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When We Don’t Know How to Move Forward

It’s hard to move forward sometimes when we don’t always know what to move forward with. And yes or no questions are tricky in prayers. We can easily and unconsciously stay standing with no progress for a long time trying to detect if it was a yes or no that we’re getting in return. Am I only hearing yes because it’s what I want to hear? Is it me or the Spirit? And then we go back and forth and back and forth, and then we end up just stuck.

Sometimes He doesn’t always tell us what is right, but it’s a promise to us that He will ALWAYS tell us what’s wrong.

Sometimes we just need to pick and move forward. Sometimes the worst thing we can do is simply stay in the same spot making no progress—that’s Satan’s way. Sometimes the fastest way to progress and move onward and upward is to just pick and move forward and see what falls in or out of our lives. Like the popular Mormon Message with Elder Holland about the wrong roads, where a man and his son both felt they should go one way when they reached a fork in the road, only to find out it was a dead end—so then they corrected course and knew they were steadily going in the right direction. Even if we do choose a wrong path, He will always tell us, and then we can more quickly correct course and move forward, onward and upward. 

I think of the analogy of the man on the side of the road with a busted car. Who will God help faster? Someone who is praying and pleading for help? Or someone who says a prayer and then opens the hood and starts tinkering? Probably the second one. Because the second one is moving and working and making it easier for God to help him. How can He move us in the right direction if we aren’t in motion? He can, but that version is the longer version.

Sometimes He asks us to do the problem solving and bring our solution to Him. I think of Ether 2, when the brother of Jared had to figure out what they were going to do so that they wouldn’t spend 344 days on the water in complete darkness. He didn’t postpone his original answer to build the barges. He didn’t sit still, waiting for an answer to fall in his lap. He kept moving forward and gave God something to work with. It was the brother of Jared who came up with the stone idea, and Heavenly Father magnified it and off they went!43 I think of Nephi when his and his brother’s bows broke. Laman and Lemuel took the slow approach and retreated in their efforts. They talked and complained and thought a lot about their situation and how unwanted it was. Nephi on the other hand, kept moving. Maybe he knew that it is easier for God to redirect us if we are already in motion. Nephi problem solved with a sling and stones, brought that to the Lord and inquired of Him, and then God directed his course and Nephi slayed wild beasts. When he returned, Laman and Lemuel had made no progress, and there they were, standing still. 

Are we being productive in our hard times? Are we open to new opportunities? Are we listening? Are we moving forward and bringing something to the Lord? Or are we still on the side of the road with a broken car, hoping someone else will drive by with a solution? Are we allowing the adversary to win simply by standing still? Because if there’s one thing I know about Satan, it’s that he will do anything that simply keeps us from taking even one step closer to what God wants us to be doing. Are we moving?

Sometimes He wants us to make the decisions ourselves. Sometimes what’s most important is making sure we’re practicing agency, because if He were to tell us every little move and answer for us, it would make everything we fought for against Satan and his plan to go down in vain & we’ll be living a version the adversary presented.

It may be tempting to focus on the hard and the hurt and the confusing & the unwanted, but if we keep going and if we look, we will find God with His arms wide open in the new, in the unexpected, in the confusion, in the silence, in the problem solving and in the motion. If we continue to move forward knowing that God will always tell us when something is not right, then we will live a life that continues to blossom and we will see God and His hand and His trust and His better ways to the better things.  xoxAL

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