Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Waiting - July 6, 2009

We had our massive every-three-year family reunion this past week. It was a great opportunity to talk with family members from around the world, develop better friendships, and catch up on what everyone has been doing for the last many years. The last reunion I attended was seven years ago, and I realized that attending a reunion as a 16-year-old and as a 23-year-old makes the reunion a very different place. Even though I’ve always fit in better with the older crowd (since I’m at the oldest end of the third generation and most of my second cousins are little), this year I actually felt like one of the adults. There’s still an age gap of 20 to 40 years, but I had a great time. We were up at a ski resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon and had great food, games, talk time, campfires, pool parties, mountain hikes, family slideshows, and a talent show. I was in charge of the talent show. We had a few people sign up, and I wondered if I’d be able to fill the time allotted, but in the end more acts appeared and everyone thought the show was great. Yes!

My family is in town, and most of this coming week will be spent with them (as long as I’m not at work or practice for Pirates of Penzance). It’s great to talk with each of them and learn about what has happened since I saw them last.

I had an interesting thought this week. I was sitting in church, and wondered if I should get up to share my thoughts and bear testimony. I realized that I had every reason in the world to stand, but I was waiting for the Lord to tell me, explicitly, what I needed to do. But why was I waiting? And why did the Lord need to tell me to do a good thing before I was willing to do it? As I thought about it, I realized how absurd my thought process really was.

In most of my life, I spend my time moving forward as fast as possible. I choose a direction in work, school, or other parts of life, pray for confirmation that it’s the right way to go, and then go for it. In every case where I act in faith, the Lord blesses me. Doors open and I feel that I am doing my part in building His kingdom. Eventually, (whether after an hour or a few years) He tells me when I need to change course. But, for some reason, looking at my life, there are things I am less apt to do without being directly instructed. Bearing testimony in Church is one – though I feel impressed to do it almost every month, I don’t do it until I feel impressed. Why? Sharing my thoughts and feelings about the Gospel with close friends is another – the teachings of the Church are such a huge part of my life… but yet I still wait until I am commanded to share them. Why? Going outside of myself and lifting others who I may not know – I can often see, from the beginning, the great potential of others around me, but I don’t try to help them realize it until I feel it’s the right time. I even have had trouble calling people on the phone when I know that it was my idea and not the Lord’s. Why?

Truthfully, I think the answer is that I must be afraid – afraid that I will fail and fall on my face when I act on my own thoughts and inclinations. I’m afraid that the Lord won’t approve of my actions for some reason and that He will let me fall. And, while I try to do as much as I can that is good in the moment, there are some things that often seem too delicate to leave to my own judgment. Relationships and people fall into those categories. My potential future relationship with others seems too important to be doing things that may or may not work.

I probably am guilty of simply not acting on my own in this respect. This may seem a bit odd, but when I first started dating, I usually prayed and asked who I should date, then chose someone, asked for confirmation, and then finally asked them out. And it worked – the Lord was willing to give me answers to my prayers – and just as willing to give me answers later when I asked if this was a girl I should think about marrying. The same thing happened when I wrote Sacrament meeting talks and sometimes when I write this letter – I ask for help, the Lord tells me what to write, and I write it. But sometimes He doesn’t tell me what to do… even when I know that it is incredibly important.

But that is how the Lord works. In the scriptures, it explains that faith normally precedes the miracle – not the other way around. I need to show my faith before He can pour out His Spirit and change and influence my life. Going back to my original running example, I need to be willing to choose my own direction in life, go running, and have the faith that the Lord will bless me – the same way that He has blessed me in every other aspect of my life.

Each of us has aspects of our lives that come more naturally than others. We may feel in our element while at work, with our families, or with friends... but, at the same time, each of us has places where we feel inadequate – where we are waiting for the Lord to direct us before we do what we know needs to be done. I have learned a powerful lesson in life – the Lord will always let His righteous children know before He lets them fall on their faces. If you ask for His guidance and help, do not receive a prompting as to what to do, and then act according to what you feel is right in your heart, the Lord is bound to honor your actions as if He had sent an angelic messenger and commanded you to accomplish them.

I know that God lives, and that He is actively involved in our lives. But He is also actively involved in our personal growth – teaching us and allowing us the opportunity to make decisions on our own in order to become more like Him. In some cases, He leads us by the hand, taking us through darkened corridors, leading us to greatness. And, in other cases, He asks us to walk with the hope and faith that He is still there beside us, turning on the lights as we go. May we each look around us and find things that we can do and do them – even if the Lord has never told us to – so that we can better see His hand in our lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Custom Search