I’ve been writing lately about a mystery burden, which may surprise some of my long-time audience members. Although I never divulge all details, I also don’t hold back on a general description of my life occurrences.
This one, however, gives me pause. Suffice it to say my heavy burden really tears at my heart.
Honestly, I haven’t yet felt the full pain of my burden. Working 60+ hours each week means I don’t have time to think about it very much. That’s the silver lining; it’d probably break me if I weren’t so distracted.
Yet sooner or later the piper demands payment. I know I’ll feel the full effect of my burden shortly. And I know that in that moment, after all my efforts to reach for the light have ended only in darkness, the clouds of despair will gather around me. And the siren call of pessimism will take monumental effort to resist.
In that moment I will need to take courage.
It’s always easy to be pessimistic. That’s because pessimism requires no courage. It never has, and it never will.
Alternatively, optimism always requires courage. Optimism requires us to believe in what we don’t know because it lies outside our experience. So many of us are so accomplished at using our past failures to predict our future, we can very easily discount optimism.
Many of us are also more comfortable with failure than with success. We’re so much more familiar with the doubt and fear we know than with the faith and confidence we don’t that we choose darkness over light.
It takes courage to resist these negative tendencies of the natural man. It takes courage to reach for the light even though all you can see is darkness. It takes courage to hold to a dream when everything and everyone around you seems to say it will never happen, when you seem to be the only one who believes in you. And it takes even more courage to believe in you when even you don’t believe in you.
Yet God never stopped believing in you. At the end of every day, you can choose to believe that or not.
Here’s what I choose to believe. I choose to believe God is real and that He loves me so immensely He could never lead me into permanent misery. Though all the hounds of hell howl about me, I will take courage and reach for the light. I will take courage and meet my demons head on with optimism and confidence.
I will take courage because in the end I know God will not forsake me. My blessings are real. God loves me so much He wants me to have them. My dreams are not just vain imaginations; they’re glimpses of the future God wants me to have. They’re not only possible, they’re probable. And I increase their probability of occurrence to practical certainty by taking courage and reaching for the light, even when I cannot see any light around me.
Perhaps I should say especially when I cannot see any light around me.
I believe this because I choose to believe it. You can choose to believe it too. Anyone can be pessimistic, but you and I are destined for too much greatness to cower before the pathetic pastures of pessimism. Don’t let that be your choice.
Here’s what I will tell myself. You weren’t born to be just anyone. You were born to be you in all your glorious uniqueness. The failure of others to recognize that truth doesn’t destroy it. It might conceal it, but it cannot destroy it because nothing can destroy truth. And the truth is that greatness is your birthright, which you can claim if you take courage and reach for the light.
President Monson has often said whoever God calls He qualifies. God loves you so much He’s calling after you to come home, so surely He’ll give you strength to carry on towards your blessings when you take courage and reach for the light.
Of course it’s hard. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth anything. But because it is worth everything, everything is required of you — all your heart, all your mind, all your faith, all your hope, all your love, all your tears, all your toil, all your might. No matter how dark and dreary your world may seem, take courage and reach for the light.
Don’t you dare give up on yourself. You are far too valuable to surrender. It’s not over until you win. Now take courage, and reach for the light!
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast 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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