Tuesday, November 4, 2014

When God Says You're Done, You're Done.

This post is personal. It has a lot of personal experiences. One about my love life, one about my career(s)... I'll tell you that right off the bat, so you're not shocked later in your read. :)

I believe in God. I believe in prayer. I feel like I have a good relationship with God. I know that He knows who I am. I know that He knows me by name. He cares about how I feel.

I've learned a lot over my 21 years of life. One of those things being that you don't learn everything you need to learn at church. I know those teachers do their best, but there are just some things that cannot be taught. One of those things is receiving answers to prayers. Part of the reason this is so difficult is because each of us is different. We are more or less sensitive to what God is telling us. We may receive our answers in different ways.

In my church, we're always taught to ask God to help us with big decisions. He'll let us know which way is right, right? Part of the issue with this was that I didn't know how that answer would be formed. I couldn't tell you how many times I heard, "You'll have a very warm feeling if what you're asking for is correct." What the heck does that even mean?? A warm feeling? I'm always really cold. I hardly ever feel warm. My fingers and toes are freezing as we speak.

Let me tell you, I don't think I've ever had a "warm feeling" in answer to a prayer.

And we can't forget the infamous "Open your scriptures to a random page and your answer will be glaring at you."

Sure, it may have worked for others. It may have even worked for you. But for me, no.

I want to share with you a few personal experiences, like I stated before, that I took to God to receive an answer.

The first that stands out the most in my mind happened while my husband Chris was serving a mission in Italy. He'd been out for over a year, and the time was getting closer and closer to his arrival back home. Before he left, we'd decided that we would get married when he got back. We were absolutely sure that we were meant for each other. We were soul mates. In high school we were voted "Most likely to marry their high school sweetheart," and a bunch of 18-year-olds are totally a reasonable source of information. (Well, that was sarcastic, but Chris & I getting married is actually what happened. Hahahaha.) Anyway, we were in the single digits of months left until he arrived home. And I remember the day perfectly when I about had a panic attack while walking back to my apartment from campus. The realization that there were only 9 months left about killed me.

I was having a pretty tough semester. I started it with 21 credits, and ended up dropping one of my courses because I was too overwhelmed. For an annoying do-gooder perfectionist like myself, I about lost it. I couldn't drop a class! That's what quitters do!

I'm here to tell you that college is hard. Maybe not just the physical aspects, but the emotional and mental aspects as well! I was drained.

Anyway, the semester was off to a rough start. I remember being strung thin. I snapped at my roommate quite a few times. We cried together and laughed together. I cry a lot anyway, but this semester was a huge cry fest all the freakin' time.

Then one night I remember telling her that Chris was coming home in nine months. She was so excited. She always talked about how perfect we were for each other. (Mind you, she hadn't met Chris, but she liked him because I liked him. She was a good support system.) Then I told her that I was having second thoughts. I didn't know that this was the right thing. Well, she being the awesome person she was said something along the lines of, "You need to do what makes you happy." I wasn't sure what that was though. What was going to make me happy? Was Chris going to make me happy? What if he got home and he was "different" like everyone else said, or "didn't like me anymore because the mission changed him." (Special thanks to everyone that said that to me.) So I prayed.

I feel like sometimes I'm a bit needy and sometimes I beat around the bush. But I remember this prayer like it was yesterday. I said, "Heavenly Father. I have no idea what I'm doing anymore. I am so stressed out. I'm tired of school, and I'm tired of life. On top of all of that, I don't even know if the person that I've loved for the past 8 years of my life is even supposed to be my husband. Please tell me what to do."

So I waited for the "warm feeling." I got nothing but an impression that I needed to make a decision first. I'd always heard that one too. And this one is a good piece of advice that I will pass along because I do know that this helped me a great deal. Make your decision first. You've been given the agency to choose. God wants you to use it. I decided. I said, "Lord, I am going to date other people. Is this the right decision?" I got a "Sure, Haley! Sounds like a good idea to me."

I took that answer as, "Yes, date other people because Chris isn't the right one for you."

