Struggle to a Beaconing Future
My Mormon Life
In nine and a half years of marriage, my husband and I have continually struggled with employment and income. We’ve tried multiple business ventures, suffered multiple job losses, and know well the stresses of financial instability and crisis. Every time we fail, we hope for more and try anew, only to fail again – or so it seems.
We live in troubling times. This is not new. It seems that every generation faces its challenges and we are no different. We all have our stories of struggle and strife. You yours, and me mine. Our economy verges on collapse, our nation wars, and our leaders often fall short. Is there potential for a promising future in such a world?
Your future is not determined by the conditions around you. It is determined by your faith, your choices, and your efforts. You don’t have to be carried along in the current of the times. The Lord can and will help you set your own course. The challenges you face will serve to strengthen you as you move forward with your life. Each of you has a bright future, a future you cannot now fully comprehend.
~Elder Paul V. Johnson, “Make Yours a Great Life” Ensign Jan. 2011
Do we believe this? Do we believe that our future is full of possibilities? If we do – how to we grab hold of them to make our dreams come true?
My husband and I are both dreamers. However, where I am slow to self motivate and find a way to overcome such struggles, he holds sure. He continually amazes me that no matter how tough things are – he pushes through. In nine years of marriage we’ve moved seven times, held ten jobs, and ventured through nine or ten businesses. My husband often held at least one job while attempting the business ventures on the side. There have been moments when he wants to give up, days where he shakes his head in resignation, days when I worry and do my best to buoy him up. Somehow he finds the inner strength and holds firm to his philosophy that, “anyone can find a job and success if they want it bad enough and work for it”. We have to believe in ourselves and believe in the opportunities and blessings that await us. Then, we must take steps to find and take hold of them.
Some people dream about the future but don’t do much to move into it with power. They don’t realize that what they do – or don’t do – now will profoundly affect their future.
~Elder Paul V. Johnson, (40) Ensign Jan. 2011
Are we being inactive and letting the future just happen to us? Or are we making decisions to meet and grasp hold of that future?
While my husband and I still struggle and have yet to experience the success that we so hope and work for, we do know that our failures are anything but. The greater commitment we make to improving our situation (and the greater the actions taken to do so), the greater our blessings have been. Deciding to increase our skills led us to education – college. We thought there was no way we could afford such, but have been fortunate to qualify for financial aid and manageable student loans. We’re both in school and are blessed with the increased capacity to balance our family needs with my husband’s work along with everything else we do.
We continue to seek new avenues for income or ways to increase revenue and are blessed with increased knowledge, skills, experience and opportunity. With every business venture, each job loss, every financial woe we have learned and grown. We’ve developed skills, business insight, discovered what’s important to us, have grown closer together, and have greater love for those who are challenged likewise. We’ve become each other’s safe haven, learning to communicate, lift, love and support each other in times of doubt. We’ve learned to work hard and trust in the Lord that he will make up for where we lack. What’s even greater is with each “failure” we know we are moving closer to success and dream fulfillment.
Our futures can seem bleak in a time of instability but I strongly believe that there’s a brighter future for us than we’ve dreamed possible.
Just because we live in times of world trial, doesn’t mean we are doomed to failure. There is great potential for success and opportunities abound for us all. I know that God is with us in our struggles and successes. Next month my husband will get his degree and I am more than halfway done with mine. Having plugged through all the challenges while balancing our responsibilities has taught us a lot. I truly feel we are on the verge of something great.
The economy and life circumstances may lead us to believe there is little hope for dreams, but I don’t believe it. To me, our future is bright and shines like a beacon with God guiding us to it. I know that as we strive to live righteously and work towards those dreams that we will be blessed and come to realize something even greater than we imagined. I hope that despite the difficulties of your situation, you too may glimpse the bright beacon that awaits you and take the steps necessary to grasp hold of it.
Click to read the complete article, “Make Yours a Great Life” by Elder Paul V. Johnson.