This is a longer post than usual, so thanks in advance if you read it all the way through! First I wanted to share some good memories from this Holiday Season. Check them out here. One of the highlights was having our whole family together to Skype :)
In my last post, I shared a quote from The Alchemist. I ended up reading that book one more time within a week and a half because I enjoyed it so much. On Friday, my bishop asked me to speak in Sacrament meeting today, and the topic was “setting spiritual goals.” Preparing the talk helped me put into words some things that have been on my mind lately. HWN for me the past several days has been reflecting on accomplishing the impossible :) I wanted to share the text of my talk:
Accomplish the Impossible
About a year ago, President Russell M. Nelson did a worldwide devotional for us, the young adults of the church. At the end, he said:
“…as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I bless each one of you, as though I had my hands upon your heads, with the ability to become the True Millennial you were born to be. I bless you to have the desire and ability to learn your true identity and purpose, [and] that you will expect and prepare to do ‘impossible’ things…”
This morning I invite each of us realize this blessing by pondering on our own true identity and purpose. Think about that… What is your true identity? What is your true purpose? What is your passion? What are your dreams in life? I believe if you listen to the Spirit and listen to your heart, you can gain at least a little more insight into your true identity and purpose this morning, if not discover for sure what it is!
At a BYU Devotional in 1979, Elder John H. Groberg emphasized three truths:
“…first, that God [has] a specific mission for all of us to fulfill … here upon this earth; second, that we can … discover what that mission is; and third, that with His help we can fulfill that mission…”
Now, keep reflecting on these questions to yourself… What is your specific mission? Your true identity and purpose? President Nelson and Elder Groberg both promised and blessed us to be able to discover and realize those things.
Recently I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, twice within a couple weeks because I loved it so much. It’s an allegory about discovering your specific mission, or personal calling in life. Paulo Coelho calls it your “personal legend.”
The protagonist, Santiago, learns from a wise king that a personal legend is “…what you have always wanted to accomplish.” He says:
“Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.”
Are there things you wished to accomplish, but life told you it was impossible? Perhaps that’s your personal legend! President Nelson did invite us to expect and prepare to do impossible things!
Personally, life has told me I’m not worthy of or good enough for my dreams. Life tells me my dreams are impossible, or that it’s not worth the heartache and suffering of the pursuit. Life says the risks and the goals themselves are too high. Well, it’s a good thing life isn’t always right!
Referring back to Santiago from The Alchemist, towards the end of his personal legend, Santiago becomes afraid. He tells his companion, “My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer.”
His companion counsels him to:
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
I experienced that recently… a time when I thought my heart would be broken, more broken than ever before… but it wasn’t, because I was in pursuit of a dream and Heavenly Father was with me in that pursuit.
Last year I met a young woman who I thought was amazing. After she let me me take her on a few dates, I decided she was the most beautiful woman in history, and so that’s how I saw her. And I told her that. I prayed for opportunities to get to know her more, and to love her more, and both of those happened.
Unfortunately, she didn’t decide the same way about me… She chose to pursue a different relationship. My immediate response was in fact deep heartache. But I was surprised when it lasted literally only a few minutes, and it took a few days for me to figure out what was going on. At first, I was worried that I was feeling numb — that my heart was tired of trying. But that thought left when I recognized that my heart still hoped. It couldn’t be numb and hopeful at the same time!
I also recognized that my heart was happy for this young woman! I was happy that she was happy, and that she exercised her agency. The heartache couldn’t remain in the same place as hope and happiness.
The Spirit taught me that the reason I was able to feel hopeful and happy was because of love. While in pursuit of this worthy goal, Heavenly Father had blessed me with charity for her, and I wanted more for her to choose what would make her happy than for her to choose to be with me. [I wrote more about that in this post.]
This experience was a miracle for me, and is a bright contrast from many others in my life. I’ve felt heartbroken many times, and I don’t know why Heavenly Father chose to bless me so immensely in this one, but I do know that I embraced the pursuit of something that to me seemed impossible, and Heavenly Father consecrated it for my good.
This reminds me again of what Santiago’s companion told him that:
“…no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
And this experience strengthens my confidence in President Nelson’s promise that:
“…when you are asked to do impossible things, you will be able to step forward with faith and dogged persistence and cheerfully do all that lies in your power to fulfill the purposes of the Lord.”
I know that it’s possible to do impossible things… like get married, or even get a date for that matter, or find a major, or a career path. Heavenly Father wants us to be successful in these areas even more than we do.
I hope you can feel some of the passion I feel about accomplishing the impossible, and that you can open your heart to try, knowing that:
“…all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28).
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.