We’re all unique enough that my list of needed changes will be different from yours, because my truth about why I’m single is probably different than yours. We both need to face our own truth, but the actual steps we take to apply that shared principle may be quite different.
I can provide tools and teach you how to use them, but I can’t use them for you. You must build your life. And building your best life won’t happen until you own your life and accept that the change you need to make is not just one thing.
Examine your assumptions
The memory of that phone conversation has stuck with me. Maybe it’s because the question asked is a common one. "OK, so what's the one thing I need to do in order to . . . . ?" It seems like an intelligent question to ask, but I've got a serious problem with it.
You see, it's really not that intelligent at all.
Run with me for a moment. The question assumes you need to change only one thing in order to transport your world into a new and higher dimension of existence. Seriously, what sense does that make? I know that’s what we all want, but it’s just not realistic.
Here’s real: I've got more imperfections than Swiss cheese has holes and certainly more than most people. And the vast majority of people aren’t that far behind me. We all have many ways in which we can improve.
Ask a better question
Here’s a better question: What is everything I need to do to improve myself? With that answer, you take a more holistic approach towards making needed changes in yourself.
Of course, the answer to that question will likely overwhelm; we’re all so imperfect that the list of needed changes is quite long. I recall the experience I had taking notes during General Conference. The resulting list of changes I obtained overwhelmed me to the point that I didn’t want to take any action. Making any progress seemed hopeless.
That’s why you should ask yourself this best question: What one thing can I do today to improve myself? The answer to that question won’t overwhelm because it’s just one thing. At the same time, this question doesn’t assume you need to do only one thing to improve. The approach is well balanced.
Get to work
Of course, simply knowing what you must do won’t bring the results you seek in life. Results come from one thing and one thing only, and that is action. You must do.
When you take action, you can begin to understand yourself better. You can make better sense of the terrain of LDS singles life. You open yourself to receiving the tools you need. And action leads to a sense of progress that is truly liberating. You may have a lot to do, but conquering the one thing you need to do today will give you confidence from knowing you’re on your way. And that knowledge makes the journey so much more joyful.
Don’t wait to feel free. Don’t wait to feel better about yourself and your life. No matter how much you need to improve, we all need to practice what President Oakes has described as “the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” We make the journey to eternal glory one step at a time.
Never assume your list of needed improvements has only one item. It’s not just one thing. But take that understanding with you as you tackle the one thing you need to do today. Doing so will help you walk by faith. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Halloween! That frightful time of year we embrace with a spirit of good fun means dressing up in costumes and of course eating lots of holiday-themed food. And let's not forget the trick-or-treating.
But while we all spend one day a year approaching fearful sights with a gleeful sort of playfulness, many spend the other 364 days of the year cowering to fear. Can we bring to every day of the year the same sort of playfulness that we bring to Halloween?
We all have our fears. One of the biggest fears many LDS singles have is the fear of never marrying. Whether that fear or another haunts you most, you’ll never conquer your fear by cowering to it. To conquer your fear, you must take and use the power you already have within yourself. You must face your fears.
Believe the Lord
To start, you have great reason for courage. You’re not on your journey alone. Your Heavenly Father has provided a Savior Who loves you so much that He never could abandon you, let alone would. And that Savior Who created the universe is a powerful ally.
If you truly trust in that all-powerful Creator, if you truly have faith in Him, if you truly believe Him, you’ll never feel fear. And that’s simply because you won't be able to. Faith and fear cannot exist in the same space at the same time.
So when the Lord promises He’ll bless you, you can rest assured He’ll fulfill His promises. And He won't just fulfill them in part; He'll fulfill them down to the dot of the last I and the cross of the last T. So great will be your blessing that, when that glorious day finally comes, you’ll wonder how it ever was that you doubted Him.
