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Don’t Give Up. Give It To God!

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Have you ever had those moments when all you wanted to do was give up? Like all seemed lost and hopeless and there was nothing else that you could do except maybe curl up in your bed and forget that it all even happened?

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You’re not the only one.

About a month before the end of my 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I all-of-a-sudden felt EXHAUSTED! Investigators were canceling appointments right and left. We weren’t getting any baptisms. No one wanted to talk to us when we went tracting. And I missed my family terribly! I was so discouraged that I felt like packing up my bags, leaving early, and giving up.

That very morning I was reading in the Old Testament in Numbers 32. Moses and the people were finishing up their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness after being freed from Egypt. Their travels were almost over. They were just east of Jordan—the Promised Land was in sight. Yet the tribes of Gad and Reuben looked at the land around them and said,

“Let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan” (Numbers 32:5).

In other words: “This looks good enough. We’ll take this land. We don’t need to go into the Promised Land.”

My first reaction when I read that was, “What? Are you kidding me?!? You’re almost there! Why would you quit now?!? It’s the Promised Land after all! It’s worth it!”

Sure, they would have to go to war. Sure they might have some casualties. But they had the Lord on their side. Therefore, they were sure to prevail!

My chastising thoughts toward Gad and Reuben were interrupted by my own realization. I was just like them. I was almost at the end of my mission—the end was in sight—and yet I just wanted to give up because my first 17 months were tiring. I looked at my mission and tried to tell myself, “Yeah, you did well enough. No one could blame you for going home now.”

But I was so close! The blessings were there waiting for me at the end of 18 months. Was I willing to give those up because I was tired? Because things were slow? Because I missed my family?

That day I determined to finish my mission with all of my might, mind, and strength. I was determined to be able to say the words of Paul: “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6-7). After all, I had the Lord on my side.

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My decorated planner during my last transfer on my mission. It was to inspire me to keep going!

 

There is a difference between giving up and giving it to God.

While I was ready to just cast my mission to the side and give it up, God was ready and waiting for me to give it to Him instead. He invites us: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). His promise is this: “And it shall come to pass in that day that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing” (2 Nephi 20:27).

Once I gave my tiredness, discouragement, fear, and missing my family to the Lord, I felt like my burden was lightened. I trusted Him with all of those things, and He renewed my strength and lifted me up (Isaiah 40:31). So much so that I finished my mission with enthusiasm and had much success along the way!

An amazing family I had the opportunity to meet and teach because I stayed on my mission!

An amazing family I had the opportunity to meet and teach because I stayed on my mission!

Turns out that staying on my mission the full 18 months was the best thing I could have ever done! When I returned home from my mission, I met my future husband 2 months later at a Young Single Adult Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Had I returned sooner, my plan was to move to Utah. I would have missed him!

So if you’re feeling tired, lonely, discouraged, hopeless, don’t give up! Instead, tell the Lord everything that is going on and all that you are feeling. Then give it to Him. He will strengthen you and lift you so you can finish the task that is set before you!

 

Weakness: A Thorn in the Flesh or a Precious Gift?

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When Jonas is given the responsibility of becoming the new Receiver in his dystopian society in the book The Giver, the Chief Elder openly admits that his training will involve pain—physical pain. And with each memory that the Giver bestows upon Jonas, he is either filled with increasing joy or increasing pain. And even though the Giver must give Jonas both the good and bad memories, Jonas comes to realize that the joy of the good are all-the-more sweet because of the pain of the bad.

You may not have realized it, but you also are a receiver. We each have a glorious Giver who loves us beyond measure, who wants the best for us, and who knows the best path we should take to find the most happiness.

In Ether 12:27, our Giver, Heavenly Father, tells us,

“I give unto men weakness.”

Our Heavenly Father, the one who loves us above all, gives us weakness…on purpose. And if something you receive from a giver is a gift, then I conclude that weaknesses are a gift from God.

Perhaps you’re thinking,

“Wait, what? I’d rather have a gift card to H&M wrapped up in that gift, not another batch of weaknesses to torment me!”

And Paul, an apostle in the New Testament who actively persecuted Christians before his conversion, would agree with you. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, he says,

“There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.”

How many times have you prayed for your weakness to be taken away?

“Lord, please take away my shyness.”

“I can’t stand to be dumb when it comes to math anymore!”

“I wish I could get rid of this ADHD!”

But perhaps we’re looking at weaknesses all wrong. If God has gracefully given us our weakness, then there is a glorious purpose.

Let’s say that you are struggling in math. You just can’t figure out the problems. It all seems Greek to you! So you decide to go to a math tutor to make sense of it all.

If you didn’t have that math weakness, would you ever visit a math tutor? Probably not.

In the same way, Heavenly Father is the tutor of weaknesses. If we didn’t have a weakness, would we feel the need to go to Him and ask for help as much?

When Paul took his weakness to God in 2 Corinthians 12:9, God tells Paul,

“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

In the Bible Dictionary, “grace” is defined as “divine help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ….It is…through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means.”

When our weaknesses show up and we feel defeated and weak, if we go to God, He takes over that weakness and shows His mighty strength through that very area and helps us to do things that we never thought we’d be able to do. And that’s an opportunity that we wouldn’t have—for God to work through us—if we were strong in everything that we do. In fact, we become stronger than we ever could on our own when go to God.

With this knowledge, Paul exclaimed,

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

So the next time you are feeling weak and tempted to feel down on yourself, remember that your weakness is a gift, and God is ready and willing to help you make that weakness into a glorious strength!

When You Are Experiencing a Trial…

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How many times have you felt like this?:

“This trial is too hard! I can’t do this! No one understands. I don’t think anyone in the whole world is struggling as much as I am right now.”

You think that your life is over or that you have nothing else to live for. You think that nobody can understand what you’re feeling or what you’re going through.

Well, guess what. You’re not the only one. The prophet Nephi said something similar:

“I was overcome because of my afflictions, for I considered that mine afflictions were great above all” (1 Nephi 15:5).

The Prophet! Even prophets have days like these! Even prophets go through trials and struggles.

What strikes me most about this scripture though is the fact that he didn’t give up. He didn’t sit on the floor and wallow in self-pity. He didn’t stay in bed all day. He didn’t watch sad chick flicks all day. He didn’t cut himself off from the world. Instead, it says that he “received strength” (1 Nephi 15:6).

Well, where did that strength come from? In 1 Nephi 15:15, he says, “Yea, at that day, will they not receive the strength and nourishment from the true vine?” So what is the true vine? John 15:5 tells us, “I [Jesus] am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Makes sense, right? If Jesus Christ is the vine, and we are the branches, but we cut ourselves off from Him, there is no way that we as dead branches can make fruit. We “can do nothing” as the scripture said. We would feel empty, unfulfilled, and cast off. However, when we as branches are attached to the vine or Jesus Christ, we can receive nourishment from Him—strength, comfort, and love—everything a girl needs when she’s feeling down. So how can you start receiving that nourishment? Get on your knees and pray. Crack open the scriptures and believe that you will read His words—His personal words—to you. If you do that, I can testify that He will speak to you. He will comfort you. He will not leave you comfortless (John 14:18).

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We all go through hard times in life. We will all have trials and struggles, but there is One ready and willing to help us…always. He “descended below them all” (D&C 122:8) in order to know how we feel and how to help us. So trust in Him. Trust that He can make things better—no matter how bleak the situation may seem. Because, remember, He was in the bleakest situation of all—He suffered and died on the cross—but from that situation, He brought forth the most glorious and amazing things—the resurrection and eternal life. God can take your trials and turn them to your good. You just have to give them to Him.

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