Before I knew about the church I thought I had a pretty good idea of the direction my life was going, and what I wanted to do with it. When I joined the church my life took a 180 degree shift and my priorities changed and the way I envisioned my future was completely different. There were more options now-better ones, and I had a different outlook on things and knowledge on the meaning eternity. The stronger and smarter I became in the church I figured the more I would be sure in what exactly I wanted to do.
About a year ago, back in New York, I found myself praying to Heavenly father about this exact thought-I figured things would be a lot easier to figure out with the help and direction of Him. But I received an answer I didn’t expect and did not want to follow through with.
Move to Utah?
Heavenly Father you have got to be kidding me.
I tried so hard to convince myself I heard wrong or maybe if I asked differently I would get a different answer, or perhaps even change His mind or make a deal with Him for something else. I couldn’t get around it. What it came down to was: follow the spirit, or not – follow the answer I had been diligently wanting, or not – trust in Heavenly Father, or not.
I realized something very important and very crucial that I am consciously aware of everyday: That it is not about picking what we want to do and just asking for Heavenly Fathers help with it, it is about doing what he asks of us and receiving those blessings and help and comfort to follow through. I figured it would be disrespectful to ask and ask for an answer and when finally getting one I disagree, or don’t do anything about it.
So, with a lot of work (understatement) and countless, HUGE setbacks and obstacles, I quit my full time job, got rid of my apartment, fit my life into an Allero Oldsmobile, said goodbye to my family and the only way of living that I knew of, and drove across the country- by myself- to a place I had never been before.
But it’s not up to me.
I never thought I could do something like that. Ever. But what a feeling it was to follow through with the spirit! To do something you never thought you could ever do and ending up in a place you never thought you would and to see the blessings and the hand of the Lord in every step of it! With the blessings and outcomes aside, the feeling of satisfaction and approval from our Father in Heaven would have made every sacrifice and the whole thing worth it. I felt unstoppable.
So here I am, in Utah, still not knowing exactly what to do-still following the spirit-and still feeling that amazing satisfaction and approval with amazing blessings. “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. Nevertheless I went forth” (1 Nephi 4:6-7).
I am reminded of 2 Nephi 12:20- “we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land.” I love this verse because in it is a promise. That sometimes we are asked to sacrifice a great amount and leave things we love, but if we do, things will always be better. That Heavenly Father will always make it all worth it.
Back in NY I was a booth attendant in a hospital parking garage. I would ask about 600 people a day if they were coming back to the hospital and if they needed a return pass. This one lady in particular made an impression on me that put things into perspective.
I asked, “Are you coming back?”
“Did you need a receipt?”
Then she looked up at me with tears down her face and slowly said, “I just want to go home.”
The look on her face was so worn out, and the way that she said it-her exhausted tone-just sat in me so heavily.
I saw so many people leaving the hospital every day, and so I saw a lot of different emotions and I think how hectic it is in there. How tiring and draining it is. How the thought of going home is the one thing that can help. Going home where you feel comfortable- the one place where we can finally rest, catch our breath and escape from our problems. Where we can feel so safe and secure. Where we can let go and unwind. Where we can regain and rebuild.
I thought much on her response and made a connection as I thought, “…me too.”
I was thinking in Relief Society last week when the teacher asked for a volunteer to go up to the front, and hardly anyone raised their hand. How often that has happened in school or work, etc.? You don’t raise your hand in fear of being asked to do something you don’t know how to do. But afterwards, you see that it wasn’t bad at all and you could have done that had you have known what it was beforehand. Or a test-after we take it we realize you could have done so much more to study, or we see our mistakes and think ‘How could I have missed that, I knew that!”
I realized that after this life how I would not want that to happen-to look back and think how you could have done so much more, or kick myself in the butt for screwing up things I knew – How I don’t want to sit back and afterwards, realize that I could have done that!
Yea…it takes work-it takes effort…courage, sacrifice, fear and faith even…
But this is it.
This is what we have.
This is what we were given.
And this is what we can do.
I have to.
We have to.
We have everything to lose if we don’t.
I may still be asking where I am going and what to do next, but one direction in my life that I am sure of is the most important one-returning to my Father in Heaven.
This is not our home. I need to return, I need to go back, and I may be tired when I do, maybe exhausted and out of breathe when I do, but there is no greater feeling of joy and happiness and rest than going back to Home Sweet Home.