And many of those promises are not just for the next life but for this life. Yes, a few may have to wait for eternity, but I firmly believe that 99% of us can have their promised blessings here and now in mortality. You may doubt and even laugh as did Abraham's wife Sarah, but the Lord will fulfill every syllable of every word of every promise that He makes to you. Period.
Partner with the Lord
How do you believe that? How do you generate such faith in the Lord and in His promises that you continue to believe fervently even when everything around you seems to say the exact opposite?
First, approach the Lord as did the father with the mentally disturbed son who exclaimed, "Lord, . . . help thou mine unbelief" (Mark 9:24). You’re never alone in your journey, so don’t try to go it alone. Walk with Him who gave His all so you could succeed in your ultimate journey.
Second, take action. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that faith is a principle of action. That means you cannot have faith if you just wish and wait. To increase your faith, you must increase your action.
This is why you approach the Lord first. When you partner with Him, He’ll help you understand the next step you need to take in your journey. When you then act on that revelation and take that next step, you walk by faith toward a bright and glorious future, one with the blessings He wants to give you.
Walk with the Lord
Walking by faith doesn't mean never feeling fear, but it can bring courage. And courage means doing what you need to do even though you may feel afraid. When you walk by faith, you can face your fears with the confidence He will never abandon you.
If all of us were to step back and observe the situation, we’d see that all fear does is prevent us from taking the next step in our journey. But whatever your fears are, you still control what response you will provide. Will you allow your fear to control you and cower from your next step? Or will you control you and take that next step?
When you take that next step, your courage grows, your faith grows, and you can walk and take more next steps with more confidence. The more you act, the more your faith grows, the more your confidence grows, and the more you can live with the surety that the Lord will fulfill all of His promises to you. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Sometimes your dreams can seem so far away as to be unreachable. So much remains to be done, and so much of that lies outside your control, that you wonder how you’ll ever arrive. How could the blessings you desire ever be yours?
Very often there’s a real difference between how things feel and how things really are. Sure, nothing worth having comes easy. But sometimes the obstacles before you can seem bigger than they really are. Only by stepping out of your comfort zone and rising to your challenges do you see how big they really are.
And that's when you find what you thought was insurmountable really is doable. You just have to get started and take it one step at a time. By consistently doing the small things that move you further in your journey, you can conquer any challenge set before you. You can go the distance.
What drives those who achieve phenomenal results in life, those who make their dreams reality? It’s vision. Vision is different than sight. Sight depends on what you see with your physical eyes. But vision depends on what you see with your spiritual eyes — the eye of faith.
You begin by seeing yourself in a different way. As we’ve frequently discussed, that requires you to think in new and different ways. If you surround yourself with negativity, if your self talk is consistently negative, you'll find it hard to believe in possibility. You'll find it hard to believe that your life could be any different than how it has been. Only when your self talk is consistently positive and you surround yourself with positive energy will you be thinking in ways that allow you to see a brighter tomorrow for yourself.
But just seeing yourself differently isn’t enough. You must believe that vision can become reality and that it can be yours — because the truth is that can! Such belief comes from faith — faith that you’re a child of God and that he loves you, faith that He wants you to succeed, faith that He’ll help you realize your dream and become everything you’re capable of becoming.
When you have a vision of what you can become, that vision can drive you to do incredible things. But you must make the conscious choice to do what is necessary every day to move yourself closer to the realization of your vision. You must adopt a habit of consistently doing what is necessary.
The so-called little things in life are really the big things. It's the small actions performed every day that move us closer, inch by inch, to the reality our vision shows us. Observed in one moment of time, those little actions may seem insignificant. But collectively over time, those small actions done every day can comprise a considerable sum.
That's why you need the determination to do what’s necessary every day. Never surrender. Results come from action and nothing else. When you fail to act, you don’t make the small contribution that over time adds up to a considerable sum. Only by denying the natural man or woman who wants you to coast, to be satisfied with a life beneath the reality your vision shows you can you overcome mediocrity and achieve your fullest potential and the phenomenal life you dream of having. You must be determined never to surrender.