So date other people I did. For one whole week. I lasted a week and thought I might die. I was upset and angry. I was mad at myself, and I was mad at God. One kid thought it was a good idea to kiss me. So he did. (It was COMPLETELY unexpected. We'd known each other for a while but I thought I'd made it very clear that we were friends only.) And I was so angry. But I didn't want to hurt his feelings. Though at now at that moment I wish I would've slapped him across the face and stomped on his foot and then spit in his mouth. I was livid. To this day it's still a tender topic, and I don't ever bring it up, and I've suppressed the memory so well that it may as well have never happened. I was angry then, but I let it carry on because I didn't want to be mean. I didn't want to hurt his feelings. So I kept fighting through thinking, "I made the right decision to date other people. God told me I did, so I need to keep dating." I couldn't I just couldn't do it. I was depressed everyday. I was even MORE sad and MORE upset than I had been during that time period.

You can't date someone (or marry someone for that matter) because you "don't want to hurt their feelings." If it's not right, END IT. Get rid of them. Kick them to the curb. Ok... Sorry. You don't need to be mean, but you do need to move on. If it's not right, go. Leave. Get outta town.

So after that you can imagine what my prayer sounded like that. "I THOUGHT YOU SAID THIS WAS RIGHT?! I THOUGHT YOU SAID CHRIS WAS NOT FOR ME! I RUINED EVERYTHING! I RUINED IT! CHRIS WAS THE ONLY PERSON I EVER KISSED AND (INSERT HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED HERE) RUINED IT. I'M RUINED. WHY??? WHY DID YOU TELL ME THAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO DATE OTHER PEOPLE, AND THAT IT WAS OK FOR ME TO TELL PEOPLE THAT I WAS NOW DATING???"

I imagined God calmly sitting there listening to me scream and yell and throw my stuff around the room. Then I had this thought come to my mind, "Is this not what you wanted? Is this not what you asked for? You got your answer, did you not?"

He was right. He always is. I did have my answer. I KNEW without a second of doubt in my mind that Chris was mine. And I was his. We would get married. I was 100% positive.

During this whole experience (literally less than 2 weeks long. I figured things out very quickly), I was still writing Chris. He knew what was going on. He wasn't too pleased, and there was not much he could do from half-way around the world. But I believe he had faith in God. He knew God would tell me what I needed to hear. I apologized profusely. I felt like I ruined everything. But Chris, being the wonderful man he is, said, "I'm not bitter. I know you needed this experience, and I'm here to support you." It took a just a little while, but we were back to our normal selves pretty shortly after. Back to being Chris&Haley.

I'm a long story-teller. I've also learned that over the years. I never really realized until I started writing things down. Journaling, blogging, writing letters to Chris. They're all LONG. But, carrying on. If you've made it this far, I'll warn you that there's one more story. I'll try to make it shorter, but I can't make any promises.

My second experience was more recent. I've been doing traffic control for road construction every summer since I was 14 years old. My dad runs a business out of Idaho Falls and the company travels all over the state of Idaho. Yes, I'm the one that holds the stop sign.

This past summer (2014) Chris and I were doing road construction together in Bliss, Idaho. It was only an hour commute from Boise, so we were able to head home each night after work. As the summer went on, I felt more and more opposed to road work. I kept thinking, "Where am I going? Am I going to be doing this for the rest of my life?" I kept wanting to explore other options that had a little more potential. So I started praying about it.

Pause for another lesson I've learned about prayers. When I am praying about a decision, my answers usually occur in the amount of future potential I see in each choice. I'll explain in a minute.

As I was looking for something other than road work to do, I decided I wanted to try my hand at real estate. I had obtained my real estate license back when I had just turned 19. I took courses during my "off-trimester" of college, and licensed during that same time. I was hoping to use it to help out my mom and the team that she worked for in Idaho Falls. I didn't really do anything with it though, and continued to pursue my bachelor's degree.

So, back to 2014, with this licensure under my belt, I went job searching. I wanted to work on a team, mainly because I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I would fail if I tried by myself. I just wasn't aggressive enough. I submitted my résumé to two teams in the area. I heard back from one of them a couple days later, and I was invited to interview with her. I knew from the first interview that I wanted to work with her. She was fun and positive and a real go-getter. I knew she would be a great motivator. However, the interview process lasted about 4 weeks. There were many personality tests and other questions I had to answer. But, by the last interview, she offered me a spot on her team! I was so excited. She gave me a couple days to think it over and talk about it with Chris. I also talked it over with God.

