I believe that every time we transition to a new stage of life, whether that is leaving high school to begin college, or leaving college to go on a mission, or returning home from that mission, or getting married, or having a baby, or just growing old - some things always accompany us. One) Fear of the unknown. It is difficult to embark on a journey not really knowing what to expect because you have never experienced anything like it before. An 18 year old teenager can't even comprehend what it will be like to leave home and family, to live in a foreign place, to interact with and learn to love people they've just barely met. From personal experience I know there is a lot of fear associated with it. So how do we combat this fear of the unknown?
Elder Anderson said, "Fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time." Elder Ballard, "Remove any of your fear with faith. Trust the power of God to guide you." Elder Cook, "We must live by faith, not by fear."
The answer is clear - FAITH. Faith will enable us to overcome our fears of the unknown. I know that faith can light the way as we travel into the unfamiliar. Sometimes we may feel like doubting, our faith may be weak, we may be distracted or unsure but I can promise that when we strive to center our lives on the Savior, have faith in Him. He will be you anchor. Today in stake conference one of the speakers said, "There is no more precious friend than the Savior." I pray that each of us will cling to this fact. There is no one who has fought for you like He did and does still. There is no one who loves you more. There is no one who knows more personally how you feel. There is no one who can help you more than the Savior. HAVE FAITH IN THAT and I promise your fears will be hushed.
Two) Another companion to transition is loneliness. I can honestly say that the past few months since I have been home and moved up to school have been some of the loneliest of my life. However, I wouldn't trade the struggles I am facing for the world. Sometimes I even wish that I had experienced them earlier in life because one thing is certain, they have strengthened my desire to help others and given me the empathy to do so. I think I would have been a better missionary - thankfully I can start now. Loneliness is a feeling like no other, it seems like it's just you against the world and there is no one to back you up. Indeed we ARE never alone but sometimes it really feels like it no matter what we do to remember there are people there. As I have thought and prayed about this loneliness I have discovered something interesting. If you feel lonely, REACH OUT. There are people who love you, they may be far away or unaware but I promise they are there. Talk to them. The light of Christ provides us all with the innate desire to help. To me it's clear that when I think of myself I am miserable so I'm working hard to think of someone else in those moments. And again, most importantly, remember this - "THERE IS NO MORE PRECIOUS FRIEND THAN THE SAVIOR" He is there. He is your best friend. Say a prayer and you'll feel Him there.
I want to thank the people who have helped me remember this, who have listened as I've cried, who have reached out and reminded me that they are here, that they love me and that God has a plan. You people are the ones that are saving me.
Three) The last thing I want to talk about for now..learning or in my case, re-learning, the importance of patience. Through these transitions we face a lot of uncomfortable growing pains, we wonder if everything is going to work out. Are we where God wants us to be? Are we going to succeed? What should I study? Who am I going to marry? When will I not be lonely and afraid? For me the answer to all of these questions is "BE PATIENT." I was reminded by a missionary who I love very much that, "These trials are only temporary. Our Savior will never let us break. You will be stretched to the point of breaking, but I know for 100% certainty, HE WILL NOT LET US BREAK." In Doctrine and Covenants 67:13 the Lord teaches us "Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now...wherefore continue in patience until ye are perfected." We can find answers, we can become perfect - all in time. We must trust in the Lord, rely on Him and never forget that HE KNOWS YOU.
Be patient. Every day remember, "there is no more precious friend than the Savior." I do know that to be true.
THESE are the PEOPLE that make life so much SWEETER.