But that determination can turn to frustration unless you begin to see the opportunities amid your obstacles. Every obstacle comes with at least one opportunity. Most people, however, never see that opportunity because they're too prone to look only at the obstacle.
As I’ve said many times, your focus determines your reality. If all you see is the obstacle in front of you, then your reality will be one of obstruction. But when you focus on seeking out the opportunity that comes with every obstacle, your reality will be one of opportunity. And as the Savior once taught, “Seek, and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7).
Only by gaining the vision of what your life can be and then resolutely moving towards it, though you move only inches a day, will your dreams ever become reality. But that's what walking by faith is all about. It's not living life based on what you see with your physical eyes. It's living life based on what you see with your spiritual eyes.
When you walk by faith, taking each step with vision and determination to do what’s necessary and find the opportunity, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing your dreams will one day be your reality because you choose to go the distance. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Sooner or later, everyone encounters hard times. It’s called mortality, and it’s part of the reason why we’re here. Overcoming challenges allows us to learn in ways we could not otherwise learn and to become what we otherwise could not become.
If we focus too much on our challenges, however, we can easily succumb to feelings of overwhelm and discouragement, even despair. Some people escape their doldrums by remembering that there is always someone who is worse off than they are. For some LDS singles who have struggled for years without promised blessings, it may seem difficult to believe that anyone has had it worse than they do.
And yet there are those who have had it worse. The scriptures provide an excellent example in Abraham. When you come to realize how much worse he had it, you can find the courage and resiliency to keep walking by faith. After all, most of us can’t touch Abraham’s experience.
By the standards of any age in world history, Abraham had a challenging life. He was once placed on an altar to be sacrificed, only to have an angel save him. He was constantly on the move, and in one of those places to which he moved, his brother died. He had to deal with apostasy in his father, a problem since he longed to have what his father’s ancestors had — priesthood authority passed down from father to son. Having a father who continually returned to idol worship didn’t really help much in that respect.
And yet, like life for all of us, it wasn’t all bad. He obtained priesthood authority from someone more righteous and more advanced in years than his father. He grew to become a rather wealthy man, leading a house with many servants. And somewhere in that mix he married Sarah, a wife he dearly loved.
But try as they might, infertility entered and would not leave. Whatever hopes Abraham had for a son to inherit from him must have slowly faded as the years went by one after the other with no change anywhere in sight. It’s understandable why Abraham fathered a son through Hagar, one of Sarah’s handmaidens. It seemed to be the only way to produce an heir.
Then came the Lord’s promise. After so many years of wanting and not having, Abraham received a promise from the Lord that he would have a son through his wife Sarah. He was 62 years old.
His wife Sarah was ten years his junior, so it’s no surprise that she laughed at the thought of giving birth to a son. Abraham also had his doubts. Those doubts would continue as they each got older. It was during this time that Abraham had a son through Hagar. What seemed incredible when the promise was made seemed even more so with each year passing thereafter.
But the Lord reaffirmed His promise would be fulfilled. And we all know how the story ends. Sarah did give birth to Abraham’s son Isaac. Sarah was ninety years old. Abraham had lived a full century.
I’m not suggesting that we need to live a full century before we see the fulfillment of the promises the Lord has made to each of us. Instead, I’m suggesting we live in faith, faith born from reflecting on Abraham’s position relative to our own.
Abraham was 62 years old when he first received the promise of a son and 100 years old when that promise was fulfilled. That means he had to wait 38 years for the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to him. That’s a long time to wait.
And I’m willing to wager (though I’m not a betting man) that most of us waiting for the fulfillment of our own blessings have a ways to go before we can touch Abraham territory. I myself have been single for more than two decades. As long as that has been to endure, it’s only about half of what Abraham endured. Clearly, I can’t touch this.
Most LDS singles are in that same boat. As long as you’ve each waited for the fulfillment of your desired blessings, you haven’t waited anywhere near as long as Abraham had to wait. So you can’t touch this either.
