Sunday, February 28, 2010

Moving... and Keeping the Faith

Monday we spent a dozen hours researching the house we wanted to buy – researching Provo land codes, talking with structural engineers, learning everything we could, and setting up quotes with foundation repair firms. We learned that we could hire a structural engineer to diagram the repair work, then get quotes from foundation repair companies. That would significantly decrease our cost, since, without instructions from a structural engineer, the foundation repair companies used an extreme model – essentially putting the entire house on struts. It costs a few hundred dollars, but it’s definitely worth it, as we save thousands. We scheduled the structural inspection for Tuesday. 

But then, suddenly, Tuesday morning I didn’t feel well. It was the I-feel-sick-because-the-Lord-is-telling-me-not-to-do-something kind of feeling, and I had it bad. I knew that He was talking about the house… but why? Within a few hours, it was all clear. Have you ever tried to build a pile of dirt or sand by simply pouring it onto one spot? It grows higher, then, as the pile gets higher, it becomes unstable and sloughs off to the side, slowly becoming larger in diameter. The same thing is constantly happening with mountains – the top layers of soil are sloughing off, leaving the rock behind (hence why the tops of mountains often are sheer rock faces). That’s the story of the house we wanted to buy. It has foundation problems because it is on a slow-moving landslide. It is literally moving every year – both laterally and vertically – and moves more in wet years, if a pipe breaks, or if you water your lawn. Reinforcing the foundation won’t do much in the long run, since the entire mountain is moving. The slide has been moving for years, but the city didn’t know about it when the buildings were built. Buying a house that is not covered under insurance and that could fall down or split during a particularly wet spring isn’t the best idea. So it’s off. And we’re back to square one. But it’s for the best – the Lord kept us from making a poor choice and I now know more about foundation work, Provo city codes, and local geology than I even want to think about.

We moved this week into an apartment in Orem. Our roommate is a nineteen-year-old preparing to serve a mission. Thankfully, he was interested in learning about essential oils and suggested that we diffuse them in the apartment (there’s a lingering smell that won’t go away). He was attending UVU, but is working right now, saving money for a mission. His plans are to sell pest control in the summer. I’m thinking of recruiting him to work for Nature’s Fusions; we’ll see what happens there. Overall, he seems to be a good guy.

In the midst of everything happening, I’ve been thinking about finding another job – probably in place of the one I have at the MTC. I’ve spent the last year in the Development department and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve worked with the coordinating councils of the Church, seen documents start, go through Correlation, and then make an impact, and implemented massive changes in the world of missionary work. But, while our work coordinates global differences in the lives of missionaries and people all over the world, I feel a longing to be at the front. I want to be actively influencing people for the better – bringing them to an understanding of gospel principles, helping them to come closer to Christ. And my capacity at the MTC, as a sole team member with no one to talk to, doesn’t fit that need. I can’t quit right now (I’m probably not needed, but it would make things much harder for my team if I quit; there used to be 4 people in the position where only I am now), but over the next few months I’ll be looking. The only problem is that I’m not sure of a job that would afford me the abilities I want – so I can’t ask for it. I’ve thought of going to school eventually to become a doctor or a counselor, but I don’t know what to do now to make a difference. So I’m looking.
On Wednesday I thought, “Maybe it doesn’t have to be work; maybe it can be volunteering.” So I started volunteering with a group that helps people who struggle with depression. I feel like I’m making a difference there – one person at a time. I’m thinking about volunteering at the temple. And who knows? Maybe I’ll find a job that fits my needs to help people on a daily basis. Maybe I won’t, and so I’ll have to make sure that I am actively volunteering. I guess that may be ok, too.

My biggest concern this week, though, isn’t finding long-term housing or even a job. It’s that I have no clue what tomorrow will bring. I’ve made a dozen clear-cut decisions as to my future, but every time the Lord has pushed me back (in no uncertain terms). I’ve thought about moving for a job – even so far as to filling out applications for jobs overseas – but that didn’t feel right. I’ve pondered accepting the spots that have been offered to me at some schools, but that didn’t feel like the right choice, either. I’ve thought about just doing the same things I’m doing now, and that doesn’t feel right, and I’ve thought about changing… but all I can really see are shadows in front of me. So when I went to the temple this week, I asked for help. I asked for direction. And I asked for peace. 

In true loving fashion, the Lord didn’t give me a revelation of what would happen over the next few years. He told me to wait, and He took the time to remind me of a lesson I learned a long time ago… something that brought me peace. And that is enough. While standing there in the Celestial Room, He reminded me that there are only two requisites for feeling spiritual peace for the future. First, I need to know that God loves me and is involved in my life. Then I need to know that I am doing what is right. And, if I know those two things, then nothing else matters. There in the temple, I felt His love and His support. I have no clue what is happening in my life, but I know that God loves me. And I know that I am doing what I should be, right now, today. And, even though it’s hard to be so completely blind, that is enough. The Lord has promised me that He will bless me and take care of me, and that’s all I could ever hope for.

I look back at my life – at the things that I’ve done – and I wonder. I’ve been prompted to write books, perform in professional theater and act in movies, teach, write curriculum and design video games, start a business; where could the Lord be leading me? I have no idea. But that’s ok, because the Lord is my shepherd, and He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Sometimes the Lord gives us clear directions in life. Sometimes He expects us to make our own decisions. And sometimes He wants us to turn to Him, have faith in Him, and learn to do His will. But, whatever His goals for us in the short term, we can have peace. My invitation to you this week is to do the same thing I did – ask the Lord for guidance and direction. Ask Him for confirmation that He loves you, and that you are doing what is right. If you’re not doing what is right, then repent. Have faith and keep moving forward. He will bless you. I know that God loves us and is involved in our lives. If we do what is right, then He will guide us on the best path towards happiness and eternal life. Go out and be missionaries!

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