Spiritual Instruction Resources

Never underestimate potential

Road  sign

Recently my younger brother (who I have nicknamed “the Car Guy” because he has a passion for vehicles) and his family got a new truck. They were so excited and I asked him what he thought of it. His response made me laugh, but was very truthful. He said, “It’s so fancy. I have no idea how to use it!” With a chuckle he said that he was almost afraid to drive it because it was overwhelming.

Red  truck

Being paralyzed with fear as we approach new experiences or tasks is a very real occurrence. While others may see our abilities and strengths, we are often quick to see our inabilities and weaknesses. Like that beautiful new truck our potential is there, but our understanding of it may be very remedial.

Being children of God, we have been blessed with a number of different sources to help us understand who we are and what we are capable of achieving. Like the manual for my brother’s truck or YouTube videos for instruction, we can easily access a wealth of information to help guide and direct us. It just takes a bit of effort.

President Nelson
President Russel M. Nelson

As reminded by President Russell M. Nelson, “The Lord loves effort” (Joy D. Jones, “An especially Noble Calling,” General Conference, April 2020). And, the Lord rewards even our meager efforts with compensatory blessings because He is a generous giver. Our opportunity is to learn to discover and implement the spiritual instruction manuals that are available to each of us.

Girl Praying

Prayer and personal revelation

Our best source is personal revelation. We are known and loved individually by our Heavenly Father. That concept is so hard for us to comprehend because of our earthly limitations. I’ve heard it said that His “fridge” is surely large enough for all of our pictures to be on it. He truly does know each of us personally. Through prayer we can turn to Him and ask for help in understanding who we are and where we fit into His plan.

“Think of what a glorious thing it is to reach beyond our earthly limitations, to have the eyes of our understanding opened and receive light and knowledge from celestial sources! It is our privilege and opportunity to seek personal revelation and to learn how to know the truth for ourselves through the sure witness of the Holy Spirit” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Your Potential, Your Privilege,” Ensign, May 2011). He knows the desires of our heart, the needs of our soul, and as we earnestly approach Him, He delights to bless us with knowledge and assurances.

woman studying scriptures


Another great resource is the scriptures. They are full of the adventurous accounts of people like you and like me who are in the middle of their own stories, with their own limitations and insecurities. The biggest difference between all of them and us is that we already know the end of their stories. For ourselves, we are in our middle chapters and the plot twists seem relentless and complex.

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi wrote, “I liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning” (1 Nephi 19:23). We likewise can do that as we read about scripture characters. Questions like: what did Esther think when she realized that her decision would affect so many people; or how did Mormon cope when he felt so alone; or how did Sariah face the task of packing up a whole house and family so quickly.

These questions lend perspective on our own situations and make them feel much more doable.

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

As President Uchtdorf reminded us in 2011, “As you read the scriptures and listen to the words of the prophets with all your heart and mind, the Lord will tell you how to live up to your privileges. Don’t let a day go by without doing something to act on the promptings of the Spirit” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Your Potential, Your Privilege,” Ensign, May 2011).

Mother and daughters

Additionally, we cannot underestimate the value of trusted family and friends as we discern our potential. This will look different for everyone, but close and connected relationships are such a blessing. They are worth the investment of time and energy. Through the reflection of these relationships we can see more clearly who we are and where our strengths lie.

Many years ago, I received the wise counsel to put together my own personal board of directors to help me as I made big life decisions. I was told to have it consist of four or five people who I knew had my best interests at heart and had nothing to lose or gain from being my confidante. This may be too formal of a method for some, but when you have trusted anchors who will speak to you with truth and concern, you are very fortunate. Take time to find and build strong, healthy relationships. As you strive to be that person for others, you will find them for yourself.

women in front of temple

Trust the Lord’s direction for you personally

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day on my own in a part of the world that was foreign to me. As a happy wanderer, I learned of a place with wonderful reviews and I decided to explore. Upon arrival I discovered that there was a restored car show going on that day in the small town. Like my brother, I too like cars, and so I wandered in and out between the vehicles looking at their features. Many of them had pictures of what the vehicle had looked like before being restored and I was shocked at the improvements. Some were unrecognizable from the “before” picture. One of the owners told me that his car was much better and more powerful now than it would have ever been at its peak before.

We likewise can come to know and understand that our potential far exceeds what can be viewed on the surface. Our Heavenly Father is a master in restoring and empowering. His whole focus is our immortality, our eternal life, and everything that happens in between (Moses 1:39). The tools and methods that He uses far surpass our understanding. With His divine help, the profound, personalized lessons found in our spiritual resources can maximize this “master class” opportunity we have here on earth (Russell M. Nelson, “Think Celestial!” Liahona, November 2023).