For the past few months I have felt like a leaf blowing in the wind. I am doing my best to make righteous choices, but it feels like the more I strive to make righteous choices the less control I have over my own life. For example, for the last year or so I’ve been a member of a symphony, it was a huge item on my bucket list to play with a symphony. However, after one dress rehearsal as I was driving home it was very clear to me that this was my last concert with the symphony. Many factors contribute to making it a natural end to being able to play with them, and I tried to drag it out as long as I could, but the spirit was yet again very clear (sometimes I’m a little stubborn) that it was the end.
The concert this past Monday was so bittersweet for me. It is hard to say goodbye, knowing it is necessary, but not having a reason why.
No, we did not play to an empty concert hall, it was actually almost completely sold out, over 2000 seats, this was during our warmup/tech rehearsal.
Although it is difficult to admit it is the end, I’m not doing it begrudgingly. My desire to serve the Lord is greater than my desire to accomplish any one thing, but I find myself looking for reasons why I need to make decisions like this, and the lack thereof leaves me feeling like I’m a leaf blowing in the wind. I kept telling myself this was a temporary state, and that something bigger and better would come to replace it and then I won’t feel like I’m blowing in the wind anymore. (If you find yourself with a Bob Dylan song stuck in your head right now, you’re not alone.)
Yesterday as I was reading in the scriptures these verses stood out to me:
And after they did separate themselves one from another, taking no thought for themselves what they should eat, or what they should drink, or what they should put on.
And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ.
This is referring to Alma and the sons of Mosiah are serving as missionaries. There are other missionaries who are counseled to serve in similar ways:
For I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats.
This type of counsel is given to missionaries of all ages, and they are not left wanting. They are not being asked to ignore their needs, they are being told not to worry about it because the Lord would provide for them. In fact, the night of the last supper the, right after the Savior tells Peter that he would deny Him three times it says:
And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.
Although these men gave up their jobs and everything they had previously known, they had not been left wanting. The Lord provided for them.
As I read these scriptures I see that I need to have more faith. I need to stop worrying about whether I accomplish this goal, or that goal. Goal setting is a righteous pursuit, and I think all of us need to have goals and dreams, and I think the Lord is generous in allowing us to achieve our righteous personal goals and desires. But when the Lord tells me to change my goals I need to not be prideful. I need to show him that my desire to serve Him is far greater than my desire to accomplish any one particular thing. If I focus on fulfilling His will for me, and accomplishing His goals for me, I am no longer limited by what my mortal mind can dream up, I now have goals of a grander, divine, and eternal nature.
When I change my goals to align with His will for me I need to be faithful enough not to expect something to immediately or obviously fill the gap. As my knowledge expands I will be required to have greater faith, that means that I need to show the Lord I will remain faithful and do his will even if I don’t understand why. I need to get used to this state of not knowing, and instead of feeling like I’m being blown around in the wind without any control, I need to have greater trust in His plan for me and to recognize that as I align my will with His I am anchored to Jesus Christ, and the winds do not affect Him. In fact, what I feel as blowing in the wind may actually just be the freedom of release from the barriers of my mortal mind into the great expanse of what is possible through Christ.
(I have this image in my mind of a photo here of a woman wearing white with long hair kneeling in peaceful prayer with the wind obviously swirling all around her. Someone should take a picture like that, it would be beautiful. Imagine that picture right here in the post.)
I do not need to know what His long term goals are for me, I need to act in faith and work as hard as I can to accomplish what I do know, and be open to receive correction and specifications along the way. When it comes right down to it, does it really matter what specific righteous things I do in this life? It really doesn’t. I have a desire to do something big, but He can lead me to bigger things than I could ever do on my own. I have a desire to do something memorable, but I can have more impact with His Spirit than without it. I have a desire to be obedient, which means I need to listen to Him. I have a desire to be righteous, and I certainly can’t do that without Christ!
My patriarchal blessing says that I will be able to accomplish any righteous goal I care to peruse. I love the open ended feeling to that. I can do anything! As my desire to serve the Lord increases I care less about my own personal goals and my goal becomes to pursue the goals He wants me to accomplish.
I am not a leaf blowing in the wind, I am flying.