The Lord pulled through for Abraham. He’ll pull through for each of us. As we continue to walk in faith that all of His promises will be fulfilled, He will send us many tender mercies to support us. We can feel the confidence that we will receive our promised blessings. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Everyone dreams of living a better life, yet we all respond to those dreams differently. Some while away the days not doing much to move closer to those dreams. Others are doing something, only they’re stuck. Try as they might, they just can’t seem to succeed. Either way, it seems like everyone needs a miracle for their dreams to come true.
And then there’s those I call patient fools. They believe the absence of the miracle they need means it must not be the right time. And so they patiently wait, expecting their miracle to deliver their dreams when the time becomes right.
For many LDS singles, that miracle is finding an eternal companion. Some dream about the day it will happen but never take action to move towards it. Others take action but can’t seem to make any progress. Still others simply wait, thinking the time is somehow not yet right.
Whatever miracle you want in your life, that miracle won’t happen by itself. Someone needs to act, and that someone is you! If you truly want it, you can make your miracle happen.
Dreams inspire us with a vision of possibility. They animate the imagination and stir something within the soul. Yet no dream enters reality on its own. We must take action!
The world didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Under the direction of our Creator, heavenly workers took action. Those workers then returned to report their labors. The miracle that is Earth did not happen all at once but step by step as action was taken.
In like manner, your dreams will never happen unless you take action. Yes, taking action introduces change, and with change comes new challenges and new concerns. But only through action will your dreams become reality.
And you can respond to those challenges and concerns with faith. Partner with the Lord. By returning to Him every day to report the actions you’ve taken, you can receive counsel and direction regarding your next steps. When you take those steps and then return and report again, you can counsel with Him regarding the next steps. By walking consistently in faith, you can make your miracle happen.
Take the right action
Many of us aren’t just sitting on the sidelines of life twiddling our thumbs. No, we’re out there taking action. The problem is we don’t seem to be going anywhere.
The pursuit for eternal companionship leaves many LDS singles feeling like that hamster down at the local pet store. That hamster takes action, exerting tons of energy to run faster and go farther. But in the end, running inside a wheel doesn’t move the hamster that far.
Likewise, many LDS singles exert tons of energy running between conferences and other activities. But in the end, they don’t move very far.
If this describes you, stop running inside a wheel, and start doing the right things for you. You must take action, but not just any action will produce your miracle. You must take the right action. You must do what’s right for you.
I’ve talked before about how the right things are more than just the standards for being active LDS. They include owning your life, opening yourself to possibilities, partnering with the Lord, and embracing a personal ministry by which you bring goodness into the world. Each of these right actions contribute to making your miracle happen.
Take the right action now
Some LDS singles have trouble accepting that truth. They live under the myth that their blessings will come if they just live a righteous life. They’re fine waiting until the “right” time for their miracle when it will just happen.
These patient fools have grown comfortable in their complacency. They fool themselves into thinking their patience is rooted in faith. But faith is a principle of action. Patience truly rooted in faith is not passive, but active!
Patient fools also fool themselves into thinking the time for their miracle isn’t right just because it hasn’t happened yet. I’ve previously described how many LDS singles use the concept of timing as a crutch. Yes, the Lord has a timetable, but just because something hasn’t happened doesn’t mean the time isn’t right for it to happen. The time can be as right as rain, but miracles require action to happen.
If you truly want it, you can make your miracle happen when you take the required action now. Own your life. Embrace a personal ministry. Partner with the Lord. Counsel with Him regarding your next steps. Work hard and be open to possibility. Then return and report to Him. When you make the right things for you a lifestyle, you can make your miracle happen. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Life holds many challenges, and LDS singles life is no exception. Whether you never married, are divorced, or are widowed, heartache can cripple you emotionally and obscure your view of a bright future.
