Sunday, September 14, 2008

Curve Balls

Lately I've been thinking a lot about some of the decisions I've made that have brought me to this point. This time of life is an especially interesting time in terms of making big choices that will direct you and put you in a position that will ultimately determine where you end up. Over the past 5 or 6 years I've made a lot of decisions that have been really hard to make; ones that have required a lot of prayer, effort and most definitely faith; and many of the huge choices I've made, I fear, have not been given enough thought or prayer. Maybe some of you can relate; maybe some of you have had to choose between two very different options and you've wondered from time to time if you really chose the thing that God intended you to choose; maybe you've wondered if you really prayed or listened well enough and really got on the path of choices that Heavenly Father ultimately wanted for you.

We believe so much in the church that Heavenly Father has this very individualized path that he wants each of us to follow so that we can be the most happy people possible and we make the decisions along the way that keep us on that path or take us to another. Problem is, it's so easy to feel that with our imperfect lives and thousands of imperfect choices, we've totally derailed from the original plan. But God, being perfect, I believe really is the best at handling curve balls. And instead of saying once we've made our first mistake, "well you, my friend, did not follow my perfect blueprint. You're on you own now!" He completely restructures how we need to progress in order to become the happiest we can be, always according to the most current circumstances, whether they're ideal or not.

The trick is differentiating between the ultimate goal and the positive steps toward that goal. Heavenly Father may want us to go to church one Sunday instead of a football game but that doesn't mean that that's His ultimate goal for us. His ultimate goal may instead be for us to raise families in the gospel, learn from trials, and return to Him--and going to church is a way that He can help us reach that goal. So if we make the wrong choice, that doesn't mean the ultimate goal, the most important thing, is out of the question; it simply means that under current circumstances, Heavenly Father will have something He wants us to do in order to best reach toward that goal. And the more we come to realize all of this, the more we'll want to take the in-between steps that He encourages us to take.

So in light of all that, it's really useless to whine and worry about the choices we've made, wondering and stressing about whether or not we've completely derailed from the perfect path our Father had perfectly created for us; it's because those choices are really irrelevant once they've been made. Instead of trying desperately to validate our decisions in order to save ourselves an ounce of pride, I think it's probably much more helpful to ask Heavenly Father what he would have us do now, according to our most current circumstances, to reach toward the ultimate goals He has for us.

I suppose that despite all the tricks, traps and trials we encounter, each one completely individualized with the greatest potential to do the greatest damage to each of our souls, it's vital to really try to grasp the eternal picture; often we say that those who have an eternal thinking mindset don't care about their trials anymore. I don't think that's true. I do believe that the more eternal thinking we can be, the more we understand the point of our trials even if sometimes that point is nothing more than to strengthen without callousing; that effect being entirely up to us. And the more and more we push onward and use every ounce of energy we have or borrow to try to understand the what and how of the trials we face with every intention of using those answers to make ourselves and our families better, the less we'll worry about the why and when. And then we've mastered the curve balls~


  1. Excellent insight, Eli!

    I had a good lesson on this almost 3 years ago. Kasey and I were struggling with the decision we had made to move to Minnesota. A very wise bishop counseled us that the Lord does not have every decision laid out for us. We are free to make our own decisions and the Lord has use of our talents wherever WE decide to go. That little bit of wisdom has gone a long way in comforting me when I think I've "fallen off the chosen path."

    I think as long as we are faithful and striving to do His will, the little details don't matter so much.

  2. We've all had to make those big decisions. When making the choice to adopt from Ukraine, knowing it would be hard, I sometimes second-guessed myself and thought "did I REALLY feel impressed to do this?"

    One thing that helped greatly is when a neighbor and friend recommended this talk to me. I've got it in .mp3, email me if you want a copy of it.

    "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence" JEFFREY R. HOLLAND

    This is an EXCELLENT talk about how we have to make decisions and how we need to go forward in faith once we KNOW it is the right thing to do, despite obstacles and feelings of inadequacy.

  3. What a great post. It's something I've thought a lot about also. It's easy to second guess yourself and your decisions. It's comforting to think that even if the wrong decision is made, we don't have to lose hope.

  4. This was a great blog. F in H really doesn't weigh in on many of the choices we make from a temporal point of view. His major concern is the eternal choices we make each day. The real question becomes, Have I grown closer to my Savior and strenthened my testimony of him and his atonemnt through the choices I make. Keep up the good work. Dad

  5. For clarification, my dad's name is not Cathie. He just doesn't have his own google ID. :)

  6. You may think it's odd that I'm commenting on this post from so long ago, but I have an explanation. I discovered your blog a few months ago, and have become completely addicted; I'm reading all of your posts starting with the most current, and working my way back.

    This post is so perfect for my situation. I really appreciate your insight; thanks for posting this. (:

  7. Hey Anon, that's what I'm doing to. Did you know that the church is adding social media missionary work now? Eli, you still make a good missionary using your blogging skills. You've helped me in more ways than you could possible know. Did you start to delete your early posts? I can't find the one about the All Seeing Eye?

    1. I have not been deleting any posts, although it's possible that I should! The First Eye post can be found here: