I was recently watching a video of a little girl telling the story of Jonah so poignantly. She was emphasizing how Jonah was scared by what the Lord had asked him to do.
I started reflecting on my life, to see if I had a Jonah moment — and I realized I did! However, let’s clarify; I was not swallowed by a whale. Just had to clear that up. My experience was much more like Doctrine & Covenants 121:38, which reads: “Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks . . . and to fight against God.”
When I was in college, there came a time I needed to transfer to complete my four-year degree. I had been attending a two-year school at the encouragement of my uncle who was a professor there. When I talked to the guidance councilor, he suggested a school in Utah (SUU) because it had an excellent program I was considering.
I did not want to go to Utah. Utah had too many members of the Church. It was the last place on Earth I knew my mother would want me to be, and I had many biases that led me to want to be as far from that place as possible. But when the councilor handed me the pamphlet for SUU, a warm feeling I knew as the Spirit of God washed over me. I knew in that moment the Lord wanted me at SUU.
It was an awful moment.
Much like Jonah, I decided to delay listening to the Lord. I graduated and instead of heading to SUU, I decided to delay a semester. I found a job and stayed in my apartment… And then things started going wrong. The tensions among my close-knit group of friends kept mounting. It got so bad I remember having a shouting match with my best friend on a deserted street in the middle of a heavy snow storm.
Things at my job got worse too. And within two weeks, (after dragging my feet for months on end) I found myself unemployed, without a boyfriend, and seriously upset with almost everyone I knew. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the Lord will not be ignored. He had a plan for me that included my move to the dreaded state of Utah. And I was like a mule, stubbornly kicking against the pricks.
The term “kicking against the pricks” brings an image to my mind. I see someone angrily lashing out at sharp thistles or splintered wood. They are beating themselves up in the process of trying to damage something that isn’t going to notice their efforts. Sadly, I was like Jonah because I hid from the mission the Lord had in mind for me. I kicked against that plan like somehow my will was more important, like my plans were stronger than the Lord. I was an idiot.
God Opens Doors
Thankfully the minute I snapped out of my short-sighted determination to do my own thing — the minute I started making plans to get to SUU — the doors started opening. The Lord opened up my way and made the transition smooth. Everything happened faster than I thought possible! And the obstacles and hedges I felt in my life cleared away. It was like a door opened in a stifling room and the cool outside air brought the relief my heart needed so badly.
Why am I telling you this story, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. We all have times in our lives when our will and the Lord’s will aren’t in total alignment. Sometimes He wants us to go and do while we just want to sit and rest. We have all felt the frustration when our plans aren’t working out as we had hoped and things keep blocking our path. So I ask you to stop in those moments and ask yourself if there is something you are missing.
My moment of confirmation that I was supposed to go to SUU was intense — but things aren’t always so clear. So if you are feeling your way “hedged up” or you are feeling the frustration of “kicking against the pricks,” maybe the Lord has another route for you to take. The good news is that He wants all His ways to be clear. So all we need to do is ask Him what is next and He will show us. He is wonderful that way. He wants to bless us and help us become the best people we can be. And He has a plan.
Find Your Courage
I encourage you to stop and look around. Take a moment to feel what your heart is saying. Listen for that little whispered thought that you may have been ignoring. Sometimes it is drastically different. Sometimes it is what you have known deep down all along. But it will always be a relief to understand. And it will always be accompanied by a feeling of rightness and calm and peace.
I finally got myself to SUU and found that so many blessings had literally been waiting for me. If I hadn’t been so foolish, I could have claimed them months earlier. But the important thing is that I finally did what I needed to do. I got to be where I needed to be — and I had some of the greatest times of my life! It set me on a path that blessed the rest of my life, and I’d never trade it for the world.
I know that you will never regret following the plan the Lord has set for you. The peace I feel when I’m aligned with the Lord is irreplaceable.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.