Hello, old friends, it’s been well over a year since I last wrote on this blog for personal reasons, and even longer still since the last time I wrote for it natively. I’ve been extraordinarily busy (more on that in a moment), but I also have to admit that I’ve been suffering from a severe bout of writer’s block. I don’t like that. I’ve been surrounding myself with inspiration, and I think I’ve finally found my voice again.
But, before I begin, I need to tell you a bit about what my life has looked like for the last year:
I’ve been working nonstop to complete my undergraduate degree and finally reached the finish line. I am a gushing alumnus of BYU-Idaho—seriously though, I love my school. I started working for a local nonprofit that serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and fell absolutely in love with my job. I started an organization called Closed to Close; we work to help people build bridges instead of walls. I decided that, in order to be a better advocate for the causes I’m passionate about (namely religious freedom), I should consider going to law school. I took the LSAT (ew.). I introduced myself to the completely foreign world of law school admissions and set my sights on DC and Provo (ew… kidding. Kind of). I got accepted to the two schools I was excited about. I agonized over my decision. I chose a school. I continue(d) to agonize over all the life-altering choices on my horizon. I wrote this paragraph, which is entirely too long, just to scratch the surface of the tangled web that is my life. All the while, trying to balance the responsibilities that come from being a daughter, a sister, a single person, a professional, and an active member of my church.
See, it turns out, trying to be a person of purpose and passion is absolutely exhausting. I fell in love with so many things that I completely drained my energy and here I sit, at the precipice of an undeniably defining moment in my life, feeling totally gassed. Depleted. Shattered. And honestly, a little bit paralyzed.
I hate that feeling. But it’s one that I know. I know fear. It stalks me.
It’s the guard dog in the yard of my scary neighbor, and it seems that every time I get a new dream, I fling that thing right over the fence.
It’s a mirage of thieves standing between me and a stream in the desert. It’s fake. But gosh, it feels real.
I wake up each day, and I do my best to defeat that old demon, and I’d like to think that most days I win. But when I’m tired it gets hard. And so I grasp to the knowledge that Satan has always plagued even the best of mankind with, “strong, preliminary, anticipatory opposition to many of the good things God has in store for us.”
But more than that, I grasp at the knowledge that I can’t resist that kind of opposition on my own, and thanks to a loving Savior, I don’t have to.
And while I could easily speak on the subject of fighting the good fight, and perhaps I will at some point, today I want to focus on the fact that sometimes we need to just let go—because, for me, that’s often the hardest battle to win.
I was searching the scriptures, trying desperately to find the kind of counsel that would allow me to move forward with certainty. Also known as control. My favorite frenemy. In the midst of this frenzied study, I read the Sermon on the Mount. I didn’t necessarily love what I saw, but I knew it wasn’t an accident that those words were the ones in front of me.
I’ve always said that if God will tell me His will for my life, then I’ll do it at whatever cost. But that’s always necessitated absolute clarity about what that was. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus smashed that need for that plush, idyllic illusion.
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
In other words, if God makes it so that a pigeon, the rat of bird species, is taken care of, what makes you think He’s not invested in your success? If flowers that are capable of no more than swaying in the breeze are made stunningly beautiful, what makes me think that He’s not perfectly aware of His daughter (or son)—the one He’s given the potential to become even as He is?
Inherent in His perfect plan is everything we need to succeed. He wants nothing less than that for us. Like the lilies of the field, if we stay grounded, He has provided every nutrient and necessity we need to allow our roots to grow deep.
It means that “when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down…”
I know that the choices I’m making constitute incredible blessings, but I also know that the charge to put our trust in our Savior is true in every situation, especially when we are in the throws of what can only be described as hell.
I’ve had the sacred privilege of watching some of God’s children walk through the darkest valleys and climb the most treacherous mountains life can form. Addiction. Sin. Sexual abuse. Sickness. Domestic violence. Death. Depression. Divorce. Each far beyond the limit of what a human being should be able to endure. And yet, I watch as those people in every situation survive in spectacular ways. Always drawing upon an unspeakable power that they didn’t know they had.
What they don’t always recognize is who they are and whose they are. If we perfectly understood that, we would never need to watch our backs for the fear that so easily overcomes us. It wouldn’t fix all of the problems in our lives, nor would it negate the very real need to reach out and get help, but it would help us realize the eternal perspective we need to endure in our hardest moments.
If we understood that we are literal sons and daughters of the Creator of the universe and that we have inherited those same attributes, would we feel paralyzed by the things that come our way?
As impossible as it may feel at times, I know from experience that when I let go and focus wholly on the relationship I have with my Savior, everything else falls into place. Without exception. Not always (not usually) in the way I anticipated. Not always (not usually) with the same time-frame I had in mind, but always better than I could’ve dreamed.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this:
I’m a bird. And sometimes I fly against the wind. And I exhaust myself in the pursuit of where I think I’m going. But the truth is, if I just let go, I’m always taken care of. Maybe one day I’ll reach the heights I’ve always dreamed of, but it’s not my job to force that into reality.
And as much as I aspire to be someone or something that changes the world, I’m also a lily. Because try as I might, most of the control I have is a perception. In actuality, I’m fed by the Son, and that is enough.
I don’t need any grand illusion of being anything else because if I’m a lily, you’re a lily. If you’re a bird, I’m a bird. We are what we need to be. Not because we’re perfect, but because He is. And that’s a beautiful thing.
So, look up. Let go. And know that everything will be okay.