But just because you can’t see a bright tomorrow doesn’t mean that bright tomorrow won’t come. Day always follows night; it’s natural law. And it’s always darkest just before the dawn.
It’s easy to believe in that dawn when the light shines over the horizon. It’s harder to believe in the dawn when the darkness is all you can see. How do you resist the call of pessimism to abandon all hope?
You do it with faith. You must have a vision of what you can become. You must believe in that vision and your own ability to realize that vision. And you must have the resiliency to go the distance needed to make that vision reality. You must never say die.
Choose your vision
It takes faith to a have a vision of what you can become. It takes even more faith to believe you can achieve that vision. Where does such faith originate?
It comes from the source of all true faith — the Lord Jesus Christ. His restored gospel teaches us that through Him we can all become something more and return to live with our Heavenly Father. And in what must be the grandest glorification of God, we can also be like Him.
Indeed, the realization of such a vision is a commandment:
Just like every other commandment, the Lord will provide the way to accomplish it.
As I’ve pointed out earlier, Nephi was single when he uttered those inspirational words. He went on to achieve great things. We who are single can be just as inspirational and achieve just as great things in our own lives.
Choose your road
Walking that path of faith isn’t easy. But it’s not impossible. And it’s a lot more joyful than any alternative.
The Lord won’t abandon you. He loves you so much He willingly suffered a tortuous death. Love that strong means He won’t stop until you have every blessing you will receive.
Note that I said “will receive.” Great as His love is for you, the Lord will not violate individual agency. He won’t force blessings upon you. That means you have to choose.
You must choose light over darkness. You must choose optimism over pessimism. You must choose confidence over doubt. You must choose faith over fear.
Many are so much more comfortable with pessimism, doubt, and fear that choosing this low road is much easier. But that choice also means accepting darkness and all its attendant disillusionment and despair as your reality.
Don’t sell yourself short or live beneath your potential! Don’t give up on yourself! The Lord believes in you and your potential. He could never lead you into everlasting failure. Everything He has done and continues to do is so that you can become everything you were meant to become.
God never stopped believing in you. Will you not take Him at His word?
Choose your difference
Your blessings are real. They’re not vain imaginations of your yearning soul nor wishful whims of fancy. They are real, and you can achieve them because God has decreed it.
Don’t you dare give up on yourself! You and your contributions are far too valuable to sit idly on the sidelines of history. God has reserved you for this time and place because you have goodness which only you can give. Choose to make that difference by leaning on He Who is the difference for all of us.
Darkness may surround you now, but that darkness will not last forever. No trial comes into our lives to stay; sooner or later they all pass. Partner with the Lord and let His strength become your strength. Let His faith become your faith. Let His confidence become your confidence.
Never say die. It’s not over until you win. When you adopt that attitude, you can do the impossible. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Last week we discussed our need to see the opportunities amidst our obstacles. Taking advantage of those opportunities can lighten our load and place peace in our hearts. And sometimes it’s the only way to overcome our obstacles.
But sometimes that won’t be enough. Sometimes lingering, unanswered questions plague us. Try as we might, answers continue to elude us. It’s one thing when answers take days or weeks to come. It’s quite a horse of a different color, as they would say in the Emerald City of The Wizard of Oz, when you spend years without any clear answer in sight.
Many decide to give up when their needed answers aren’t forthcoming. They think their answers will never come if they don’t come on their schedule. That’s like saying if a seed doesn’t sprout on your schedule then it never will. That’s ridiculous.
Just as seeds sprout on Nature’s schedule, the answers we need will come on God’s schedule. It may take longer than we’d like, but if we never stop looking, our answers will come when the time is right.
Go the distance
The Master taught, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). He never said how long that would be.
And He doesn’t need to. Sometimes we need to experience ample asking, extended seeking, and prolonged knocking because that experience will endear the knowledge we desire more to us. Sometimes we need to pay that price because that knowledge is worthy of such a price. Other times we simply need the experience to grow into what God wants us to become.
