My answer seemed to always be the same: Go to BYU Hawaii and major in marine biology. I went to different marine biology camps growing up and volunteered at the aquarium, and because of those, opportunities seemed to present themselves in this area of study and it seemed that my life was set in stone. I was adrenalized and enthusiastic because this path seemed illuminated by divine approval.
On October 6th, 2012, my life turned upside down. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints lowered the age for sister missionary service from 21 to 19. I found out as I was driving to Einstein's Brothers to get bagels for my family with my sister. We were listening to conference on the radio and as I listened to this monumental occasion, it seemed time stopped and there was a feeling telling me that Heavenly Father wanted me to go. Although on social media and to my peers I exclaimed my excitement and surety on this new path, I was absolutely terrified.
That night I prayed to know if I was correct in my assumed feelings, and felt strongly that I was. The next couple of weeks I prayed to know if I should in fact apply to BYU in the coming weeks, or BYU Hawaii still. Through fasting and prayers, I realized that to fulfill this desire of going on a mission, my best option would be to attend BYU. Sadly, as most might not guess, this was devastating for me, but I decided God knew what was best and would guide me the whole way through.
All that I had ever worked for, all that ever had seem to fit for my future, suddenly dissipated and I was to start school here and take 18 months of my life to give up a head start on my career, internships, experiences, and my educational goals. One thing didn't make sense, why had God lead me all the way down this path, and then suddenly changed His mind about what he wanted from me?
I wish I could tell you the answers came clear to me but they didn't. In fact, the answer to this question didn't happen until this week while in my New Testament Class discussing a story between Jesus and Peter.
The story occurs in Luke 5: 1-11. The way my professor described the story (from his interpretation) gave me great insight into my own story. He talked about how the fish would come out at night the most, and very likely peter and the other disciples had been fishing all night long, and had caught nothing, when Jesus entered his ship. He asked him to cast out and put his net into the water. My teacher described a possible thought Peter may have been having "Jesus, you haven't been fishing your whole life! I've been up all night and I just need some sleep. How about we get some rest and then try this whole cast out another net thing?" But as the scriptures go, Peter says he will do it "nonetheless". Basically, if you imagine yourself in Peter's shoes, He doesn't really want to keep fishing but chooses to follow Christ. Immediately tons and tons of fish were caught, and could have possibly been the biggest catch ever made in the Sea of Galilee. After getting on shore, if you think about it, Peter could have become a very popular fisher. He could have been given money and prizes and all sorts of recognition, but what does Christ do? He tells him that he wants him to leave that all behind and be a fisher of men.
It wasn't until Peter had to sacrifice something so important to him that Jesus asked him to be a missionary and follow Him. Peter could have had the same thoughts that I did, why did you give me the biggest catch, and not let me pursue the course that lead ahead because of it? But in class we discussed that it could have been a confidence builder, had Peter not been able to catch fish, how could he feel confident enough to theoretically catch men? Also, Christ could have been emphasizing that His work is the most important and most rewarding work on Earth. Can you imagine the blessings Peter was able to participate in because he walked and talked with Jesus every day?
This suddenly opened my eyes that I had to give up my “fish” literally (haha) and figuratively to experience the joy that I knew Jesus had in store for me. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to serve. I can't wait to get my call next week, and like Peter, have opportunities like this to sacrifice my wants to bring others what they need.
When we choose to sacrifice something temporal to follow Christ, we will find that His route will never fail. These inconveniences will always turn out to be glorious. We will feel Christ's love and direction more fully every day, and like Peter we will develop a better relationship with him. His work is the most important work, and we have to sometimes sacrifice a seemingly fine path to participate in a golden-paved, heavenly one.
"...Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men... and they forsook all, and followed him"