I’m very familiar with burnout—that feeling of running on fumes. For example, I’m currently in the last semester of my graduate program, and my professors keep telling me, “Finish strong—you still need to graduate!”
But burning out in school is one thing. School is predictable in many ways, with its measurable deadlines and foreseeable endings like midterms, finals, and graduation. Burning out spiritually is entirely different. I know what it’s like to have a tired soul and to feel hopelessness and fear about the unknowns of the future.
There have been times when I have had nothing left in my spiritual tank but a small teaspoon of conviction to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. But I have a testimony that a teaspoon of faith does move mountains.
In the words of President Russell M. Nelson, “Your growing faith in Him will move mountains—not the mountains of rock that beautify the earth but the mountains of misery in your lives.”1
And I’ve witnessed this truth as I’ve seen Him help me move mine.
I saw signs that I was attracted to other women when I was quite young, but I tried to push those feelings away for years.
A few summers ago, I developed feelings for a woman who is also gay. This was something that I had never experienced before, and I spent weeks praying to know what God wanted me to do about this relationship.
With everything I’ve been taught about the gospel, God’s will probably should have been obvious to me, but because of my feelings, it wasn’t. My feelings for this woman were real, powerful, and so important to me.
I was in turmoil for weeks. I expected the answer to my prayers to be obvious. But instead, I felt very distinctly that Heavenly Father was inviting me to use my agency to decide to follow Him.
For years, I had blamed God for all that was missing in my life—for everything I seemingly couldn’t do. I felt like a martyr as I kept His commandments, like I was meant to suffer alone through mortality. But as I grappled with my feelings for this woman, I eventually realized that I have always had the power to choose how to live my life—agency is one of Heavenly Father’s most powerful gifts to us.
I truly loved and cared for this woman. But those feelings didn’t weigh as much as my teaspoon of faith in the truth that Heavenly Father wanted me to choose a different path.
And it was that small, imperfect teaspoon of faith that enabled me to choose Christ.
I was devastated after I made my decision to end this relationship, and frankly, I am still healing from the heartbreak. But looking back, and after many moments of pondering and prayer, I’ve realized that Heavenly Father would have loved me whether I chose to keep my covenants or pursue a same-sex relationship. But because I chose to keep my covenants, He has been able to love and bless me.
It’s my choice to reach out to the Savior or to turn away from Him. It’s my choice to invite both His love and His blessings. I’ve learned that His commandments don’t limit our agency—we always have the power to choose.
As Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “[Heavenly Father and the Savior] honor your agency. You must choose to love Them, to serve Them, to keep Their commandments. Then They can more abundantly bless you as well as love you.”2
As I have deepened my faith and commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, mountains in my life are being moved, one pebble at a time, just as President Nelson promised:
My family relationships have deepened and are full of honesty, vulnerability, compassion, and trust.
My negative self-image is improving one day at a time.
My ability to love others, love myself, and feel loved is being augmented daily.
My love of the gospel has increased.
My eyes have been opened to how much Heavenly Father wants to bless me each day.
I don’t know what to expect about my attraction to women. I don’t know if it will change or what is in store for me in that experience. But I truly believe that as I embrace the fulness of the gospel, I will be given the opportunity to marry a man whom I love in the temple one day. That is a desire I have for my future. Right now, marriage still seems scary, but with faith in Christ, I am preparing for this mountain to be moved. I know that as I keep my covenants, Heavenly Father will pave my path with wonderful experiences.
There are a lot of situations that can make some of us feel like we don’t fit into the gospel. When I feel this way, I often think of the woman with the issue of blood (see Mark 5:25–34). I wonder if she ever questioned if her life fit into His plan at times. She experienced so much unfairness and turmoil, yet she still turned to the Savior. Even then, Christ didn’t erase her past years of pain and loneliness, but He gave her hope and opened the door to a bright future.
For the same reason, I need to exercise my faith in Jesus Christ and make sure I have the Spirit of the Lord in my life. And while I don’t have a manual that specifically addresses every life experience while striving to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, I do have thousands of pages of instruction on how to come unto Him.
Life is still hard at times. I still experience days of burnout and days of loneliness because I’m human. But life is so much more joyful when I turn to Christ in my imperfect faith—when I choose Him over everything else.
Whatever your circumstances, if you have unanswered questions or are enduring something that seems unfair, don’t believe that God has forgotten you or is restricting you.
Don’t turn away from Him.
Instead, I invite you to reach out. Reach out to Christ with even a teaspoon of faith and embrace the fulness of His gospel. As President Nelson has also taught, “Faith in Jesus Christ is the greatest power available to us in this life.”3 If you follow His prophets and keep His commandments, you will allow Him to bring miracles into your life and move the mountains you are facing.
I promise that as you align your life with Him, you will feel Him reaching back to bless you, and He will open more opportunities and blessings than you ever imagined for your life.
He has for me.