God knows what’s best for us. We need to have faith He knows the time that’s best. And we need the patience to wait on Him in His time.
That’s doesn’t mean sitting idly by, twiddling our thumbs. No! Patience in the Lord’s view is a verb, not a noun. Waiting on the Lord is an active process. However long it takes for us to find the answers we need, we show the Lord the seriousness of our desire by going the distance and continuing to look for the answers we need until we find them.
Learn to walk
Do you remember what learning how to walk was like? Most of us don’t. Yet most of us have seen enough toddlers learning to walk to fill in the blanks created by our lack of memory.
For example, did you walk perfectly upon taking your first step? No, you didn’t. In fact, you most likely fell flat on your face — or your butt. It took continued practice and many attempts before you gained the knowledge you needed to walk. Some of you took longer than others to learn the same lessons. But all who walk today do so without much thought in the activity. We simply do it.
In like manner, we won’t always receive the answers we need upon asking the question once. Sometimes we need repeated attempts as part of our learning process. Yet with continued effort, eventually the Lord’s timetable is met and we receive the answers to our questions.
Walk in faith
All of our questions have answers. Just because some answers aren’t readily available doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We should walk in faith that our search for answers will eventually yield fruit.
We should also walk in faith that the Lord will help us find the answers we need. He may not answer us right away when we need the experience of searching in order to grow in the way that He knows is best for us. But He will always provide peace in our hearts that helps us to have patience.
He will also speak to us in a variety of ways. It could be in a passage of scripture or a hymn sung in church. It could be in the comment of a friend or in the ponderings of a quiet moment. For me, often the answers I seek come in the form of a book. When I need an answer to a question, eventually in my search I’ll encounter a book that provides a stepping stone — sometimes through a new piece of knowledge, sometimes a new perspective — leading me towards the answers to my questions.
However He chooses to speak to you, never stop looking for the answers you need. You may not know how long you need to look, but you can know that your answers are there and that they will come in the Lord’s time. You can have the answers you need. And that will bring more joy in your journey.
I actually felt something enticing me to read it as I looked at the different options before me, but for some reason I can’t fully explain, I shied away from it. At length, not finding the indication I sought elsewhere, I turned to it and began reading. As I read, what I sought was everywhere in spades.
Why I should focus here I have no idea. But as the title of the address implies, when the Lord directs, we should do it. When you think about it, that actually fits perfectly with our discussion last week about walking by faith and journeying with vision.
Adopt a deliberate humility
Elder Clayton begins by describing Mary, the mother of Jesus, at a wedding feast in Cana. When the wine for the feast had been exhausted, Mary turned to Jesus. After a brief consultation, she then instructed the servants, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it” (John 2:5). They did, and thus we have the miracle we know of turning water into wine.
Elder Clayton then described Mary’s original insertion into the Savior’s story when the angel Gabriel announced she would give birth. Mary was of course startled at first. Then as Gabriel began to explain the message he had been sent to deliver, Mary became filled with many questions. But as Elder Clayton explains,
What an amazing example of faith and humility! Instead of insisting to know the end from the beginning before taking the first step, Mary simply submits her will to the Lord. How many of us would do likewise? How many of us singles insist on knowing when we will marry and how it will happen before taking the first step towards eternal blessings?
Display a deliberate obedience
We all face challenges in life. And sometimes we get so focused on finding the solutions to our problems that we forget the “simple practices of faith.” Elder Clayton acknowledges these struggles in our lives while at the same time declaring that those simple practices provide the strength we need to confront our challenges.
We hear about those simple practices so often we call them Sunday School answers. And it’s easy to think of those simple practices providing answers only to routine living; they give us a structure for what we do everyday. But when it comes to real living filled with problems that feel unique and have no easy answers, we often want something more than Sunday School answers.
