The Spirit is often described in testimonies or experiences as being a “still small voice”. In thinking about how the Spirit works I can’t help but compare it to my Grandma Alexander. That amazing woman bless her soul, was about deaf as a board. Communicating effectively and trying to converse with her in her later years was no easy task! Speaking to her using a “still small voice” would have been utterly and totally useless. The method I found most effective way was to pretty much yell loudly and slowly in her face hoping that she would also somehow also read my lips. Even with my signature communication method being used, like clockwork and without fail, my Grandma would stick both her pinkies in both her ears simultaneously, turning her hearing aids all the way up and sweetly ask “What did you say dear”?

In contrasting that to our own lives, it makes me think “are we like that towards the spirit”? The Spirit is less like me yelling at my Grandma, and more like a librarian who almost 100% of the time chooses to speak only in a quiet and gentle voice. What if the spirit prefers to use the voice you use when talking to someone in a movie theatre when you know you shouldn’t be talking as opposed to the voice used when you’re yelling to your neighbor across the yard? I realize those probably aren’t the best examples, but truth be told, the Spirit does seem to have a preference, and that preference is a “still small voice”.

So, how do we more easily hear that still small voice?” You guess it… Spiritual Hearing Aids! Stick those things in our ears, and when we think we hear something, simply stick both our pinkies in our ears simultaneously, turn them all the way up and sweetly ask “What did you say dear?”

The truth is, not even Rite-Aid carries these specific hearing aids (last time I checked anyways) and it doesn’t really work like that. The fact is, whether we know it or not we are born with these spiritual hearing aids. Better yet, we CAN turn them up, and best of all we don’t even have to risk poking our eardrums or brain to do it! However, turning them up often requires us to turn our surroundings down. The Spirit rarely, if ever, complies with our surroundings but rather makes us comply to his. “Turning down our surroundings” could mean turning down or abandoning the distractions, loud music, the crude language, movies or TV shows. It could mean changing the way we think, speak, talk act or react to others. It could simply mean changing ourselves and our surrounding to someone and somewhere that Christ could and would be comfortable in.

Take a look at where you are right now. Yes, right this second. Are you covered in Cheeto and Dorito crumbs? Are you surrounded by empty pizza boxes? Are you in a place that the Lord would feel comfortable in? Would you feel comfortable with the Savior there? If not, what would you change? How would you change it? What should it be? I don’t know all the answers but in my experience changing myself and my surroundings has been the most effective method in being able to feel and hear the spirit more easily. The harder I’ve worked, the more dedication I’ve shown to be more like the Savior, the easier it’s been to not only eliminate the things that don’t matter but also to break bad habits and replace them with good habits. Furthermore, it’s made it easier and more exiting to read the scriptures, to pray, to have patience, to go to the Temple, and yes, to be more receptive to the Spirit. The truth is the Spirit is always speaking to us, always! It’s whether or not we allow ourselves to hear, and be spoken to. It’s whether or not we choose to turn up our “spiritual hearing aids”.

I don’t mean to sound like this is easy because it likely will not be. Changing lifestyles and breaking habits can be very hard. Often times this means giving up, or changing hobbies, mindsets, habits, ideas, ideals, standards, and maybe even friends! It can be incredibly difficult. There are millions of people battling substance or alcohol abuse, pornography, various types of addictions, gambling, lying, backbiting, negativity and countless other tools the adversary uses to entrap us that would attest to how hard lifestyle changes are to make. HOWEVER, the bottom line is YOU CAN DO IT. You, yes you, really can do this.

You may want help and in fact often times you will NEED help. The Lord often uses experiences like these to build our faith, reliance and relationship with him. I can tell you however, that the Lord is always more than willing to step in, and offer you aid. It may be in the form of friends, co-workers, church members, family members or various support groups. Yes, that does mean that figuratively speaking there will likely be plenty of people willing to help you stick your pinkies in your ears… come to think of it there will probably even be those who are willing to go the extra mile and willing to stick their own fingers in your ears to help turn those spiritual hearing aids up! My point is, gather strength from wherever you find it. Whether it’s the Scriptures, prayer, fasting or from the testimonies or experiences of others. It may be from the words of the Prophet or Apostles. Know that our Father in Heaven loves you and is here to help you! Pray for help. Pray for strength. I can tell you, as you begin to make these changes and turn up your “spiritual hearing aids” you WILL become more receptive. It will become easier to make even more changes, or to keep up with the changes you’ve already made. It’s common for people may be scared of change, or fear what the changes will bring. They worry about what others will think and say. Know this; there is NOTHING of eternal worth that you will lose by becoming more like Christ and endless possibility to gain! Start slowly, even if it’s with a single trait or one small step at first. Even if you’re moving slowly forward at first just make sure you’re moving, it’s the fact you’re moving and changing that matters.