Asking Heavenly Father How He Feels About Us
By Lauren Madsen
It isn’t typical for me to remember specific social media posts, but I will always remember this one. It was one of those messages that left me with goosebumps. It was September 10, 2019 and I was so inspired by what President Nelson posted on Facebook that I took a screenshot and saved it to Pinterest: “Learn for yourselves who you really are. Ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, how He feels about you and your mission here on earth. If you ask with real intent, over time the Spirit will whisper the life-changing truth to you. Record those impressions and review them often, and follow through with exactness. I promise you that when you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same!”
Asking Heavenly Father how He felt about me was something I had never done before. I decided to start asking. Every morning in my prayers I asked and had a paper and pen ready so that I could write down thoughts as they came. Knowing President Nelson said it would take time, I patiently jotted things down here and there and also watched more closely for His hand in my life. I looked for the tender mercies in my days. I read my patriarchal blessing. I started to feel His love more fully as I took the time to notice sunrises and sunsets, the way He placed people in my path, and in the connections He helped me make in my gospel study.
Feeling Heavenly Father’s love and approval of me strengthens our relationship and increases my love for Him. It motivates me to be obedient. It pushes me to try to be more like Him. Elder Quentin L. Cook described this idea perfectly when he said, “Understanding how He feels about us gives us the power to love Him more purely and fully. Personally feeling the reality, love, and power of that relationship is the source of the deepest and sweetest emotions and desires that can come to a man or woman in mortality.”
One of the most significant things that has happened as I have asked to know how Heavenly Father feels about me is that I have been able to step back, look at the course of my life, and recognize the progress I have made. I remember one morning as I knelt down to pray I wrote this thought down in my journal: “Look how far you have to go” and then I crossed it out. The next phrase I wrote was, “Look how far you’ve come.” Does Heavenly Father desire for us to improve? Yes, of course. Does He want us to continually dwell on all of our imperfections? I don’t think so.
I have noticed in the funerals I have attended over the years that a person’s weaknesses and vices are generally not what people talk about as they honor their loved one. There seems to be something special about funerals as they help us focus on the best attributes of a person. It isn’t that the loved one lived perfectly or that they had no flaws. It is simply that when we love someone we choose to see their best, not their worst. I imagine it must be something like that with our Father in Heaven. He knows what we have to work on (and so do we), but He also sees our progress as well as our potential, and He wants us to see it too.
Richard G. Scott taught that “Our Heavenly Father did not put us on earth to fail but to succeed gloriously.” He sent me, and He sent you. He prepared you before you came, because He loves you. He provided a Savior, His perfect Son, because He loves you. If you haven’t felt that truth, pray to know. Pray to feel. Notice. Listen. He will answer, because like President Nelson said, once you know how Heavenly Father feels about you and your mission, your life will never be the same.