With this experience, I felt positively about the job. I felt excited, and I saw so much future potential! I knew that this was what I was supposed to do. So I accepted.

Here's what I mean about the future potential being an answer to a prayer. In my first experience, I saw no future potential when I started trying to date other people. Everyone that asked me out, I kept thinking, "Oh, I can't wait to tell Chris about this. *eye roll*" Chris always crept back into my head. We were still writing each other and her knew what was going on. I saw dead ends with every single person that asked me out. I wanted to run and hide from them and never talk to them again. I wanted to crawl under a rock and die there. When I finally knew that I was supposed to be with Chris, it was like I saw the gates of heaven opening. *Cue singing angels.* No, really. I saw our entire future laid out before me. I saw how happy I would be. I saw such a positive outcome.

So maybe you're like me. Maybe you don't get a warm feeling, and you keep thinking, "Where in the world is this 'warm feeling' so I can know what to do?" Try making your decision first. See how you feel about it. Can you see the potential with one but not the other. I found that one decision made me squirm a little, and when I finally changed my mind I felt immediate relief.

With the second experience, the lesson I learned was a little different. I saw the potential with this career. I saw myself working for 4 or 5 years, then having a child, and maybe I'd continue, maybe I wouldn't. But the point being, I saw YEARS of the future laid out before me.

However, a couple months in, I started to get that little squirmy feeling. I'd shove it aside and say, "Uh uh. This is happening. I am doing this, and I am not going to give up. I've been here for only a couple months. Only a loser would quit now!"

Well, the job was 100% commission based, and I will be candid with you right now. In the 3-4 months that I worked there, I made $699.58. Split between, let's say 3, months, that's a little over $233 a month. That is not a lot. That was one commission check. I loved that job so much though. I couldn't bear the thought of leaving. I kept fighting the squirmies for about 2 months. Then one day, I prayed to God to give me the courage to keep going. To not quit. I wasn't a quitter. I wasn't a loser. I couldn't quit my job after only 4 months. I told everyone on Facebook about it. I kept posting about how much I loved it. It would be totally embarrassing to be "THAT person" that jumped from job to job. I tried my very hardest. But the way that this team was set up made it very, very difficult for me to earn an income. I received 25% of a 3% commission. So the check that I received for $699.58 was one commission check off of the sale of a home that was $145,000. This team just wasn't busy enough to keep me busy. To keep an income flowing. I knew that road construction for Chris was ending quickly, and soon we would be without any flowing income. I had to earn money, and I quickly saw the future potential for this job becoming more and more of a dead end.

Here is the lesson I learned from this. Well, a few lessons.

One, situations change.

Two, if the answer to a prayer is "Yes" it doesn't mean "Yes, this experience will turn out exactly how you imagine it to." This one has taken me a long time to learn. Just because it's the right decision, does not mean that it will continue to be the right one forever. God was telling me that I was done. I learned what I needed to learn. I didn't need to continue. I needed to move on and learn another thing. I cannot tell you how much I learned from those 4 months in real estate. I learned things that I will remember for the rest of my life. Things that will HELP me for the rest of my life. I learned so much more than market statistics and home features.

And the last thing I learned is to never judge a person. I've known this one for a long time. And it's one that I work very hard on. I would hope that no one thought, "Oh she quit her job. She can't make a decision. She has no idea what she's doing with her life. She's failing. She should just get a "normal" job. She needs to stop trying to sell things. Why hasn't she had any kids? Blah, blah, blah." You never know the whole story. You just don't. So I've learned that, because I'd love the courtesy and support from others in ANYTHING I do, I give that same courtesy and support TO others. I know how hard it is to be a person. Being a human is tough work. You've got to get up every single morning and DO stuff. Hard stuff. Stuff you want to do, and stuff you don't want to do. And on top of doing stuff, some of you may have trials and hardships that no one really understands. But, again, I know God is out there. I know he knows what will make you a better person. When he says you're done, you're done. You don't need to keep fighting for something that you need to move on from. Life is all about learning and growing, about becoming a stronger, kinder person. Pray. Pray often. Ask for help. Ask for support. Ask for guidance. Remember that answers come in many different ways. It's not always the warm feeling. And no one can really tell you how YOU receive answers. It's something you'll learn for yourself.

I hope that this was not just a huge ramble fest. I hope I was able to help even just one person. Thanks for making it this far...




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