I was lost. I quit my soul-draining job. I didn’t know where to turn to. I didn’t know what to do next. In short, I didn’t know what to do with my life. People were expecting a lot from me. I had graduated from a good university in the US with honors so there was no way I was confused about my life, right? People were anxious about my plans. They thought that I had it all figured out; they said that I’ve always been the smarty-pants. But I didn’t have plans. I didn’t have everything figured out. I was frustrated with myself.
I dug a pit of self-pity and self-doubt for myself. There were nights that I stared into blank space, not able to go to sleep. This went on for a couple of weeks until I decided that it is okay to get lost, to not know everything, to not have everything all figured out. I realized that people get lost in many ways and it is okay. What’s not okay is to stay in that state and not find myself again.
There were several realizations or gifts that helped me get through this trial.
Jesus never forsakes a lost sheep
When I was too confused about which path I should pursue, the Parable of the Lost Sheep rang truer than any time in my life. My hopes soared high realizing that Jesus would find me and help me find myself again. I knew that Jesus would never forsake a lost sheep. This required me to give up questioning many things in my life, trust His plans and let Him find me. In the Book of John, He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” He knows the way because He is the way. There is no other sure way of finding myself than His way, is there? Finding myself again is the gift of Jesus finding me first.
I learned to listen to my own voice
There were so many voices around me telling me what I should do, where my career path should lead, how my life should be. These voices only caused more confusion in my head and pointed to countless paths I was not sure I wanted to take. I was pressured and frustrated because I wanted to live up to other people’s expectations of me. As I tried to listen to my own voice, I realized that the desire to improve and grow in this mortal life comes from within and this desire cannot be fueled by someone else’s expectation. I learned to make peace with myself that the only expectation that I should live up to is Heavenly Father’s expectation of me: to do everything I can to return to His presence.
I learned to appreciate the Book of Mormon more
While I was lost on what to do with my life, I was looking for knowledge to somehow shed light on things. I spent time reading articles from the most-renowned publications, feasting upon the words of this world’s experts. These articles gave me light, but not enough light to help me see what mattered most. That’s when I realized that when searching for truth and knowledge, why not read the “most correct book of any book on earth”? I spent my mornings reading the Book of Mormon. It did not teach me, step-by-step, how to find myself again, but it taught me principles that helped me face the trial of being lost—faith, perseverance, obedience, and hard work, among many others—all exemplified in the lives of prophets and apostles in the Book of Mormon.
I learned to accept that I couldn’t do everything on my own
I grew up always feeling like an independent woman. I felt all the more independent when I moved to the US alone when I was 18, which is not typical for 18-year old Filipinas. I like to do things my own way. I feel like I can do things on my own. But this is not really the case. My family has always been there to back me up when things don’t go as planned. My friends have always been there to cheer me up when things get rough. And most especially, the Lord has always been in the details of my life. All my life, I was never truly independent of anything because I did not face life alone. Accepting this fact allowed me to seek help and guidance from those who care about me. I learned to pray more fervently and more earnestly. It is during my state of being lost that I felt closest to Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, my family, and my friends.
I have wondered why I had to go through this trial. Now I realize that going through this trial was the way for Jesus to find me, for me to find myself again, and for me to learn the gift of being lost.