|Me writing my journal entry today.|
I’ve been receiving promptings to do some things that seem impossible to me, and I need to break through the walls of my limiting beliefs causing feelings of “I can’t do this.”
So for my scripture study today I feel prompted to make a list of scripture people who faced impossible odds where God helped them succeed anyway. This applies to a new calling, mission, baby, move, career, education, trial, prompting, anything that feels bigger than you and seems impossible.
I know that with God ALL THINGS are possible. NOTHING is impossible to Him. Nothing. Never. Ever. Period. The end. God is more powerful than EVERYTHING else. No matter how huge, intimidating, overwhelming, powerful, or impossible, God has more power than it.
So I am going to make my own faith-building list of times people were up against impossible odds and God made the impossible possible, God helped them succeed! I know I’ve made lists like this before, but so have I prayed before, gone to church before, and studied scriptures before. Making my own “remember lists” of some of the many times God has done this for others boosts my faith that God will help me do things right now that feel utterly impossible to me. I need that boost right now.
Since I’m teaching the Old Testament in seminary right now, I’ll start there. Then I’ll go back to myself.
Adam and Eve.
Holy cow, talk about impossible! No parents or other examples around to teach you how to live life outside the Garden of Eden, in the fallen world, how to grow your own food, kill and cook your own meat, how to be parents and raise children of your own, nothing. Yikes, that would be intimidating! Yet they turned to God and they succeeded!
Enoch felt totally overwhelmed and intimidated by his own insecurities and weaknesses when the Lord called him to preach. But he put his faith in the Lord’s power, and the Lord helped him succeed! Wowza, succeed so much that surrounded by great wickedness, Enoch’s city became perfect and was translated! I don’t think I can think of any succeeding that’s better than that. But Enoch didn’t start out that way. He went from telling the Lord when first called to preach something like, “I’m but a lad, all the people hate me, and I’m slow of speech” (see Moses 6:31) to Enoch’s faith being so great that when he spoke the earth trembled, mountains fled, rivers turned, and all nations feared because “so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him” (Moses 7:13). Wow, what a transformation.
What happened there? The Lord’s power made the impossible possible and helped Enoch succeed magnificently. The Lord’s answer to Enoch’s insecure response when first called to preach was, “No man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance. All flesh is in my hands” (Moses 6:32).
I wrote this next to Enoch in my scriptures by Moses 6:31: “Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies” (Thomas S. Monson, “Duty Calls,” Ensign, May 1996).
Noah. Oh my goodness, Noah.
Can you imagine a more impossible situation than THAT? Noah was told to build a boat, no a ship, no an ark. And not at the beach either. Not only that, Noah was commanded to gather all these animals – two of EVERY kind of animal. In fact, he wouldn’t be asked to gather them the normal way, by capturing them with cages, but by faith. He would need enough faith for the animals to come to HIM. Wow. And enough faith to endure the years and years of mockers, likely even his own brothers and sisters, cousins and friends as he built this gigantic ark. Then enough faith to walk into the ark and watch the Lord’s power shut the door, and listen while all those loved ones screamed and yelled, begging Noah to let them in so they wouldn’t drown. I can’t imagine how impossible every step of Noah’s journey must have seemed to him. The only way he could have done each step was that he knew God’s power was greater than his own. Greater than his own insecurity and intimidation, embarrassment from the mocking, greater than his own overwhelm and inadequacy from never having built an ark or gathered animals like that EVER. God’s power made the impossible possible, and Noah succeeded magnificently.
Moses. Talk about impossible!
Moses was another man who felt utterly inadequate at the impossible-looking job God gave him. Just imagine that you’re Moses. You know that hundreds of thousands of Israelites are slaves in Egypt where you used to live, and God tells you to go talk the king into freeing all those slaves who have been doing his manual labor for centuries. Neither group of people knew any different. It’s how it had always been. But God said it was time for a massive change.
I can only imagine how inadequate, insecure, and way too small Moses must have felt for that job. Moses’ response included the following: “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharoah, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:11)? “They will not believe me nor harken to my voice” (Exodus 4:1). “I am not eloquent... I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Then he basically asked the Lord to please send someone else (see Exodus 4:13).
Well the Lord, the amazing, perfect Lord that He is, had an answer for every one of Moses’ excuses, insecurities, roadblocks, walls, limiting beliefs that kept Moses thinking, “I can’t do this.” After each time Moses expressed a limiting belief about himself, the Lord had a perfect response. To Moses’ “Who am I that I should go unto Pharaoh?” the Lord responded with “Certainly I will be with thee” (Moses 3:12). When Moses complained, that the Pharaoh wouldn’t believe or follow him, the Lord’s power turned Moses’ rod into a snake, and then He turned Moses’ hand leprous for a moment. The Lord answered Moses’ complaint about a speech issue by giving him a spokesman. He knows how to overcome every weakness. He’s amazing like that.
