By Guest Blogger Emma
We’ve all been down that path. You know, the one where we are feeling so down on ourselves because nothing seems to be going right. Everything seems to being going exactly opposite of what’s planned and we can’t see anything but the negative.
Sometimes we fail. That’s life. Often times when we’re not successful we look back and start throwing out the “Would-a, could-a, should-a’s.” We start asking ourselves what we could have or should have done better in order to succeed. Maybe you were cut at tryouts for the basketball team. Maybe you didn’t get the job you applied for or didn’t place in your competition. Whatever it is, just because you fail to succeed at something doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
In fact, if you have ever been in one of these situations, I congratulate you. You are now an official member of the “I-failed-and-have-learned-something-from-it-so-I’m-going-to-move-on-and-keep-trying” club. Because you have failed, you have really succeeded in many ways. First, you learned something from the experience, whether it be how to do something better or simply how to deal with disappointment. You’ve gained a better understanding of yourself, your abilities, your strengths and your weaknesses. Second, you’ve learned that because you didn’t get what you wanted, Father in Heaven has something even better waiting for you. God only wants us to be happy and He would never take something we wanted away from us unless it was for our own good or to replace it with something better.
When I was nearing the end of my freshman year in high school, many new opportunities began to open up for me. In my school district 9th grade is still a part of middle school so becoming a sophomore and advancing to the high school was a pretty big deal. Finally I would be able to participate in all the many fun things I had only heard about but not yet had the chance to experience. This year would also hold many changes for me as this would be the year that I was able to start dating, driving and obtain a part-time job. I looked forward to this year with much excitement and as I learned more and more about the opportunities for various activities within the school. I began to apply for countless clubs, committees, productions and ensembles. I was looking to have the most fun possible. In the past I had been an Student Body Officer, Dance Company President, and maintained a good GPA. Surely I would be able to get in to most of the clubs I applied for. I campaigned and prepared my skit hoping to become a Class Officer only to find out I was not elected. I auditioned for the Dance Company twice and was turned away because I wasn’t what they were looking for. I submitted applications for many other clubs and my inbox began to pile up with emails saying I hadn’t made any of them. I was so frustrated at this point. I began to be a little bitter with Father in Heaven asking him, “Why would you limit me like this? You’ve blessed me with all these talents, why aren’t you letting me use them?” I had one last application to turn in. With this application for yearbook staff came a lot of prayer and pleading. “Please Father in Heaven, I want to be involved in something this year.” I patiently waited for weeks until my online schedule became available. I was so nervous as I clicked through the various windows trying to see if I’d been accepted on to the yearbook staff. During all of the waiting I had a prayer in my heart. I was extremely anxious as I clicked the last window only to find that I had not made yearbook staff. I was furious. I was mad at everything. Mad at myself for not being good enough for anything, mad at my parents for telling I could do it when really I couldn’t, and mad at my Father in Heaven for not helping me when I needed it.
It took me a few days before I got out of the funk I was in. I realized how childish my anger was and I went before my Father in Heaven and asked for forgiveness. I realized I had been so caught up in my own pity that I wasn’t able to be receptive to the comforting assurance of the Spirit. As soon as I knelt by my bedside and opened my prayer I felt an overwhelming amount of love from my Father in Heaven. I hadn’t even said a word and yet I knew that he was there listening and that he truly loved me and cared about me. He may not have cared about these clubs but because it mattered to me it mattered to Him.
I was overcome with peace and I knew that everything was going to work out, I just had to be patient. I remember him saying “Emma, yes I have blessed you with these talents for a purpose. You may not know why yet, but I have a plan and you need to trust me.” These words brought such a sense of clarity to my mind. I was no longer bitter about my failures. I accepted them as small speed bumps on this road called the transition between schools.
I went about my summer having a great time then one day I had a feeling to check my online scheduler again. I did and sure enough, I had made yearbook staff after all. I had misunderstood directions on where to look to see if I had made it the first time I checked. I felt rather foolish as I went to my parents and celebrated followed by an immediate prayer of thanks. As I began my sophomore year even more opportunities came about, I joined DECA, FBLA, Kindness Crew, and SuperFan club. In addition I’ve been able to play powderpuff football and perform in the school musical. If I would have made all the things I had tried out for over the summer, I wouldn’t have had time to do all these other things that have proven to help me meet new people and have more fun than I ever thought possible. The Lord really does have a plan. We just need to trust Him.
It’s okay to be disappointed and upset but life is a lot more enjoyable when you swallow your pride and just let things happen as He sees fit. Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “The issue for us is trusting God enough to trust also His timing. If we can truly believe He has our welfare at heart, may we not let His plans unfold as He thinks best?” I know that God loves us and would never challenge us with anything we couldn’t handle. All it takes is faith in Him and His timing for terrific things to happen. After all, it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.
Whenever I’m in one of these situations where I’m lacking the faith I need, I always seem to come back to the scripture found in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” What a relief it is to know that if we try our very best and give 100%, the Lord has all things in His hands. He is listening to your prayers. He may not answer them how or when you would expect, but if you have faith in His timing everything will work out. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, also of the Quorum of the twelve apostles said, “The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith means trust—trust in God’s will, trust in His way of doing things, and trust in His timetable. We should not try to impose our timetable on His. We cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in the Lord’s will and in the Lord’s timing.”
I know that if we find faith in times of failure, we will be made stronger and the Lord will be able to lift us up and guide us to where we need to be. I know He has a very individualized plan for each of us and if we follow this plan, we will find ourselves doing what is going to bring us the most happiness in the end.
So next time you’re self-doubting or are unsure, maybe even mad that something didn’t go the way you wanted it to, say a prayer. Don’t be afraid to ask for comfort and the faith to trust in Him and all that He has in store for you. When you find that faith, hold on to it and amazing things will happen.