When I first joined the church, everything in my life changed. Whether it was because of bad habits I had and bad decisions I had before made, or because my surroundings did not compliment my new way of living. It was weird more than hard to try and change because it was what I was used to-it was just how I was. It actually surprised me that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I think its because this time I was getting something in return. I had a goal to work towards and a constant reminder of it and how bad I wanted it-which for me was the missionaries, I wanted to have what they had and every time I saw them the desire grew bigger, and the change or sacrifice meant that I would have that happiness and the blessings and the direction.
Before I knew I wanted to change I was just seeing the missionaries because they made me feel good to be around them. All I did was pray, about nothing it seems, because they told me to, and I was changing little things unconsciously because of it. Just praying builds up that relationship with Heavenly Father, one which I have never had before. Going to him even if it’s not about anything specific shows that you trust Him enough to where you would take that minute or so to pray in the first place. Your desires, whether you say them aloud to him or not, in the beginning at least, he will be aware of and will help you and he will bless you.
For me, having those little blessings come to me made me consciously make the bigger more significant changes-for selfish reasons I think, because I wanted more blessings haha. The change is the easy part when you are praying daily and when you’re consistently thinking of how great the things in the future are going to be-it’s the sacrifices that are attached to them that might be the tricky part. It was fine that I didn’t drink or smoke anymore, but I lost my dad over it because that’s how he thought we bonded…same with all of my friends.
In the beginning I didn’t want the church to be true, because if it was that would mean I would have to change so much in my life-if I changed, I was afraid I wouldn’t be me anymore…I liked me. But as I was selfishly going after that happiness and those blessings I changed into someone so much better; I turned into who I was meant to be all along, who Heavenly Father always wanted me to be, and what a satisfying feeling that is! A feeling that is so powerful and strong, to where you can physically feel it, to where it will be motivation to never turn back. Think of running up an escalator going down-what happens when you stop running up and stand idle? You start moving backwards and you end up at the bottom. To progress, and to even stay where you are, you have to continue to work at it.
But that’s what faith is. Faith is not something you have; faith is something you constantly have to work towards. Faith is not a feeling, it is a decision, and it’s a decision you have to make everyday-several times a day in each situation. Being new to all of this at first, that meant a lot of experimenting on my part. I didn’t have friends or my families support, and I didn’t any know members of the church yet. It was up to me and all I had was a promise from my missionaries, and church pamphlets. My only options that I knew of to continue to build up that happiness were in church pamphlets and the Book of Mormon, but how great that was to have it just be between me and the Lord, and this way I was able to leave the worldly things out of it.
But whether you have to change your whole life around, or just a few small things-whether you have to lose friends and do it on your own, or to take advantage of those around you-whether you have to experiment, or to just finally follow through with the things you know that work-whether it is easy, or hard-you will be happy and it will be great. It will be the greatest thing that you do and it will be the happiest that you have ever been. No matter how far away you are from being where you should be, those steps you take closer to that point will be the most important and the most rewarding. That no sacrifice isn’t worth the blessing we will be getting in return-that we can do it and our Lord will not let us do it on our own. Perhaps if we know we need to change, but don’t know anything else other than that-to know that we can ask Him. Ask Him who he wants you to be, ask Him to show you what to do next. To know that no good thing will be denied us as long as we ask, and we ask in spirit-when we pray, to know we can ask Him to help us with our prayer so that what we ask will be for sure in spirit and in accordance to His will for us individually.
I was thinking for several weeks on the question “What makes people want to change?” I asked many people and they all told me amazing stories of themselves on how they came to realize they needed to be doing something different. They all gave me different responses to that question. After praying about this question many times I realize that with all the different ways to respond, there is only one answer: That the church is true. That this is all real. That Heavenly Father loves us and misses us when we are not there. It is the spirit that makes us want to change and it is the Savior that makes it possible for us to change.
This is His work. This is His glory. He works hard to help us, and he loves it. He wants us back, and there is no way that he is going to prevent that from happening.
In His strength I can do all things __Alma 26:12
And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me__John 16:32
I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it__Rev. 3:8
Let not your minds turn back__D&C 7:14
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord__Romans 8:37-39