A Step in the Dark

As a teen, I would read my patriarchal blessing and worry that I wouldn’t do “what I was supposed to do” and mess everything up.

You see, I am a rule follower, a mathematician at heart (probably thanks to my two computer programmer parents), and a lover of school because there were assignments and due dates and expectations were clear for what I needed to do and when I needed to do it.

Two plus two? Four. Check!
4 squared? 16. Check!

Annotate this book… um sure.
Paint this picture… not as easy.

Follow the path of your life God has set forth.

Also not as easy.

You see. Patriarchal blessings don’t have dates or specifics or perfectly laid out plans with easily accomplishable goals.

They have potentials. They have chances. They have opportunities. And they have many interpretations, depending on your current circumstance.

So when I met a boy in college I thought about what path I should follow. I looked to the should. Perhaps maybe more than I should have.

The path to God is straight and narrow, sure, but it isn’t without personality and room for individual circumstances.

I wanted the A. I always got A’s. So why would this be any different?

I met a boy. He was nice. He served a mission. He was fun. He liked me.

Soon we were married.

And then several years later we found ourselves separated.

And I was continually confused.

I did all the right things. And yet my world was falling apart, my marriage was in shambles, and I needed to make a decision that seemed impossible no matter what I chose.

What I chose.

You see, that was the difference.

I began to think about what I wanted. Not just what God wanted me to do, or what I “should do.”

It was after my best friend saw me so miserable that she helped me see that the previous choice to stay was not what I actually wanted. She helped me look inside.

“We are free to choose.” (see 2 Nephi 2:27)

The first line after the introductory paragraph of my patriarchal blessing says that I will find joy as I exercise my free agency.

Joy. When I choose.

Isn’t that what we are all fighting for?

And while that decision seemed like it should have been more difficult, when I said goodbye, it felt right. The path in front of me was not easy, but it led me to Griffin, my current husband, the man who has brought me more joy than I thought possible. Because I chose joy, and because I chose for myself.

This last week I have had another decision in front of me, this time about a demanding calling and whether to accept it.

And I am trying to remember what I learned so long ago. Sometimes following God is about doing as he asks, but not always.

And not today. He isn’t asking. Or answering.

And while the argument could be made that He asked me when the calling was extended, I have still prayed fervently for direction on this big decision and He has been silent.

I know that He will support me either way, but I was kind of hoping He could help tip the scales, you know. Give me a nudge. And I know that if I do head down the wrong path, He will stop or warn me. I haven’t felt that yet.

But what I have continued to learn this year is that sometimes God doesn’t need to be so micromanage-y and that I need to stop needing Him to be.

He trusts me. He knows what I can do. And He will bless my efforts, no matter what they go in to.

I think His silence is helping me to stop doubting myself. So I can believe in myself as much as I believe in Him to help me.

Do I realize how powerful I actually am?

I live in Las Vegas where unsavory billboards are common. But there are several churches that make a point of adding light to the darkness.

I drove by one with a beautiful sunflower on it with these simple words.

“Do you believe in God?
Because He believes in you!”

He does. I promise.

And perhaps His silence or vagueness or whatever else it is is to help you feel empowered as an individual. To remember that you have the power—the agency to make your life what you want it to be.

To be who you want. And that God can still use you. And maybe especially use you as you embrace the natural skills abilities and desires in you.

I will be taking this new calling. But not because I feel like it fits another line in my blessing or because it’s smart or even because I would be good at it.

I am taking it because I want to.

I’m still nervous. But I know blessings come anytime we act. Even if it’s not direct obedience but a step towards more goodness.

Sometimes faith is about doing a hard thing you have been asked.

And sometimes it’s about taking a step into the dark when God hasn’t yet given his stamp of approval.

If your blessing is more general than specific, take that as evidence that God trusts you to make wise and righteous decisions without needing to be ‘commanded’ in all things.”

Alonzo Gaskill, 65 Questions and Answers
about Patriarchal Blessings

But I promise He approves. Anytime we act in faith without assurance or surety, He will be there with us, sanctifying what service we give, making us more because we have the strength to try something new.

Eve didn’t have an assurance that God wanted Her to choose to leave the garden. But once she did she was given the surety that a Savior would be provided for her and her posterity.

We need more women with the courage and vision of mother Eve. We need women who can make important things happen by their faith.”

Russell M. Nelson

Step into the dark with your faith. Because your faith is brighter than you realize. YOU are more powerful than you realize.

Choose to say yes. Yes to unreasonable, unknown faith.”

Courtney Casper

Featured Image by Andrew Neel from Pexels