This summer has been magical and fantastically perfect, but it is quickly fading. Just the other day I went in to register for my senior year and it has given me a lot to think about.
First, I thought about my past self. How on earth did I get to be who I am? Really, I am so blessed. When I look back at who I was in kindergarten or even as a sophomore I can't remember who I was. It feels like those separate and past versions of me are strangers, and I wish that I could crawl back through time and slap them around a bit to knock some sense in them. I think about how different I could have turned out if I made different decisions at key points of my life. I guess that as I get older, I will feel similarly to how I am right now -- maybe even more so -- and I welcome it! If anything, this time of transition and being a "big girl" has given me a glimpse at how eternal everything in this life is. It's all about perspective, right?
Second, I thought about how difficult my senior year is going to be. I have straight AP classes and classes that are required with Journalism being my one respite for the day. I am going to have to be hyper-organized and on top of it, basically the opposite of what I have been doing for the past fifteen months. It kind of stresses me out to think about it now, but as I was registering, I felt completely peaceful and I just knew that it was the right thing to do! Plus, I found this article that gave me much needed encouragement and guidance. I especially loved President Monson's insight, “My young brothers and sisters, don’t take counsel of your fears. Don’t say to yourselves, ‘I’m not wise enough, or I can’t apply myself sufficiently well to study this difficult subject or in this difficult field, so I shall choose the easier way.’ I plead with you to tax your talent, and our Heavenly Father will make you equal to those decisions.” It seemed to be just for me!
Third, I thought about my life and the direction I am headed. On Saturday night, my sister and I stayed up late to see the meteor shower that happens annually (which was an incredible experience! I will spare you the sound clips of Savannah and I talking because every time I would see a meteor, I would squeal incredibly loud and would wake the whole neighborhood -- but that's a different story). After, we settled in and watched The Swan Princess. While the movie was rolling, I found myself thinking about my purpose in life. It's a classic question, "What did I come here to accomplish?" and I thought I had answered it already. But as I thought about it, the question would not leave my mind. I don't know what I am going to major in or who I am going to marry or even what I am going to be wearing the next day! What on earth could God have in store for me, individually? I decided to take my question to the Lord, figuring that the time I spent praying a studying would be a pretty good investment of my time. After all, this is my WHOLE LIFE we're talking about.
When I woke up to go to Church the next morning, I reminded Heavenly Father of what I wanted to learn throughout the course of the day and then went to church expecting to be edified. Incredibly enough, I was! The talks were about living life with purpose, our Sunday School lesson was about trusting in the Lord during times of conflict ... it all seemed to whisper to me that Heavenly Father was mindful of my request and if I would listen, he would be willing to answer. With my mind fully alert, I expected our Young Women's lesson to carry the same theme, but we're on a strange nutrition track for the month. Immediately, I began to close my heart to the principles that I felt like I had heard 1000 times. I still listened and participated, of course, but I wasn't really expecting to receive anymore guidance for my life. One of the last things that my Laurel adviser said really struck me, though! She pointed to the Word of Wisdom that Heavenly Father set forth long before there were nutritionists dedicated to fight obesity and all things unhealthy. She then pointed to the things that said nutritionists stated were part of a balanced diet. They were the same. She then said that Heavenly Father knows what we need long before we learn it for ourselves.
I went home with that thought and studied and studied talks and other scriptures, but I felt like I wasn't finding answers. Surely with that much study I would have been inspired as to the general direction my life was supposed to take! As I was reading I felt like I should read through some scriptures a few more times and I flipped open to Proverbs 3. This chapter of the Bible is near and dear to my heart because my EFY group from 2011 was named after it. It really became a rallying point for me this year as I had to make big decisions on my own. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart," it beckoned. I shook my head in disbelief and read it again. "Lean not unto thine own understanding," it called. "In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths." I finally began to understand, and I felt like I needed to write it all down.
I wasn't asking in prayer to know what major I needed to focus on in college. I wasn't asking to know who I was going to marry. I was asking to know what my purpose in life was so that I could go out and do it. My experiences of the day seemed to shout, "You don't need to know EVERYTHING right now! You know just enough to rely on the Lord." I guess what I learned was that one of the purposes of my life is to hand it over to the Lord -- and then watch in awe as he makes so much more of it than I ever could. Even though I am terrified of becoming an adult and having to make educated choices that will determine the rest of my life, it comforts me to know that through it all I have a Heavenly Father that loves me and has known what I have needed and who I have needed to become long before I have ever wondered about it.
I was studying for our Sunday School lesson next week (the stripling warriors! Hubbahubba!) and there was one quote that I read and LOVED! Ezra Taft Benson said, "Yes, men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that he can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life to God will find he has eternal life." I know that this is true and I am so excited to see it unfold in my life!