As seemingly unrelated as they may seem to our unique challenges, simple practices of faith are the answer to whatever challenge we face in life. Elder Clayton declared,
“Those who are deliberate about doing the ‘small and simple things’” aren’t living life on autopilot. They consciously choose what they do and why they do it. They consciously choose to be faithful in all the little questions regardless of if or when they get answers to their big ones. That’s the mark of true walking by faith.
Receive deliberate blessings
Adopting this deliberate form of obedience can do more than strengthen us in our moments of trial. It can also open the windows of heaven to unfolding before us the revelation we need to resolve concerns and overcome challenges.
When we think of revelation, certainly the First Vision comes to mind. It’s hard if not impossible to imagine the Restoration happening without the First Vision. But can you imagine the First Vision happening without the simple practices of faith that the boy Joseph Smith practiced before witnessing that marvelous revelation?
Elder Clayton spoke of the connection between the simple practices of faith and the revelation we seek.
Adopting a deliberate humility before the Lord will help us to display a deliberate obedience to all the small acts of righteous living. That in turn will strengthen us in our search for eternal blessings. Consciously choosing to do what the Lord wants us to do today without insisting on having any answers to questions about the future will qualify us to receive the rewards of faith, diligence, and patience. And receiving those rewards will bring us more joy in our journey.
I’m sure we’ve all had the childhood fantasy of being a superhero. The world — or at least the world as we knew it — was on the brink of total annihilation. Then, at the pivotal moment, we step in, defeat the villains, and save the world.
Such dreams of my younger days took a slight twist when hormones began coursing through my veins. Instead of saving the world, I was saving a beautiful woman who of course would fall madly in love with me for saving her. We would get married and live happily ever after.
Then I would wake up and see reality was something very different.
We’ve all dreamed of saving the day in one form or another. Those we dream of saving may or may not need us to be a superhero. But our own individual lives certainly do.
Yes, our lives need each of us to be a superhero — a superhero of faith. We need to walk by faith in order to live our best life, to do everything the Lord wants us to do and become everything He wants us to become. Achieving that means rising above the ordinary and making faith our superpower.
Step into the dark
Superheroes of faith walk by it. I’m sure many of us know Paul’s declaration that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Yet I’m not as certain that as many of us live that.
Too many want to see the end from the beginning. We all have decisions to make in life, and many of us want to see that everything will turn out OK before we take that first step.
President Boyd K. Packer once told about seeking advice from President Harold B. Lee in making an important decision. After hearing a rehearsal of the situation, President Lee responded, “Your problem is that you want to know the end from the beginning. You need to walk by faith. Consult with the Lord, make the best decision you can, and then trust the Lord to work everything for your good.” President Packer followed that counsel, and indeed, everything worked out for his good.
Many of us want to know how everything will work out before we take that first step. We need to trust the Lord when He reveals a path to us and take that first step into the dark. Walking by faith means trusting Him to work everything for our good, especially when we don’t know how that could ever happen.
Proceed with vision
In contrast, walking by sight means proceeding with a preconceived plan in view. We saw the plan detailing how everything comes together before we took the first step. And we continue to view that plan as we journey onward.
Walking by sight also means proceeding in accordance with what we our natural eyes see. Too often we relinquish our dreams because what we see with our natural eyes tells us those blessings can never come to us. The life we desire seems so impossible we wonder how it could ever be.
Enoch had just such a moment. When the Lord called him to declare repentance, he wondered, Why me? For “I . . . am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech” (Moses 6:31).
But the Lord told him, “Go forth and do as I have commanded thee . . . . Anoint thine eyes with clay, and wash them, and thou shalt see” (Moses 6:32, 35). Upon doing so, Enoch gained a vision of his potential. He then proceeded with that vision and became everything the Lord wanted him to become.
The Lord has great blessings for us, but we must walk with vision to receive them. We must act in full confidence His promises will be kept, even when what we see with our natural eyes says they never will.
Exercise your power
Walking by faith — with vision and not by sight — is truly extraordinary in a world where mediocrity is the norm. This is a world which says that seeing is believing.
