Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oh Yeah!

Dear Me,

Something about the time between Sunday and Monday left you feeling overwhelmed. Maybe it was tithing settlement and the Bishop's well-intended, but sometimes too direct approach with talking about dating and marriage. I know that you've been out on a few dates recently, and his pep-talk ended up making you feel like you need to decide now if you want to marry one of these girls or not, but that's not the case. You can get to know someone without having to decide within a few conversations whether you'll spend the rest of eternity with that person or not. There's nothing wrong with that. Or maybe it was the combination of conversations yesterday with another student in your cohort and then your committee chair that made you feel daunted by the task of your thesis. Or maybe it's just that you're feeling like you're in a spiritual lull lately and wondering why it feels like your reception for hearing the spirit is a little fuzzy. It's probably a mixture of all of those things.

Here's the thing you need to remember: you know how to get things done and you've done some really great things. Remember how you wanted to start regularly flossing and to stop biting your fingernails? Once you decided you wanted to do those things, then BOOM! Now your teeth are extra clean and your nails are trimmed and not scratchy. Remember how you wanted to start keeping detailed notes on all of your expenses and attempt to live within a prescribed budget? Well, okay, so you're not all the way there yet, but you're figuring that one out too. Those may seem like small things, but you've done bigger things too.

Remember when you joined the church and you were so worried about enduring to the end? I don't think you ever openly admitted that to anyone ever in your life, but that actually was the biggest concern that you had when you were baptized almost 12 years ago. It's kind of weird that as a 17 year old high school senior, that that was actually something that kept you up at night, but soon you figured out that you just had to take things one day at a time and not let the rest of your life overwhelm you before it had even happened.

Remember how worried you were about serving a mission and being able to stay focused and work hard for the entire two years and not just waste your time, or the Lord's time, for that matter? The length of time and amount of work didn't really hit you until you actually got into the country, but remember how daunting it seemed? Then you read that scripture in 3 Ne 13:34 - Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof - and that last phrase changed everything for you. You thought about it all morning while out proselyting, came back from lunch, went straight to your room and knelt down in prayer and just committed to just worry about today and let the Lord take care of the rest of your mission, and that's exactly what happened.

Remember how you came back home from your first year at BYU, and you had decided that you would go into psychology, so you talked to that professor at UCI about what it would take to get into the field, and instead of encouraging you, he actually tried to talk you out of pursuing graduate work? You thought, "to hell with that guy!" and then took everything everyone told you about what it would take to get into grad school to heart, laid out a careful plan for EVERYTHING grad school related, and then you got into 8 of the 9 schools you applied to, when statistics actually show that most people only get 1 or 2 offers out of 10.

Remember that Sunday when you decided that you were going to run a marathon? It was at a regional conference for church, and the thought had been floating around your mind for some time, but then some talk about Sabbath day observance mentioned the word marathon and you couldn't think about anything else after that. Then while still in the conference you texted three people who you thought might commit to running it with you, and they were all lukewarm, but you decided to commit anyway. You started reading about it, you bought your entry 7 months in advance, and even had a plan in place well ahead of the 18 week training program that you had outlined leading up to the day of the marathon. Then you had that first "long" run on the first Saturday of Week 1, and you realized that you had never run more than 6 miles at a time in your entire life, and then you couldn't get yourself out the door and moving for two whole hours because you felt so overwhelmed with getting to the point of being able to run a marathon. But then you just got out and moving and less than an hour later you were done. And 18 weeks later you finished the whole damn thing.

So listen...it's okay sometimes to feel a little overwhelmed by life. Everyone has their moments, and you know that you've had yours. The bad part isn't having those feelings of anxiety in the first place, it's letting them prevent you from accomplishing what great things you know you can do and that you know you're supposed to do. Remember, this is when you love Nephi's faith the most - his brothers were complaining and probably just really worried about where their journeys were taking them and leaving their whole lives behind, and Nephi chastises them saying:
Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten what great things the Lord hath done for us, in delivering us out of the hands of Laban, and also that we should obtain the record? Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him. And if it so be that we are faithful to him, we shall obtain the land of promise...
You have a couple of promised lands that you're looking for, so just do what you know you need to do - come up with a meticulous plan for accomplishing your goals like you always do and then just get to work. You know how to get things done, so stop stewing and get started. And don't forget this gem from Nephi when his brothers were mocking him for trying to build a ship when he had never even lived near the shore before:
And I said unto them: If God had commanded me to do all things I could do them. If he should command me that I should say unto this water, be thou earth, it should be earth; and if I should say it, it would be done. And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children of men, how is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?
The things that you want to do are righteous endeavors. You know that God is on your side, rooting for you every step of the way, and with him, nothing is impossible - not even a thesis, or dating and marriage, or regaining spiritual receptivity, or anything else you can come up with.

And remember Paul's counsel to the Romans:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose...What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
So get to work. You know what you need to do and what it takes. Go. Make it so that the laborer is worthy of his hire.


Salt H2O said...

Everyone knows that the vacation clause applies to running a marathon on Sundays as long as it's not in your hometown, you're single OR your kids aren't old enough to think it's ok to breakt the sabbbath for sporting events. When in reality we know that this isn't breaking the Sabath- it's a spirtual experience beyond that of a Sunday soccer match- but you can't explain that to a 5 year old.

Strangely- I'm dead serious.

Laura said...

truly great post. and i am not just commenting because we just talked about people not commenting. i like that we are at such different places in our lives, but we all have those same feelings about being so overwhelmed with life sometimes. good perspective.

Karen said...

Karen Callister likes this.

Silvs said...

Salt - I couldn't agree more. And I love the seemingly universal understanding in LDS culture about vacation rules.

Laura - thanks.

Karen - welcome back. The blog has missed you.