When I have an important decision to make or just need some answers, I fast and pray and study my scriptures. When I receive what I feel is my answer, I do my best to act on it faithfully. But some of these important decisions have ended up with less than favorable outcomes, and I start to doubt my ability to receive personal revelation. So, how do I know if the ideas I receive come from Heavenly Father, or from random thoughts I would have had anyway? How do I know if I am really receiving personal revelation or not?
Years ago, I had an idea for a business I wanted to start. Like you, I prayed about it, studied it out legally, financially, etc. I received an answer that I thought was an approval, so I went ahead with it.
At first it was going well, but in time, it headed south and didn’t quite recover like I wanted it to. I examined the situation after I sold off the assets of the venture to find out what went wrong. I discovered that it could have been any number of things. The business could have just hit a hard financial market, my marketing and advertising could have been off the mark, I could have made basic errors throughout the process that crippled my chances of success….and on and on.
The fact is that the world is a complex place, and even when we’re doing the right thing, other influences can knock us off our feet. It’s important to remember that an answered prayer is no guarantee of success. For example, I could ask myself of my experience, did I prayerfully consider my decisions at all after I received my initial answer, or did I just shoot from the hip, so to speak? Was this business idea really supposed to be the career of my life?
Finally, I have found it true that we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. Thomas Edison said of his failures in making the incandescent light bulb that he didn’t see them as failures, but different ways he learned that the idea would not work.
As for receiving personal revelation, don’t give up hope, and don’t stop asking for answers. In all these struggles you’re having, try to see if there’s something else the Lord is trying to teach you. Sometimes it takes a while to see the lessons, so patience is key. Trials of faith are never easy, but the rewards for passing through them intact and full of faith are amazing.