Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Promptings - October 11, 2009

Life is in flux again... but the Lord is with me; I know that He will help me through it all. Monday, while at work, I had a strong impression that I needed to volunteer to help the missionaries learning Italian. If there was ever a week when that was not a convenient prompting, this was it. I tried to reason with myself, explaining that I needed the extra hours to work on my Stanford application, but I knew that the prompting hadn't come from my mind, but from God... and that meant that reasoning with myself wasn't going to do much good. So I went. When I arrived, I learned that there were three times as many volunteers as they needed. My mind said, “Go home! They don't need you.” My heart: “You were prompted to be here. So you need to be here.” I stayed. Near the end of the second lesson, I wondered if the Lord would tell me why He had sent me there. Then a knock came at the door. I opened it to find the director of the Teaching Resource Center. He asked if he could speak to me, then invited me to volunteer for another half hour to help another set of missionaries who were preparing for a demonstration. I said yes, helped, and went home. As I left that day, the Lord revealed why He had sent me there and reminded me of other times when He had prompted me to do something – not because it was truly important, but because it was important to someone else, and He needed someone to answer their prayers. The director of the TRC had asked for help in finding volunteers who could help train the missionaries, and the Lord sent me there to answer his prayer. It was important to him, so it was important to God. And, for me, it means that the Lord is guiding me, and, more importantly, that I am listening.

The last few weeks I've been dedicating every spare moment to the completion of my application to the joint MBA/MA in Education at Stanford. While writing the essays, I've had amazing experiences. Each of the essays allowed me to reflect on my goals in life, the things that I've done, and the person I've become over the last 23 years. My answer to the first, “What matters most to you, and why?” has focused my view of the Plan of Salvation and missionary work more into something powerful – I realized that everyone is searching for happiness – not just some people in the world, but everyone. The realization came at the end of a long gospel discussion that I had with myself. Two more essays fell into place as soon as I took my dad's advice to talk about business-related topics, and the next essay, about career goals, flew by. But it felt like I was missing something. I didn't realize what it was until Tuesday night.

Tuesday night I needed to get the application done – it was due Wednesday. Tuesday was also my brother's birthday, which meant that every hour spent on essays was an hour missing his dinner and party. I finally decided that I had done enough to justify going mini-golfing with him and friends when I realized that I had written the statement of objectives essay (for the education aspect of the program) wrong. Instead of being 2-3 pages, single-spaced (as was indicated on the site), it needed to be 2 pages, double-spaced (as indicated in the application itself). It was six times too long. When I got home from mini-golfing, I spent the rest of the night writing and fixing essays. I finished at 4:30 in the morning.

But during the refining process somewhere between 9:00 and 4:30 the Lord helped me realize an incredible thing. I knew that I wanted to change the world of education. The essays required me to be specific, so in the first drafts I listed everything I wanted to see change in our educational system. After listing the changes, it was easy for me to identify which ones needed to be accomplished first, which were most important, and which were most defined. The only idea that fit all three criteria was focused on changing educational assessment methods, and so I detailed what I wanted to change. As I continued to explain the process I wanted to see instated, I realized why I needed a business degree to make it happen – why the Lord had inspired me to apply to business school when I practically promised myself I would never do so. My dream includes creating a global nonprofit organization dedicated to centralizing assessments – to pull formal education out of the classrooms and into the world. Creating and administering a global nonprofit will definitely require business expertise... and the Lord knew, even before I did, what I needed. I went back and rewrote my essays to ensure that the admissions committee would catch my vision, and then sent them off.

I'll know by December 13th... but before then there are alumni interviews. Hopefully I'll get an interview, and hopefully I'll be admitted. Asking for help has become a daily part of my personal prayers. A few people have told me that Stanford doesn't like BYU graduates – which could potentially make it even harder for me to get in. But I know that, no matter what happens, the Lord is at my side. I'll do everything I can and leave the rest to Him. Whatever happens will be for the best.

After my one-day respite on Thursday, Friday I had Savior of the World practice. I'm an apostle during part of the second act, and we practiced the Upper Room scene where Christ appears following His Resurrection. The feeling in the room was incredible. We are listening to Cleopas and Peter speak about the road to Emmaus and then He is there. Every time we practiced the scene, I felt like I was really there – in a small upper room in Jerusalem, surrounded by disciples and apostles, the risen Lord before us. My tears were real every time.

That night, as I drove home from Bountiful, I realized why God had asked me to try out for Savior of the World. It wasn't because the directors needed me – there are plenty of people who could have filled my spot – but because He wanted me to be there. He wanted me to experience it. Simply, He wanted to bless me. I think I cried more driving home than I did throughout the entire rehearsal as I reflected and realized how intricately involved the Lord has been in my life. In everything I do, He is there. I ask a question and He answers. And every single day He guides me to be happier myself and to help others to be happy.

Often in my life I am prompted to do something I might not normally do. Sometimes it's easy to see why the Lord would ask me to serve others. I can see a need and it makes sense immediately. Other times it takes a little while to understand the purpose of the prompting – to see how my actions have blessed the lives of others. And, sometimes, the Lord prompts me for my own sake – to build my own testimony and to bless me in my own life.

Each of us can be prompted in our daily lives to act in accordance with the will of God. Sometimes those promptings are for others – the inclination to help a neighbor or call a friend. Other times, they are for us – to help us gain essential knowledge in life or to better understand the will of the Lord and to see His hand in everything around us. No matter who we are or where we are in life, He is willing to speak to us. We only need to be willing to listen. I still have a long way to go before I live up to the blessings God has given me... but I'd like to invite you to make a commitment this next week. Each morning, ask the Lord to speak to you throughout the day. Then, as you go about your normal tasks, listen. When (not if, when) a prompting to do good comes, follow it. Whether He shows you how it blessed the life of someone else, you gain knowledge that changes your life, or you simply have the confidence that comes from following what you know to be right, following the promptings of the Spirit will always bless your life.

I know that the Lord is with us; He walks before us and prepares the way so that we can be happy and successful in life. As we follow His promptings, we will come to better know His voice – and He will guide us on paths higher than we ever thought possible. He loves you and wants you to be happy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Custom Search