“When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing,” Ensign, April 2020
“I have no idea what I’m doing.”
If you ever say this to yourself, then we have a lot in common!
To me, being a young adult feels like I’m constantly being flung headfirst into a tangled web of decisions, mistakes, financial stress, success, growth, failure, anxiety, joy, family matters, opportunities, and honestly, just plain confusion—along with nausea at times when these hit me all at once. Perhaps you can relate.
Figuring everything out in our lives can seem impossible when we’re surrounded by chaos. But hold on to this truth: every beautiful creation in this universe began with a state of chaos, or unorganized matter. Chaos that eventually became organized and put into order through the power of God (see Genesis 1). And this is the point in time when we are beginning to organize our chaotic lives to create the kind of life we want to have—hopefully a life of service, discipleship, and joy. Here are a few tips that can help us create something beautiful out of the mess.
This is your first step—realizing your importance and your true identity,1 because the world makes it really easy to forget who you truly are.
You are a child of God.
It’s the only label that truly matters. You were sent to earth during this specific moment in time. The final dispensation. Do you realize how significant that is? Think about it. God reserved you for one of the most tempestuous times the world has ever known. He knows you are strong enough to withstand the temptations of the world. He knows you and your capacity for good.
Unfortunately, Satan also knows how strong our generation is. So he’s desperately throwing his last attacks to drag us down (see Helaman 5:12). But remember, no matter the challenges you might face, adversity can help you grow closer to the Savior and find healing through His Atonement when you seek His help—which in turn can help you progress to become even more than you are now (see 2 Corinthians 5:17–18).
So, if you’re ever feeling a little lost in this time of life, it’s normal! You’re a spiritual being having a mortal experience. This is something you’ve never done before—it’s no wonder everything is confusing at times. Have patience with yourself. With Heavenly Father’s help, you can fully realize your eternal identity, your worth, your plan, and what this means for you in your journey to beautify and organize the chaos.
You’ve been blessed with individual spiritual gifts and qualities (see Doctrine and Covenants 46:11–12) to help you not only progress on your personal journey but also lead others to the truth. You are uniquely set apart from everyone else because you have your own special brand of pizzazz only you can offer the world! And your pizzazz can come in many different forms. Perhaps you’re a natural-born leader; or maybe you’re musically inclined; or it could be you have the gift of being a good listener or showing compassion to others.
You’re here at this time for a reason. Reading your patriarchal blessing is one key to unlock your understanding of your individual strengths and discover how they can help you throughout your life. And if you put in effort and faith, the Lord can help you tap into your strengths, develop even more gifts and qualities, create power from your weaknesses (see Ether 12:27), and ultimately succeed in creating something beautiful.
When trying to figure out young adulthood, the questions you have seem to triple in number. And when answers aren’t coming, it can feel like everything you’re trying to build and put into order might collapse at any moment.
While speaking specifically to young adults, President Russell M. Nelson taught:
“At this very moment some of you are struggling to know what you should be doing with your life. Others of you may wonder if you have been forgiven of your sins. …
“Some may question why the Church does some of the things it does. …
“Our Heavenly Father and His Son stand ready to respond to your questions through the ministering of the Holy Ghost. But it is up to you to learn how to qualify for and receive those answers.”2
President Nelson went on to say that we can receive answers to our most pressing questions and find strength to keep moving forward through prayer, asking Heavenly Father for the gift of discernment, serving others, and spending more time with the Spirit.3
Pray. For me, Satan can twist the simplicity of prayer into something that’s hard to do. But prayer is as easy as sending a text (and more fulfilling)—and praying to Heavenly Father is something we should be doing just as often as texting. When we pray with real intent and with a sincere heart (see Moroni 10:4), we can pray for help, for strength, for direction, for comfort, and to know what changes to make in our lives.
Plead with Heavenly Father for the gift of discernment. This spiritual gift in particular is one we all need and should strive to be worthy of receiving. Discernment will allow you to know clearly good from evil and right from wrong without question.
Serve others. When in doubt, serve. Serving with love opens the door to receiving personal revelation and brings us closer to the Savior.
Seek to have the companionship of the Spirit. Surround yourself with friends who have the Spirit with them, read your scriptures more often, and spend more time in holy places like the temple and Church meetings. When I’m inviting the Spirit into my life, I always feel more peace—even in the storm of uncertainty.
And through it all, there’s one other thing that is vital: patience. When you’re doing your best to follow Jesus Christ, know that you will find answers in Heavenly Father’s perfect timing. These are the two truths I always hold on to: everything will be revealed one day (see Doctrine and Covenants 101:32–33), and many answers don’t come until after your faith has been tested (see Ether 12:6). Just hold on. You will find your way.
When life feels like a lot to handle, remember what Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:
“Sometimes our lives are like neo-impressionistic art. The dots of color that make up the moments and events of our days can appear unconnected and chaotic at times. We can’t see any order to them. We can’t imagine that they have a purpose at all.
“However, when we step back and take an eternal perspective, when we look at our lives in the frame of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can begin to see how the various dots in our lives interconnect. We may not be able to see the entire picture just yet, but with patience we can see enough to trust that there is a beautiful, grand design. And as we strive to trust God and follow His Son, Jesus Christ, one day we will see the finished product, and we will know that the very hand of God was directing and guiding our steps.”4
So, when I’m trapped in that jumbled mess of dots, I take comfort in knowing that through what looks like chaos, I’m creating a beautiful masterpiece with Heavenly Father’s help.
Regardless of where you are in life—whether you’re going to school, figuring out parenthood, or in any other circumstances—just remember you don’t have to have everything figured out right now. Yes, there’s going to be a lot of trial and error. There will be times when we temporarily forget who we truly are. There will be moments when we have to readjust plans or change our perspectives. But instead of wallowing in confusion and chaos, let’s use this crazy time of young adulthood to learn, grow, and start creating something beautiful. We won’t always know exactly what we’re doing, and that’s OK. Heavenly Father knows—He can see the masterpieces we are currently creating. With Him, we can accomplish all we’re meant to do, and everything will come together in a beautiful design in the end.