For months I have been feeling an uncomfortable sense of stagnation. After climbing steep mountains and traversing near-bottomless caverns for several years, it has been strange to find myself on a plateau with very little variation in altitude.
In some ways it has been very good. Stability is a welcome reprieve after years of turmoil. I definitely don’t want more turmoil. But lately I have felt a restlessness, a divine force beckoning me to rise up, and yet I feel stuck. It is like I’m being asked to go somewhere that hasn’t even been mapped yet, to climb an invisible ladder, to somehow navigate my way to an elusive cloud kingdom above this expansive plateau… or to learn how to fly.
On a particularly difficult day in October of 2014, I got a glimpse of that elusive future God is beckoning me toward. Sitting in the quiet of my living room, keeping vigil over me (in my sort-of suicidal state), a dear friend pointed to a picture sitting on my piano and asked, “Who are they?” I told her they were my great-great-grandparents. Then she said:
I think he’s here right now. In this room. Yes, he’s here.
What followed was one of the most powerful things I have ever witnessed. Though, at the time, I felt completely cut off from all things spiritual, my friend was not. She became a messenger for an angel in my living room, something she had never experienced before in her life. She began to “translate” for my great-great-grandfather. Her eyes full of tears, she spoke about my light-filled future in great detail. Through her words, I knew that my life ahead would be remarkably beautiful if I could endure.
When my friend finished this incredible prophecy, she raised her hands to her cheeks as her tears fell and, with a massive smile on her face, she said, “I am so excited for you!” In that moment, I couldn’t smile, let alone muster excitement about my future. I didn’t even really want to be alive. But the excitement on my friends face, the words she told me about my future… they gave me a reason to keep going.
Some of the things I was told about my future haven’t yet happened… wonderful, beautiful things… things so foreign and sacred and out there that, honestly, they terrify me. Who would I even be with the abilities and blessings I was promised? What would my new life look like? And do I really want it?
One of my favorite authors, M. Catherine Thomas, wrote about the sanctified Nephites in the Book of 4th Nephi. She pointed out that the Lord had facilitated their preparation and sanctification, gradually moving them to higher ground together:
He brought them gently up the scale. Perhaps the reason for the gradual ascent was that moving into very powerful high-energy fields of consciousness can put great stress on the human nervous system which most people are not prepared to obtain suddenly. . . . We’re generally slow to change our view of ourselves, our habits, and our reality. In most cases it just takes time as the Lord works with our readiness (The Godseed, p. 95-97).
That’s probably what’s holding me back. I lack readiness. I’m afraid of the blessings and gifts God wants to give to me. I can’t be ready for them if I’m afraid of them. So maybe the first rung on the ladder away from this plateau is to release my fear? And maybe the second is to decide I really do want the life God promised me.