It’s the same in Every. Single. Movie.
Really, though. Every fairy-tale, every so-called “girl-power” chick flick. They all seem to end in exactly the same way: with the swoon-worthy guy at the end. Minus, you know, Disney’s Brave. But that’s one’s an outlier, because last time I checked, way more movies revolve around the perfect kiss rather than (spoiler alert!) the heroine’s mom turning into a bear. But please, correct me if I’m wrong.
The girl-meets-boy and they live happily every after story is great in its own way. It’s idyllic: you find someone that you love, someone who is good and kind, someone who is “the right person.” But do you ever think that maybe we spend a little too much time fantasizing about our “right person” instead of pouring our energy into being the right person?
Shifting Our Focus
When I was about 12, I remember watching John Bytheway’s “Standards Night Live” DVD. In it, he said something to the effect of, “You can’t expect to have a Celestial marriage without first being a Celestial person.”
My 12-year-old brain immediately conjured up images of me in a wedding dress holding onto the arm of my middle-school crush before it realized the significance of this statement. I recognized for what was likely the first time in my life that I couldn’t expect to find a Celestial husband if I wasn’t trying my hardest to be a Celestial person.
Fast forward several years though and I was way more than ready to find my Celestial person. Because I wasn’t dramatic whatsoever, my rants to my mother were filled with “Why don’t any of the guys I like ask me out?” and “I swear that everybody else in the world has found someone except for me!”
Then my mom suggested a completely novel idea to me: “Don’t worry so much about finding the right person. Worry about being the right person.”
That advice is something that has always stayed with me, because at the end of the day, I can’t control anything other than me.
Yes, a lot of things are out of our control. It’s not always up to us whether or not we get asked out a lot. I certainly couldn’t control whether every boy I had a crush on was head-over-heels for me. Movies often make it look like it’s the easiest thing in the world to to meet someone and fall in love and ride off into the sunset, when in reality its not that easy by a long shot, not for most of us.
But while life may not be full of poisonous apples or spindles or princes that can fight off dragons and still have perfectly coiffed hair, it is full of choices. We don’t have control over everything, but Heavenly Father has given us the gift to choose who we become.
Being the best you that you know how to be is the greatest gift that you can give to Heavenly Father. Of course He rejoices when we do find someone righteous to love and marry, but I don’t believe it’s nearly as important to Him as who we are and who we are trying to become.
And the amazing thing about it is that in trying to be better, you’re giving yourself the best gift you can, too —as well as your future spouse, your children, your primary kids, your siblings or simply anyone with whom you interact.
I wish I could say all of us are going to get married, but I can’t say that and I’m not going to pretend like that’s true. It’s not and I know that’s scary, but there’s beauty in knowing that being a Celestial person transcends our lives here-and-now and is going to affect our eternity. Being a Celestial person isn’t just about this life. It’s about forever.
Submitting Our Will
I remember everyone always telling me, “You’ll find someone once you stop looking.” And while I understand the sentiment, I think it’s kind of impossible. I think it’s possible to realize that yes, it will happen in Heavenly Father’s time. But it’s also really difficult to cast off the greatest desire of your heart like it’s nothing. It’s hard to stop looking when getting married or having a family is what you yearn for so much.
But maybe, just maybe, while you’re trying to wait as patiently as you can, you need to focus more on finding you than on finding your spouse. Rather than constantly looking for the perfect person, you can focus on looking for ways to grow closer to your Savior. Because when we do — when we look toward the Savior and try every day to seek for His will instead of our own — everything falls into place.
That is something that I can absolutely, 100% promise. I can’t promise that we’ll all meet the perfect spouse, settle down in a country cottage and have four kids, a dog, and a white picket fence, but I can confidently promise that when we strive to let the Savior’s will become the dominant force in our lives, everything becomes aligned.
That doesn’t mean, however, that as soon as you try turning your will over to the Lord, the clouds will part and your spouse will be dropped down from Heaven like you’ve just won the prize from a claw machine.
What it does mean is that you will grow in patience. You will be happy with your life, regardless of whether you love all of the circumstances surrounding you. Remember how the people of Alma, when they were in bondage, were still a happy people?
Mosiah 24:15 records, “[Y]ea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.”
Because the people of Alma turned their will to the will of the Lord, they were able to be cheerful. They were able to have joy. Does that mean that they were like, “Yes, bondage rocks! #1 Fans of Enslavement!” Uh, no. Definitely not. What we learn from this scripture is that even in the midst of trials and struggles, we can find joy. We can be happy while we wait for the desires of our hearts to be fulfilled.
In the eternal scheme of things, I believe that Heavenly Father wants us to remember that His plan for us — the reason He even placed us here on this Earth — isn’t all about finding the “right person.” Nope. It’s all about learning to be the right person.
This post was originally published on Third Hour in 2016. Minor changes have been made.
Amy Carpenter is the site manager and editor for LDSBlogs.com. She served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Denver, Colorado, where she learned to love mountains and despise snow. She has a passion for peanut butter, dancing badly, and most of all, the gospel.