Earlier this year I found myself overwhelmed with everything that was going on in my life and in the decisions that I needed to make. We were fixing up almost every room in our house, we were in the middle of preparing for a major shift in our business, my brother was about to come to stay with us for a month, and a deal we thought would help make everything run smoother had just hit a major roadblock that threatened to have the entire thing fall through. I was starting to doubt myself, wondering if those were really promptings from the Spirit I’d been following that had led us to this point.
That’s also when I got a phone call to schedule an appointment for my husband and me to meet with the bishop. We had a feeling we knew what it was about. It was for a calling— a calling I would usually be so excited about, a calling in a presidency that I also knew would require more of me emotionally and mentally than I felt I had the capacity to handle at the time. The thought of having one more thing added to my plate overwhelmed me even more than I had already felt.
Have you ever questioned if you had mistaken a thought for a prompting? That perhaps you weren’t doing enough to prepare to receive the direction from the Lord that you were so desperately in need of? That about sums how I was feeling. I share this experience as a testament that the Lord can help us overcome our doubts when it comes to increasing our capacity and ability to hear Him.
Let’s dive back into the evening after receiving that phone call.
My husband and I would be meeting with the bishop the next morning and if those feelings of anxiety kept up I knew I wouldn’t get a wink of sleep. So I took a deep breath and said a prayer. I prayed for the faith to accept the calling if it was the Lord’s will. I prayed to be able to sleep and have an increased capacity to hear the Spirit and know what to do. I asked for confirmation regarding previous decisions, and I counseled with my Heavenly Father as I poured out my concerns about my ability to take on anything more.
The next thought that crossed my mind surprised me.
If the call is extended, I think I’m going to turn it down.
I’d never turned down a calling, but as I entertained the thought I experienced a peace that was impossible to ignore.
In his “Hope of Israel” devotional address, President Russell M Nelson said,
“When you know your life is being directed by God, regardless of the challenges and disappointments that may and will come, you will feel joy and peace.”
The peace and joy I was feeling in that moment helped me to know that I was allowing God to direct me in this choice and I slept easily that night.
The next day, my bishop stated the reason we were meeting was to discuss the possibility of extending me a calling. It was as I’d suspected. The peace and confidence in the decision I had made to turn down a calling remained as I shared my feelings and concerns. In the end, we all felt good about the decision to not extend me the calling.
Throwing his hands up in a shrug, my bishop turned to me and said, “Well, do you have any inclination as to why we might have been prompted to call you in?”
It was then that it hit me. This was all customized and orchestrated just for me!
“I believe this was all for me bishop,” I replied with a smile. “I think this was to help me increase my confidence in my ability to hear and understand the direction I receive through the Spirit.”
My bishop smiled as he exclaimed, “Isn’t it neat to know that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us so much that he would orchestrate something like this just for you to realize that!”
It is absolutely wonderful! At that moment I could feel heaven’s powers reaching out to give me a message. A message that we are known by a loving Heavenly Father who has a plan for our life. A message that we are known, matter, and have a part in that plan. A message that the Lord will find a way to reach us if we are having doubts about our ability to hear Him and receive direction to fulfill that part.
“As daughters of God we are each unique and different in our circumstances and experiences. And yet our part matters—because we matter.”Elaine S. Dalton, “We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father,” General Conference April 2013
Before we left, Bishop asked if I had any names that came to mind for the calling that I would no longer be extended to serve in. Perhaps I would think of someone that could help them be guided to know who else the Lord had in mind.
To that, I shared the name of the first sister that came to mind and had been on my mind since the night before.
“Wait, why did you mention her?” Bishop interrupted.
After my answer, he finished with, “If what we discussed earlier wasn’t enough to help you feel confident in your ability to trust that you have The Spirit with you, then I hope this will confirm it. The sister that you just named was called to be the new President that you would have served with.”
The words of a hymn describe my feelings at that moment perfectly,
“I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me…Oh it is wonderful, wonderful to me!”I Stand All Amazed
We are not just one of God’s many children, we are a beloved child whom He knows, sees, hears, and understands perfectly. Our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ know and love us so perfectly, that they will orchestrate and guide others to do things that can help us grow and know that we are on the right path.
Alana is a wife, podcaster, vlogger, storyteller, and life lesson enthusiast.
One of her favorite things is seeing others find joy in the progress of life.
Alana set out to define joy and its principles after years of being asked for her secret to being so happy despite difficult circumstances.
She went on to identify 7 Principles of Joy and started defining joy as: the peace felt as we recognize God’s hands in our life, acknowledge the progress we are making in becoming like Him, and find meaningful ways to uplift those around us.
You can often find Alana with her husband Sione. Together they explore the Pacific Northwest and share life lessons from their adventures on their YouTube channel, the Recounting Life Lessons podcast, and their blog: sioneandalana.com
Alana currently resides in Washington State, USA, but frequently visits Utah and Hawaii.