When I was in high school I was a rather social being. It wasn't uncommon for me to get home from school, work, or an extra-curricular activity and grab something to eat quick before I ran out the door again to do something with my friends. Often I would mention to one of my parents my plans as I was exiting the house. Most of the time they told me to have fun and reminded me to wake them up if I got home after they went to bed. Sometimes though my brisk beeline to the door was halted with phrases such as, "You can't leave until you empty the dishwasher," or, "Put your laundry away before you go to the basketball game."
I realized today that I do the same thing with my prayers. I often hastily tell Heavenly Father what my plan is as I'm about to do it and most of the time He agrees with me and tells me to wake him up when I get home. Sometimes though he stops me on my way out the door and a course correction is required. This has only happened to me a few times in life and it has resulted in very minor changes to my plan. Well a little over a week ago I was stopped and asked to make a large course correction. I have had an emotionally taxing summer as I've tried to figure a lot of things out. I decided to avoid making decisions by drowning out my thoughts with 60 hour work weeks. I didn't have time to think until I went to California on vacation and life slowed down considerably. I found myself contemplating life in odd places, such as on a ride at Disneyland and in the backseat of my friend's car as we drove along the Pacific Coast Highway. It was terribly inconvenient. Finally toward the end of my trip I was clearly instructed to metaphorically "unload the dishwasher" before I continued on with life as I had planned.
At first I was really upset. Sobs accompanied my explanations as I hid out in the hotel hallway and called my mom to update her on my life plan. I was looking forward to taking one year to finish up my college education instead of one semester so that I would have time for an extremely high amount of fun. After graduation I had even contemplated staying in Provo. My friends are all here, I enjoy the independence that results from living 1,300 miles from my parents, and I've come to enjoy being here. I was running full speed toward the door, ready to exit and have a fun time and was halted in my tracks. I spent the next 4-5 days in an odd emotional/moody/generally selfish state in which I had to actively put on a happy face when I was around people so they would think I was normal. The last few days of my pity party occurred when I was back in Provo. After a friend gave me a blessing I realized it was time to embrace Heavenly Father's plan even though it will require a lot of sacrifice. I'm terrified.
Today though, while I was sitting in church I had an epiphany. When my parents asked me to complete a chore before I left the house in high school they weren't trying to keep me from what I had planned. They just expected something from me before I set out to do what would bring me joy. Never did I ever believe that my parents didn't want me to experience joy in high school. Often I would do what I had been asked to do and then continue to do what I wanted. I satisfied my parent's desires and my own even though I had originally only made time for myself. My experiences weren't diminished in the slightest. The same is true in this situation. I foolishly believed that Heavenly Father had completely disregarded my wishes by instructing me to drastically change my plan. I believed that I was being asked to sacrifice many opportunities that would never be provided to me again. I've been asked by Heavenly Father to do something I never imagined I would do. It throws a wrench in the next 2 years of my life, but in the eternal scheme of things it's only a small chore he requires of me before I can continue my flee out the door to the bright future I have planned. My life isn't necessarily going off the plan I created, instead an extra loop has been added to my track that still leads to the same goals, dreams, and aspirations I had originally set out to accomplish. Like in high school, I will enjoy my plans more knowing that I unloaded Heavenly Father's dishwasher before I left the house to see a movie with my friends.