(Scriptural references come from The Book of Nephi in The Book of Mormon.)
So, as I mentioned a couple posts back, life has felt harder than necessary lately. Am I still alive? Yep. Still swimming? Yep. Sometimes just barely. But still swimming ;).
As I was reading scriptures during lunch yesterday, I came across one I’d marked and noted back in January. Probably an answer to prayer. Anyway, it’s in Nephi, where Nephi is working to make a ship, because the Lord has told him to do so. His brothers have spent their time mocking him for building this ship rather than helping him. And Nephi comments that, because they do not BELIEVE (these two brothers are notorious for complaining about circumstances and not understanding the dealings of their God, and therefore they murmured quite often…), they are unwilling to do the work. Essentially. And that stuck out to me back in January. And I happened to flip by it yesterday during my lunch-time scripture study and saw it and thought, “Hmmm… Do I believe?” Believe what? Doesn’t really matter. Do I believe the Lord will fulfill His promises? Do I believe He will provide a way? Do I believe He has a plan for me? That He wants me to have joy? So I started pondering how often this idea of belief leading to work could be found in the scriptures. So I flipped to the Topical Guide (found at the back of the LDS King James versions of the Bible – it’s a list of topics with reference scriptures for the topic), and looked up “belief”. Interestingly enough, the “see also” references had “trust” and “trust in God” listed. Hmmm… And as I skimmed through the list (which includes the scripture reference and a snippet of the verse containing the word in question – in this case “belief or believe”), I found that, quite often, there was an action that followed the believing. Because they believed they did hearken.
So… Do I believe?
Because if the answer is anything less than yes, well… It’s not enough. And so, for the past couple days, I’ve been focusing on this question. Because, if I believe, I will do the work. Whatever it may be. And that’s the scary part. Because, sometimes, life is HARD. And the work seems phenomenal.
But I KNOW that the Lord will fulfill His promises (I’ve seen it enough to be able to know it). I KNOW He will provide a way – even if it’s curvy (so I can’t see around the next corner) and uphill all the way (I’ve seen it enough to be able to know it). I KNOW He has a plan for me (I’ve been taught this, and I know He knows me and loves me and that I’m His daughter and I’m not here by accident, so I feel pretty confident in saying I know this). I KNOW He wants me to have joy (again, I’ve been taught this, and if I examine how He has led me in life, I feel confident in saying I know it).
But just KNOWING, it turns out, isn’t enough. Which is something I’d never realized before. I have to actually BELIEVE it too. Because the BELIEVING is what spurs the action. Probably because it’s a step on the path of faith. Believe. Hope. Have Faith.
Something else I thought of last week – at the inception of this particular yuck part of life – was the poison of “what if.” I was talking to Jeremy on Monday (oh how we love holidays…) and I mentioned it to him.
Why is it that all “what if’s” seem to be negative? They undermine hope and belief. “What if I can’t have children?” “What if all my hair falls out and I am ugly?” “What if no one will ever want to be with me and have me as his wife (this was a fear pre-Jeremy)?” “What if I don’t know what Heavenly Father wants me to do, and so I make a mistake?” What if… What if… What if… If you examine those few examples I listed, you may recognize the poison in them. They paralyzed me a lot in a lot of different ways. They undermined my hope. And so they undermined my belief.
And so the other thing I’ve been working on (when I haven’t been wallowing in self-pity) is changing the “what if’s.”
“What if Jeremy will always find me beautiful?” “What if Jeremy and I can have 4 children?” “What if I have had enough experience with personal revelation to be confident in my feelings and my choices and that they are in line with Heavenly Father’s will?” “What if the desires of my heart will be mine?”
Yes, what if…?