The Lord needed to build Moses’ faith in this central theme that I see all the way through the scriptures, and I think that is on purpose because you and I need to hear it over and over and over again.
The theme is this.
God is more powerful than Pharaoh. God is more powerful than the whiny Israelites. God is more powerful than the Red Sea. God is more powerful than the impossible challenge of no food or water in the wilderness for hundreds of thousands of people. (The next time you’re in charge of a Relief Society dinner or even stake pioneer trek, imagine being Moses needing THAT amount of food.) God is more powerful than Adam and Eve’s lack of knowledge of how to do life. God is more powerful than Enoch’s insecurities and limiting beliefs. God is more powerful than Noah’s inexperience with ark building or animal gathering, or his embarrassment from the mocking.
Why did I spend my scripture study time on this theme today?
Because I need this theme to be buried deep inside my heart right now. I need to remind myself once again of just a few of the infinite number of times God has made the impossible possible and successful for so many people before, myself included.
In fact, let me spend a few minutes remembering times when God has made the impossible possible and successful for me.
When He prompted me to homeschool our children four years ago. Wow, that was utterly terrifying and overwhelming! When He helped me overcome an eating disorder as a young person that I was scared I couldn’t overcome. When He helped us get out of the Army early for my husband to get a scholarship to become an officer, even when the Army kept saying no when the Lord kept saying yes. When When He called me to teach institute several years ago and I felt utterly inadequate. Heck, I had felt scared and inadequate when called to teach gospel doctrine in Sunday School not too long before that. Then again a couple years ago when He called me to teach seminary. Not only did seminary teaching feel like the most scary, intimidating calling I’ve ever had, but my husband was serving as a bishop and in the National Guard, I was homeschooling our children, getting our oldest son ready for a mission, doing some public speaking and blogging, and dealing with food allergy issues for me and a child that were really stressful and the foods affected our thinking and moods.
My plate was already full, thank you very much.
Overflowing actually. But here’s the cool thing. I have gained a testimony over the years that Nephi was speaking 100% the truth when he said that when God commands He empowers (see 1 Nephi 3:7). In other words, if God tells us to do something impossible, God will make the impossible become possible, and help us succeed at it. Months ahead of being called as a seminary teacher I had received a series of promptings that I was going to be teaching seminary. When the call came, I felt a deep comfort knowing that God had already told me this was His will. Therefore He will help me. 1 Nephi 3:7 all the way. Same thing when my husband was called as a bishop, and when I was called as a Relief Society president before that. It’s funny because when we were new at receiving those promptings we felt silly believing them. “Who are we to think you’re going to be the next bishop?” Over time, we’ve gained more trust that those feelings aren’t ours, but God’s merciful witness-in-advance from the Spirit that those callings were indeed God’s will. Therefore He will help us. And He absolutely has. Every time. Have they always been easy? No way. Have we been given power to do what He asked? Absolutely.
Okay, so here is today.
I’ve been receiving some promptings that God wants me to do some things that seem too big to me. Too overwhelming. Too intimidating. Too much. Too scary. Too impossible. But I know, deep down in the cells of my soul, from my own repeated experiences and from scripture people too, that when God commands, He empowers. 1 Nephi 3:7 agian.
Then why does it feel so hard again?
Why don’t I just keep that same faith and courage when each new impossible challenge comes my way? I guess it’s because when a new challenge comes, it comes with walls that must be demolished before I can accomplish the new thing. Walls of self-doubt, walls of fear, walls of inadequacy, intimidation, overwhelm, comparing myself to others. Walls of “I can’t do this.”
And the cool thing is, even though I’m standing here with all these walls in front of me on my path, because I’ve taken the time to remember what God has done for Bible people and me before, I have planted some seeds of hope and faith that God will indeed make the impossible become possible for me once again.
I know He has the power to do anything. So why do I doubt? I doubt myself, not Him.
But so did Moses, Enoch, and so many others, and God’s power overruled their doubts, overcame the impossible challenge, and made them into the person each one needed to become to do what God asked them to do. So that is my prayer today. I am praying for God to change me inside, to make me into the person who can accomplish the impossible things I’m being asked to do. Just like a quote I found recently said, “Set a goal so big that you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can.” I am now firmly on that path.
And guess who my tour guide is? God.
Thanks for letting me write for a while to boost my own faith and courage. I hope it has built yours as well. We can all use a boost now and then.
Click here for another post about God making the impossible possible.
Click here for an awesome list in the Book of Mormon where God made the impossible possible. Thanks to my friend Madi for reminding me of that chapter. :)