Those who proceed with vision truly are superheroes. Their superpower of faith allows them to walk with confidence that believing is seeing. At length, what was seen only in the inner world becomes visible for all in the outer world.
Do you want your best life? Be a superhero. Partner with the Lord. Let Him show you your potential and the path you need to take to realize it. When you step out into the dark, fully confident the Lord will be with you, you’ll find the light you carry — the light that is the Lord — will go with you. And that will bring more joy in your journey.
I can't believe that I spaced this. I was supposed to post yesterday, but that didn't happen. I could tell you about all the things that occupied my attention yesterday, but I won't. I got busy and therein got distracted.
I recall hearing a sister speak in sacrament meeting one Sunday. She confessed that she had been busy with so many things that she had allowed her temple attendance to slide. I then reflected on how temple attendance is like anything else in life. If you want to ensure what is most important to you fills your life, you need to make time for it.
I also recall attending the temple once when life was more hectic than it is now. I had just moved after losing my job, and my neighbors decided to throw a party that kept me up well past Pumpkin Hour. And then the next day my energetic nephew decided to be consternatingly contrary.
I needed the peace found only within the House of the Lord. And I didn't want to wait for it. And I also had some questions about where I was in my life at the time. So I showered off all the grime and sweat from cleaning up my old place, put on my nicest suit, grabbed my hat, and away I went.
And I had a rather interesting and unexpected experience.
My time in the temple
First, in my haste to hie me to the House of the Lord, I forgot some very important articles of clothing. I realized my lapse while in the dressing room. I put my suit back on and went back to the front area, thinking I could rent what I needed.
Instead I found myself like one of the five unwise virgins. The temple had been recently renovated; there was now no more laundry and hence no more clothing rental.
I was quite befuddled with what to do next when my eye caught sight of the entrance to the initiatory area. I then realized that I could still have a temple experience. I entered the area and asked if help was needed, and of course it was. The attendant gave me a robe and advised me to return when I had changed my clothes.
This is the part where it gets really interesting. When I returned, the brother directing the initiatory work that evening asked whether I could stay for a half hour or an hour. I selected an hour, to which he replied, "You are certainly an answer to our prayers this evening." He then signaled a place for me to wait while others prepared for the work to be done.
While I waited, I thought about this brother’s comment and the context in which I received it. I had made time for something important to me --- temple attendance --- and in pursuing that I encountered an unexpected experience that answered someone else's prayers. I then realized something that had never before entered my mind.
What I had just experienced was an analogy to the singles life unlike any I had ever encountered.
A new question
I reflected on how my life is nothing like what I expected it to be. I never expected to be as single as the day I came home from my mission for so long. That part is old hat.
But what if that unexpected experience is the answer to someone's prayers? I wasn't sure how to answer that question in part because I had never before considered it. Still single today, I find myself entranced by its ramifications.
What if I am single because me being single is the answer to someone's prayers?
Well, it's certainly not the answer to my prayers. I’ve been praying for the exact opposite for many years now. I like to think that somewhere a spiritual and intelligent single LDS woman is praying that I’ll enter her life, but I don't really know if that is true.
Maybe the one whose prayers are answered is not my future companion. Maybe it’s a couple worried about their child growing older without a spouse. Or maybe a caring leader or even a really good friend with the same concern. Or maybe it’s not connected at all with my companion. Maybe it has to do with me doing something that is easier done while single.
I know the Lord has wanted me to be married for many years now. But given that none of my past opportunities have worked out for me, perhaps the Lord is saving me for some other purpose. Perhaps He is saying, “OK, Plans A through X didn’t work out, so while I am assembling the pieces for Plan Y, why don’t you make yourself useful doing this?”
That's a comforting thought.
When you make time for the important, you arrive where you need to be. I still don’t have all the answers, but I know I am on my way. And walking by faith is not bad at all.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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