Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I can't decide

When I was about 20 or 21, I had a decision to make. A decision involving a boy. I had to decide to either pursue a relationship with him, and wait for him (despite the time, distance, and unsurety), or simply put, to not wait and pursue other things.
I have grown up a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have been taught ever since I can remember about prayer, and that God answers prays. I never had any real problem receiving answers before. And I thought this was no exception. I don't remember an absolute specific time asking the Lord if it was right to wait for him. But he was a good guy, a priesthood holder, a best friend of mine, that I truly loved at that point in my life. It seemed like an obvious answer- DUH, wait for him. He could be your eternal companion, yo!
So wait I did. And I waited faithfully. I remember my mom saying she was worried that I was missing out on opportunities because of him, but I staunchly denied that and recommitted to my patience, and my waiting, thinking FOR SURE I was doing the right thing.
When he returned home, I thought, THIS was it. I really felt like my prayers were answered. I remember sitting next to him the day after he got back as we were eating dinner with his family, and without my asking for it, I just received SUCH a strong impression that I was sitting next to my future husband. It was such a peaceful and happy feeling, and I was sure that it was a very clear confirmation that I had chosen correctly- that I had followed the Lord's will in waiting for him, that it was right.
Fast forward 4 months to me collapsing on the stairs in my house sobbing uncontrollably, feeling literally broken from the inside out. This boy had chosen not to be with me. I had been wrong in waiting.
I'm not trying to turn this into a pity fest or a sob story, but it serves as a necessary background to what I've been thinking a lot about ever since that day, every time I make a decision- and there have been a LOT of big decisions since that time in my life. I have struggled since that day to come to grips with my choice.

Did I really make the right choice? 
Was the Lord telling me no all along and I just ignored Him?
Had I really received the answer I thought I had to that prayer?And if I did- WHY had it turned out that way? 
Why was I left with nothing? 
Why didn't it turn out like it was 'supposed' to?
 Did he receive the same answer I did and just chose differently? 
Or was it me that had received an answer and chosen differently? 

I had prayed so much, exercised so much faith, put in so much trust and hope and work. Needless to say, that experience absolutely bewildered me and shook me to the core. I didn't know if Heavenly Father really answered prayers anymore. I didn't think He heard me. I didn't have faith in the process of prayer anymore.
Since then, in the almost 5 years since that happened, I have been haunted by that experience more than I have realized. It took me years to realize how little trust I had in getting answers to prayers anymore. I thought as my heart healed, and as I regained my faith that had been broken, that the whole answers to prayer thing would just heal too. But every time I have had to make life decisions, it haunts me, and it has taken me all this time to REALLY come to grips with it.
I was talking to my mom on the phone about a big decision I have in my life right now. And she said to me 
"McKenzie, you need to trust. You trust the Lord, which is wonderful and right, but you need to trust YOURSELF too."
It hit me, hard. I don't trust myself when I make decisions, even when I am prayerful about them. Which I am, ALL the time. I never make a big decision without the Lord. But even when I feel like He has given me a "yes," I doubt it. In the back of my mind I think back to the "yes" I thought I had gotten before, and how horribly that turned out. And it paralyzes me. And I doubt my decision. Even with a feeling of "yes" from the Lord it truly is rare for me to feel ALL IN about something. I analyze it OH so much. I take away the peace that should be mine. I have so much anxiety.

But, it is teaching me so much. Even as I write this I am getting clarity. I truly believe that those years ago, I did get a yes. Why wouldn't it have been? That was the ideal. If that boy had acted according to correct principles, and not out of fear, and been the man he was supposed to be, there was every reason in the world we would have been wonderful together if he had kept choosing the right. It could have been a yes.

But that's just it. You can't force people. God doesn't force people. He doesn't make you choose the right, even if it effects someone else's life- like his choice effected and even changed mine. I learned a very crucial and difficult lesson because of that. It may not have been fair, BUT it was what I needed.  

And now, I see that it is for the best that the whole situation with him turned out the way it did. And I am grateful that because of that experience, I have changed 1000%. Most of the time I feel like I don't even know that girl from those years ago. 
I may still have lingering doubts and difficulties with receiving answers to prayers but it comes down to this-
All of them. Every single last one.
Whether it is with a yes
not now
or silence for a time.
Prayers ARE answered. Because He loves us. Absolutely and perfectly. He wants to lead and guide and help and answer. Our part is to decide, to pray,and to move forward TRUSTING that He will answer in one way, at one time or another. That NO MATTER WHAT IT WILL BE OKAY. No matter how it turns out. 
Hold to hope, pray unceasingly, & trust in His will, timing, and plan.

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