Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When Things Don't Work Out

About three years ago I wrote an important journal entry. I had just finished my freshman year at BYU, and certain things were not turning out as I had hoped or expected. Instead of moving on, I let myself stay hung up on those things, convinced that my unmet expectations were right and that somehow things could be set straight again.

I was wrong. I learned the hard way that wallowing in things outside of my control is pointless—it only breeds unhappiness and prolongs heartbreak, ultimately stunting the growth and progress that overcoming challenges brings. I wrote this journal entry in a time of self-doubt. But in doing so I found peace and began to learn a valuable lesson: things don't work out for a reason, and often they pave the way for something better. But in that moment—and in all difficult moments—I could not possibly fathom a better circumstance than what I'd convinced myself was best. But since then I have learned to apply this principle to my life, even when it seems hopeless. I have faith that things will work out in the way that is best for me and that things will get better if I muster the confidence to move forward and adjust my expectations when necessary. And since then, I am able to look back and understand how much I have grown when things don't work out, and how those seemingly unimaginable better things have always come my way.

I have referred back to that journal entry several times since I wrote it and I am amazed at how much my faith, strength, sense of self, and perspective continue to flourish because of those realizations. Here is an excerpt:

"Despite my inherent faith that everything is ultimately for the best, when things don't turn out as hoped or expected, it's frustrating. It's disappointing. It's confusing. But what's the point of letting the bad stick around and taint the good that inevitably still exists and is to come? Human nature demands that satisfaction is a product of things working out according to our efforts and expectations. Divine nature, however, is truly in our favor—it demands that certain things shatter our narrow, temporal perspectives in pursuit of what we really deserve.

Things are inevitable, but we do learn from them and ultimately move far past the unsavory parts. The lingering sting will fade in the wake of better things for which we are now better prepared. In the meantime, my willingness to let my confidence and faith in rightness will smother out that itching feeling of wrongness

And the best part? Looking forward to the moment of finding out how things—good, bad, and everything in between—really are for the best. Because isn't that moment inevitable, too?"

In retrospect I can see obviously why those things that plagued me as a freshman didn't work out as planned. I have learned through experience to never let my faith and confidence—in myself, in the future, and in God—be weakened by my limited perspective and things outside my control. I have learned that hard things are transformative and beautiful. I have learned the importance of disappointment and being forced outside my comfort zone. Even though I still can't explain everything that happens, I know that at some point, I will understand the greater purpose of all things. And I know that, with the help of my ever-growing faith and confidence, I can always press forward until then.

by Emily Snow
WSR Designer
emilymaudesnow.blogspot.com

Quote is from "When Good Plans Don't Work Out" by Stephanie J. Burns (July 2012 Ensign)

1 comment:

Pam said...

These are beautiful, wise, and thoughtful words. A couple of the stand-out lines for me were: "Divine nature, however, is truly in our favor—it demands that certain things shatter our narrow, temporal perspectives in pursuit of what we really deserve."

As well as these words....

"And I know that, with the help of my ever-growing faith and confidence, I can always press forward until then" (i.e., until the time comes when you will understand the greater purpose of all things).

Thank you for this wonderful post!

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