Digital Only: Young Adults
My Internal Battle: Faith versus Fear
I was facing such a difficult time of uncertainty and didn’t know how to move forward.
Halfway through my senior year of high school, I received a huge surprise. My parents were called to preside over the Uruguay Montevideo Mission, which meant that they would be moving to another continent along with my four younger siblings. I was already stressed about graduating from high school, but now I would be attending college all alone.
My transition from high school to college could not have been harder. I had always thought that I’d have my family nearby when I entered university, but now to see them I’d have to spend nearly 24 hours on planes and in airports. While I was surrounded by kind roommates and thousands of students, I had never felt more alone.
Mental and Spiritual Spiraling
The pressures of school were overwhelming. I didn’t know what I wanted to study and found my classes challenging. And I was also struggling in a difficult dating relationship. I never knew that entering adulthood could be so hard and didn’t know how to move forward. My fear of the future overwhelmed me.
Soon, my fearful feelings made it difficult to function. Getting out of bed and being productive was difficult. One morning, I was asking the Lord to give me the strength to make it through the day. “I can’t keep doing this alone,” I told Him. And in a rare moment of mental and emotional clarity, I heard the soft words of the Spirit whisper, “You don’t have to.” Peace flooded my mind. I knew that somehow everything would work out, even if it didn’t happen immediately.
I remembered those words on the most difficult days. They helped me through the first semester, but when the second semester came, I was once again flooded with fear. The Lord sustained me every day, but I was afraid I would never feel better.
Power, Love, and a Sound Mind
Then, general conference of April 2017 came around. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, then the Second Counselor in the First Presidency, taught about the power that faith and love have over fear. “I don’t believe God wants His children to be fearful,” he said, “‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ [2 Timothy 1:7].”1
I felt like he was speaking directly to me. I knew I didn’t want to keep feeling fear, doubt, and depression. But for the first time, I believed that God didn’t want me to feel those feelings either. Sure, there are challenges in mortality, but that didn’t mean I had to suffer forever. Through the strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I could have a “sound mind”—a mind that wasn’t broken by fear, depression, anxiety, or loneliness.
President Uchtdorf taught, “Rather than dwelling on the immensity of our challenges, would it not be better to focus on the infinite greatness, goodness, and absolute power of our God, trusting Him and preparing with a joyful heart for the return of Jesus the Christ?”2
Focusing on the goodness of God and trusting in Him didn’t mean I should have ignored my challenges and acted like everything was OK. But I could do my own part to find healing and progress. Choosing faith over fear meant moving forward with optimism, hope, and trust in the Lord.
So, I started working through the process of replacing my fear with faith. I realized how mentally damaging my dating relationship had been, and Heavenly Father gave me the strength to leave it behind. Even though I wasn’t healed completely, I felt like I should serve a mission. I submitted my papers, trusting that the Lord would prepare me. In the meantime, I studied everything I could find about Jesus Christ, trying to better understand how He could strengthen and heal me. As I talked to family and friends about my challenges and received professional help, my loneliness and depression started to fade.
As President Uchtdorf also taught: “As His covenant people, we need not be paralyzed by fear because bad things might happen. Instead, we can move forward with faith, courage, determination, and trust in God as we approach the challenges and opportunities ahead.”3
Faith in the Future
Now, years later, I’ve served a mission, married a man who cherishes me, graduated from college, and pursued a career that I love. My family returned from the mission in Uruguay, and we are closer than ever, even when challenges hit.
By holding on to faith instead of fear, my relationship with the Savior has been transformed. I no longer fear that my life will never get better. I truly know what it means to trust in Him and can testify that He has healed me emotionally and spiritually.
I don’t have all the answers for the future. I still fear many things, like the responsibilities of future callings or the challenge of raising children. But I know that when I trust in the Lord and choose faith over fear, I will always be led to hope and happiness.