Have you ever noticed that vehicles tend to do the thing you weren’t expecting when you didn’t need it to happen? They’re kind of like goals – they work fine when your not thinking about it or trying to accomplish something important, but they can seemingly fail when it is most inconvenient. I don’t think I have ever had a convenient car repair. Our main vehicles are both over 15 years old with over 200k miles. With high miles, you expect that vehicles will have some wear and tear repairs at some point. In actuality, we live in denial and repairs come as a surprise!
Expect Things to Happen When You’re Not Expecting Things to Happen
Several weeks ago we got into our car and headed off down the road. As the car moved faster, it started making a new noise. I started looking around, moving my head back and forth trying to reposition myself to figure out where the sound is coming from. Is it coming from the front? From the back? Which side is it on? Can I feel my seat vibrating or is that my imagination now? Surely I don’t look any more ridiculous than someone on Bluetooth who looks like they are arguing with themselves.
It was a loud hum that increased in pitch and volume as the car moved faster. Since YouTube is cheaper than a mechanic, I went in search of a diagnosis. For the most part, that was about as helpful as trying to use Google to diagnose an illness. The possibilities ranged from a simple fix to really bad news. Hoping for something cheap and simple, I checked the exhaust system for leaks. I found a leak on a component that was replaced last year, so I headed to the mechanic who had done the previous work.
On the way, the car began making another grinding noise. In the realm of automobiles, grinding is never a good thing. And a leaky exhaust doesn’t grind. So I headed in with hopes of a leaking exhaust and left with new rear bearings. The problem and the cost definitely weren’t what I had planned for but at least the car runs great now!
In the process of all of this our second vehicle began flashing the oil warning light. The diagnosis for that is low/bad oil, a bad sensor or a failing oil pump. Engines need oil to run and if a pump fails while driving, that could necessitate a new engine. Hopefully we get that one figured out before an engine breaks.
While vehicle repairs can be frustrating, the cost makes it feel more personal. We had just set a goal to pay off some debt a week or two before and the moment we had begun to pay that down, we incurred a new cost. Do your financial goals ever go that way? The minute you make a step in the right direction with your goal, you are forced to take ten steps back.
Don’t Quit After a Setback
Goals are important. They are important enough that the new youth program in our church is completely centered around teaching the youth how to set and attain goals. They give direction to us progressive beings. We can become depressed when we don’t have something we are working towards or growing in. We are supposed to be learning and moving.
Trying to achieve a goal can be frustrating if you don’t what to do or how to do it. Many of us have a fear of failing. We want to quit when we have tried a few things that don’t work out. This past week, I received some insight into these feelings that can dominate my day when I am trying to accomplish something.
In a recent “Don’t Miss This” video, they explained how Nephi and his brothers went two times to Laban and asked for the plates in the only ways they could think of to get them. Both times they not only were told “NO!” but they were chased out of the city and people tried to kill them. When Nephi went the third time, he had no idea how to get the plates and every step was new and different. Many of the steps didn’t make sense if he only analyzed each individual step and not the goal as a whole.
If I were him, I probably would have asked:
“Why am I heading back into the city where Laban wants to kill me?”
“How will me waiting in the dark get the brass plates?”
“How will looking at his sword help me get the plates?”
But it all eventually came together to achieve the goal. I have read this story hundreds of times, but I don’t think I have ever compared my own feelings to it. Would you have continued to achieve the goal after failing and losing all of your wealth in the process? Would you have gone back to the guy who was ready to kill you to achieve a goal?
Have you ever said any of these?:
“Why did we buy this house? Everything is falling apart! We thought it was the right thing to do!”
“I thought moving would be the right thing for my kids, but they seem to be struggling even more.”
“We just can’t catch a break…our family keeps getting sick.”
“I keep trying to get out of debt, but something always comes up.”
“We are doing everything we can, but our kid just won’t listen.”
“When I pray about what we are doing, it feels right. So why isn’t it working?”
We have heard statements like these and have said some of them ourselves. Sometimes when things don’t go our way, we struggle to see the end goal or even want to continue. But when the move to do something different felt right and everything seems to fall apart, I think God is trying to tell us to let Him show us.
Learn to Trust
There are times that each of us will be required to rely on Him because nothing we can do works. There are times when He will ask things of us that won’t make sense and life may even seem to contradict. But in each of those times, He is asking you to hold on and trust.
This may require you to change the prayers and the pleading. Ask to see His hand in your life. Ask for the gift of belief. Persist in gaining an understanding.
Nephi and his brother had exhausted their means and abilities to accomplish their goal. Instead of giving up like Laman and Lemuel, Nephi was taken to a place of complete faith and trust and was willing to move forward and act. We all must at some point walk down a similar path.
Sheri Dew said:
“If you’re serious about sanctification, you can expect to experience heart-wrenching moments that try your faith, your endurance, and our patience.”
Your goal may be small or it may be big. This may be the 100th time you have set out to achieve it and you still don’t know how you will do it. You may set out for success and be met with setbacks. But we have to learn to place more trust in Him.
And don’t ever forget the promise, “Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.”