As a professional writer and a Type 8 enneagram (controlling, assertive, confident, confrontational), I really love being in charge of my own story. I love making lists and plans and making discoveries for myself. The narrative I (and most others, presumably) have invented for my life includes a happy family situation, financial success, physical health for me and those I love, and minimal hardship or heartache. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go according to our plans.
When this happens, my controlling nature leads me to react. I want to regroup, ask why, change strategy, and move forward in a timely manner. It may seem like I’m adapting well to life’s curveballs, but I’m actually just grasping at control.
Years ago, my husband and I were ready to add another baby to our family, but every time I thought or talked about it, I had some hesitation. I took my decision to the temple, and in true 8 fashion, I didn’t ask what God wanted for me. Rather, I informed Heavenly Father what my plans were. “I’m going to get pregnant. If it’s not the right thing for our family, let me know.” I sat in the temple feeling “stupor of thought” over this decision. I didn’t have any strong impressions in either direction, and I was starting to feel confused. The Spirit spoke to my heart and suggested I genuinely ask whether my decision was also God’s decision, and prepare to align my own will and plans to God’s. I rephrased my communication with Him. “Is this the right time to add a child to our family?”
I was flooded with a feeling of warmth. The answer in my heart was a loving but firm “No.” This was obviously not the answer I wanted or expected. I burst into tears and cried quietly in my seat until the session was over. Looking back, I don’t know why the answer at that time was no, but I suspect it was an exercise in relinquishing control, in letting Christ author my story. Months later, we did get pregnant, and we felt without question that it was right that we had waited.
In other situations, if something hasn’t gone according to my mortal narrative, I’ve felt cheated. I felt like someone ripped beautiful pages from the story I was writing. Have you felt this? It couldn’t be further from the truth. Your future is unwritten. Those pages are blank. When we project our own plans onto those pages, we’re scribbling in pencil over what Christ will write in ink.
Turn the page with curiosity and openness. Ask questions you don’t already know the answers to, and be ready and humble enough to follow His will over your own. Watch His hand scroll a beautiful story, and be mesmerized by the grace and beauty that unfolds. You are the main character, but you are not the author. Hand over the pencil.
Read the full talk by Sister Camille N. Johnson HERE.
My Creator and Savior is in control. I align my will to His.
Take some time this Sabbath to consider how Christ is the Author. New Year’s is the perfect time to reassess your future.
In a journal or on a piece of paper, write down plans and goals you once held for your future. If you write goals each year, take a look at the past few years’ worth of goals. Record your thoughts as you compare your goals to what actually happened. How did Christ author your story differently than you had imagined? Where did things change? Where did you change? How did these changes affect and benefit you?
For an additional exercise, write down the plans and goals you have for your future. Include anything relating to career, family, health, habits, spirituality, education, etc. On another page, make some notes about how Christ might steer you in a different direction. How can you prepare for possible changes?