When I was 18, I saved money to go on a trip to Europe. This started my thirst for seeing new lands and people. I loved what this short trip instilled in me-there are so many people and places out there! Soon after, I lived in China for a few months. Talk about a life-changing experience. It’s hard to put into words all that I learned-but I went home with a much greater love for home and family. As well as a desire to see everything, everywhere. I thought for sure I would live all over the place for the rest of my life. A few years later I met my awesome husband. I knew he was the one I would be with forever. I would share with him my dreams of travel and seeing the world. He would say, “the true voyage of discovery is not in seeing new lands but in seeing through new eyes.” And I would think, “Ya, ya, ya-ok so really, let’s go see the world.” His “seeing through new eyes” sounded nice and all, but what about how much I learn and grow being in a totally new culture? It’s just not the same living in the same place for years surrounded by familiarity.
With this hunger for adventure, sometimes an exciting opportunity arises-and initially I say yes and try to move forward to make it happen. But at times I get a funny feeling-that stupor of thought mentioned in the scriptures. I have often tried to push through the funny feeling and do it anyway-this ALWAYS ends in regret. I recall getting this feeling before taking a family trip to San Diego years ago with our little ones. We flew there. The trip was so awful and hard that we left early and drove home. It was a disaster.
I had this stupor of thought occur before I met my husband and was dating a guy I thought I would marry. He seemed great and I couldn’t see any reason not to stay with him-I could only see why it seemed like a great idea. Then I thought I should pray about it. As I knelt down-I wasn’t even on my knees yet-and the funny feeling came. I couldn’t deny it-but I sure tried to. For months I tried to ignore it until I couldn’t any longer. I was heart broken-but I finally understood we weren’t supposed to be together and moved on. The next year I met my husband-and woohoo!! Everything made sense. Me and the other guy I dated were supposed to marry other people-there was someone else that would be better for both of us. Meeting and marrying my husband was a very unique and almost sacred experience that I will treasure forever. And I thanked Heavenly Father over and over (and still do!) for the “stupor of thought” that saved me for my husband.
I am learning to listen to the Spirit-which is to follow God and His beautiful plan for me. If I knew how it all would turn out-where would the faith be? When I fail to listen-I am filled with regret. As I’m learning to listen and follow-I am filled with blessings! My cup totally runneth over. I am learning that God isn’t punishing me for failing to listen to the promptings. There are consequences for failing to listen to God-He can’t help me if I don’t listen and follow. Oh how he wants to bless me, but I need to stop and listen to the funny feelings and stupors that arise-as well as the comfort and peace that comes when I’m doing something that I should. He can fill my life with peace and love, but I have to let go of my plans. I sometimes learn the hard way and say, “oh this is why I felt funny about it…” I want more of, “I don’t understand it all now, but I know this is the way to go…”
Sometimes the reason why isn’t clear. I mistakenly look at my situation and worry how this would look if I say yes or no to something and what would others think. Often the Spirit is telling me to do just the opposite of what would “make sense” to others or what would the “charitable” thing be. When I follow my heart and what the Spirit is telling me, sometimes I say “no, I can’t do that right now.” When I’m involved with something I should be doing, life just seems to flow in that direction. I offer something or step in here and there and don’t think twice about it-it just feels right so I don’t think much of it. This is the Spirit with me, leading me along. When I live by the Spirit like this, I learn to have compassion for others and what is right for them in their life. I learn that we all have different paths and gifts and the greatest blessings and fulfilling the measure of each of our creation is best done by following the Spirit in our lives.
I still LOVE adventures-but my idea of what’s an adventure has been evolving. The other day, I was talking to a family that lived thousands of miles away and they were describing what they love about living far away. They told me how their street is filled with seven different families they love hanging out with-all members of different religions. They went on about how great life is out there and all they’re learning-being in an environment where living their religion is truly a part of their everyday life. I started to envy. That feeling started coming on that makes me wonder why I have to live in the same state I’ve grown up in my whole life and why can’t I live all over the world? Then the Spirit spoke to my heart. I know we are where we need to be. Their family across the country, and mine where we’ve been for years. I was impressed with the thought of all the growth and learning God has been giving me-how I am seeing things so differently despite all my physical surroundings being the same. I’m finally seeing with new eyes and I don’t have to go to new lands! Like the hymn says, “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord.” Even if it’s right here where I’ve been all along! I’m learning that it’s a myth to think my surroundings have to be different for me to be happy. I am finding the greatest adventure is right here where the Lord leads me along-no longer having my own idea and plans, but trusting in His adventure for me.