – how were they doing, and what would the Lord have them do? It’s important that there not be a pat answer, like dotted lines drawn on our bodies to which our clothes should always reach. That’s too easy and far from enough to convert us. I think this life of reaching for that confidence that we are on the path is the answer to the question, just as many of our questions are answered with questions.

    Several years ago I read parts of the story of the woman who was badly burned in a plane crash – I think it was called The Burning Within – and was struck by an image of her walk to safety. Her husband was burned only on his hands and so he could not carry her. She had third degree burns across 70% of her body, but she could walk. They were 5 miles from a road, but she felt that he didn’t help her at all, walking far ahead. She confronted him about it later and he said that every time he commented on how rough things must be for her or offered sympathy, she sat stopped, and he knew that to save her life they had to keep moving. I think that’s human nature. We can’t be too comfortable with where we are because we will stop, and I think that’s why the Lord so seldom tells us that we’re fine. If we were motivated by something besides a fear that we aren’t doing enough, then he could speak to us frankly, giving us accurate barometric readings.

  3. Paul says:

    This is a timely question for me. I taught a workshop at our stake’s women’s conference Saturday, and then a lesson in our HP group yesterday, and both talked about taking personal inventories. Your question of barometers raises an element I had not completely considered before, namely the direction we’re moving. (My approach has typically been more of a static measurement: how am I doing against some standard?)

    The barometric view is important to me because there’s value for me in assessing how I’m trending. For me, one of my key barometers is how grumpy I am. That sounds odd, perhaps, but it’s true. When I am more in tune with the spirit, I’m also more charitable, more willing to hear other points of view, more willing to consider alternatives. When I am grumpy I’m less likely to do those things and instead take a “my way or the highway” stance. That latter stance is indicative of my trying to control everything around me, to play God instead of being submissive to Him.

    It takes some real effort for me to see my gumpiness as that barometer, though. Often I will wallow for some time before recognizing where I am and looking for ways out of the mire.

  4. For me, the Book of Mormon is full of spiritual barometers. Not only is it packed full of witnesses of Christ, but it is full of incredible social observations of how people act and feel when they are or are not keeping the commandments. All I have to do is read and ask myself, “Do I do that? Do I feel that?” and I can self-diagnose a myriad of spiritual problems and also find spiritual solutions. It is possible to mark one’s progress both downward and upward using the Book of Mormon.

  5. SilverRain says:

    To be honest, I’ve stopped using them as much as it’s in my nature to stop. It hurt too much. At this point, I’m just hoping God will find a way to tell me if I need to be told anything.

    • Paul says:

      SR, I hear you. Sometimes all we can do is figure out what the next step is.

    • Jendoop says:

      I’m there too, just trying to drink from the firehose without drowning. Although what Paul says happens sometimes, if I am grumpy or overly irritated it means something needs to change. That change doesn’t mean trying harder, but doing something differently, often utilizing mercy and grace to a greater degree.

    • Nick Galieti says:

      Your response makes it sound as if it is God’s responsibility to come unto you. Is that how you feel?

      • SilverRain says:

        Since every time I plead with Him, the answer is to be still, in a way yes.

        • templegoer says:

          Sounds like a tough place to be SR. I think it’s a valid position to wait it out though. Sometimes we learn that other’s barometers do not apply to our circumstances and the Lord looketh on the heart. It can be very lonely, but when I think about it, it seems rational that this would be a necessary part of our mortal experience. I hope this will be a short time for you, but there are any of us that have waited upon the Lord for many years. We are learning to let go of our need for the approbation of others and have confidence in our standing with God. I do not doubt that your honest searchings are acceptable and indeed pleasing to God. I wish you greater peace.

          • Howard says:

            Being still or being present in the present (meaning midway between two nanoseconds) necessary takes us away from regrets of the past and anxieties of the future. From this calm centered eternal place divine conversations begin and continue provided we listen intently for the signal. It is not a place of pleading it is a conversational place of receiving and sharing.

          • SilverRain says:

            Thank you. It has already been a few years, and I expect that it will be the rest of my life.

            If it is otherwise, it is in His hands.

          • Howard says:

            Best of luck then! You might try meditation, it works for many or go back to where/how you last had contact and begin again there.

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