Those of us who are Christian often talk about how we trust God to help us through our lives, but sometimes we forget to act like we trust Him. Recently, I had an opportunity to be reminded that in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, faith is an action word.
Early this spring, we decided to move closer to my husband’s work, since his commute is very long. We wanted to move into our new home before it got cold. Finding a house to rent was my job and I went to work on it. I set a goal to pack everything I wouldn’t need before the move, in order to simplify the whole moving process.
I started out with great enthusiasm. I went through my kitchen and gave some of my supplies to my son, who lived on his own; threw out the ones that weren’t worth giving away; and found new homes for other items. Finally, I packed the remaining items in the room I didn’t foresee needing. I packed a few other things at the same time. However, I soon discovered that finding a house in the price range we had set for ourselves that met all our needs—or even just the critical ones—was not going to be easy. My husband’s office was in a more expensive area. The Holy Ghost vetoed two houses we looked at and liked. I quickly became discouraged and stopped packing.
I faithfully searched for homes several times a day and we visited a number of them. Our patient agent helped me find places to examine and even tried to talk landlords into accepting our rescue cat. I continued to not pack.
Then, about the time I was getting desperate, since summer was coming to an end and yet another perfect house was closed to us due to having a cat, I read an article by LDSBlog’s own Ashley Dewey. Ashley writes on living life as a single adult. This particular article was called “The Power of Goals.”
I started to think about my goal to get much of the house packed early. As I wandered through the house, I saw I hadn’t done a very good job of it. I went to sleep that night thinking about Ashley’s article and my neglected goal.
The next morning I got up and read the article again. Once again, I looked around the house and saw that I was not living up to my commitment to myself.
Why not? We had talked to God about this move, and we and God were in agreement that it was a good thing to do. I had asked Him to help me find the right house and felt that He had agreed to do so. So why, then, was I acting as though I didn’t trust Him to do what He had promised to do? By not packing, I was acting like I thought the move wasn’t going to happen. I remembered a conversation I’d had with a friend a few years ago in which we talked about how important it was to show God we trusted Him. It was time for me to act on that conversation.
Chastened, I got up and found one of the bins we were using for packing. I began gathering decorations, which I certainly didn’t need, and wrapping them. When the bin was full, I returned to my computer. I opened up the website I was using to find a home and found nothing new. I then opened the file of houses I had saved, but had never gone to see. There were four houses in the file and all were in the same town. I wondered if God was trying to tell me that town was where he wanted us. I eliminated two of the houses by reading the ads more carefully, but asked our agent to make appointments to see the other two.
He told us one was only a short-term rental, which we didn’t want, so we reluctantly set out to view the remaining home. The ad didn’t have any interior pictures and had very little information, leading me to presume it was an awful house. However, as we drove through beautiful wooded lands and then farmlands that bordered the neighborhood, we felt at home. After viewing the house from the outside and realizing it was nicer than the picture, we spent the next hour before our appointment checking out the area.
When we returned and met our agent, we walked into the house and I caught my breath. The home was beautiful, with the pale yellow walls I love in homes. It had a large and appealing kitchen, and we loved everything about the house. When the men went outside to examine the shed, I sat on the stairs and did my usual potential home test. I pictured us going through our day in the house. I was able to do it and to feel happy with the vision—something that had been lacking from previous home visits.
We are now getting ready to move into that home. Because I didn’t keep up with my goal, it is a real scramble. I am paying the price for my choices. However, I’m taking with me a valuable reminder: If I trust God—really trust Him—I need to act like it. Ashley wrote, in the article that reminded me to show God I trusted Him, “We may not know what tomorrow will bring, but we need to take control of the things we do have a say in.” I couldn’t make the house or town (or perhaps the church congregation) God wanted me to be in become available sooner, but I could go ahead and get ready so that when it was available, God could show us where it was.
While I don’t usually get such quick results to changing my behavior, I have been reminded that when God and I work together, everything works better. Faith really is an action word.
This article was originally published in August 2014. Minor changes have been made.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.