I didn’t tell anyone about these thoughts. In fact, this may be the first time some of my family will have heard about them. But what I did do was started praying, really praying. I told my Heavenly Father that if He could just tell me what I should do, I would do it. I wouldn’t be passive aggressive anymore. If He would tell me how I should be running my life from this point onward, and assure me that it wouldn’t fail, then I would jump in full-force into whatever it was.
But He declined to do so.
He didn’t tell me what I should do. He didn’t tell me I wouldn’t fail. I never really questioned the existence of God, I knew He was there and He was declining to help me the way I wanted, and like any mature child, I threw a tantrum and told him how much I hated him for it. Didn’t He realize how serious this had become? How could He have create me and leave me without a plan, a way to be happy? After so many years of being “good,” why was He so useless in return?
That was when my answer and my current relationship with God formed. He loved me, so He would never take the role I offered him and dictate my life. He knew I never would be happy if I continued to let other people and circumstances tell me what I should be doing. And then I told him my real fear, that if I went after what I really wanted that I would fail, and somehow that would be worse than failing at something I didn’t want.
That was what my decision to become a nurse really was based on, it was the “smart,” “safe” choice to me because I could fail and it didn’t matter in the same emotional way one of my more passionate desires would. Or at least it wasn’t supposed to. Now I had failed, and it mattered.
How could I keep trying, even something I really wanted, knowing that I wouldn’t succeed? If I put in my full effort and allowed myself to want something desperately, wouldn’t that make the failure greater? The depression worse?
But that was the thing. There wasn’t a “worse.” I was already considering my own death.
Then I found a scripture I memorized as a high school student in seminary while being a very good girl. It comes from the Book of Mormon if you are unfamiliar:
And if you come unto me, I will show unto, you your weakness. I give unto men weakness that they might be humble and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before for me. For if, they humble themselves before me and have faith in me then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
When I first memorized that scripture apart from its context, I assumed that it meant that if I prayed and had enough faith, God had the power to remove any weakness or imperfect I had. But as I started to read the full chapter this time I realized that this was God speaking to one of his prophets after Moroni expressed a fear. He said in essence, “God I am not strong in writing. I have precious things I want to share, but I’m worried that people will only mock what I have struggled so hard to give to them.”
I write novels. I had people be critical and struggled to share them. In a moment, I felt I knew exactly what Moroni was talking about. And when I had those doubts, friends often would swoop in to say “Oh, don’t worry. You’re so good!” But I never believed them.
God doesn’t do that.
He says “Fools WILL mock.” He agrees with Moroni! “Yes! Your writing kind of sucks and some people will mock it. But that shouldn’t be your concern. I am not going to make writing easier for you or make your audience more receptive. I just want you to show faith and write what you have to share anyway.”
That is when I looked at the scripture I had memorized differently. God was saying he recognized that we all have weaknesses. He put them there on purpose and intends for us to live good lives anyway, even if those weaknesses never go away. And when we are humble with our weaknesses, when we ask for help from God and others, we will be stronger and happier having formed those connections then we would be as superhuman beings all alone.
Weaknesses force us to find God and others who can help us and that is why they are an asset, a strength.
When I prayed for God to plan out my next steps in life so I wouldn’t fail, the only answer I got was that He didn’t care if I failed. He wasn’t going to choose for me or bubble wrap a perfect path for me. He wanted me to make my own plan and try something hard, even if I failed. And if I really was trying, I couldn’t fail, not in his eyes. In that moment, I learned life wasn’t about what other people thought about me or the outward results I achieved—all the ways I thought I was failing and thought I would continue to fail. It was about intentions and efforts and putting one small step in front of the other to be a little better each day.