Not long ago, I spent 2 weeks in Canada on a Brigham Young University-Idaho Performance Tour. As part of our itinerary we were invited to 2 evening firesides and 1 morning devotional for the youth. The director of my dance team, on the drive to the location where we were holding the morning devotional told me he felt inspired to ask me to share my testimony about doing hard things. I didn't write it down but I remember key points and that is what I want to share with you.
I began by asking the youth, by raise of hand, who had hiked a mountain. I then asked who thought that they had hiked the highest mountain out of the group. They called out the heights of various mountains they had hiked and then I proceeded to tell them about my hike up Mt. Elbert in Colorado.
I explained to them that as a dancer and an athlete I felt physically prepared, and I was determined to finish. I also told them that I had several friends with me and I made those friends promise me that they wouldn't let me give up: I would summit.
I described the hike.
We started out with about 15 in our company. Halfway up the mountain several stopped and decided they had had enough; we didn't get much farther up the mountain when more decided they were through.
Then there were 5 of us.
I told the youth how I would take a few steps and be out of breath, I told them I felt that I was physically limited because of my asthma, but that I had support.
I had friends, loved ones, helping me each step of the way.
I expressed my frustration because I couldn't breathe and a friend was singing Miley Cyrus "It's the Climb"!
And then I said, "I made it to the summit that day" and paused.
We all felt the spirit.
Continuing, (and this is where I want you to pay attention), I shared with them something a dear friend told me. He said, "'I think I can" becomes "I knew I could" as we work hard and never give up.Adversity is unavoidable, but the way that we face our adversity determines the outcome of our experiences."
I shared my experiences of deciding to go to college with the youth and testified that I knew the reason I was supposed to attend BYU-I was because those youth needed me, at that moment to remind them that they can do hard things, just as I am reminding you that you can do hard things.
As I began to conclude I shared this quote, "Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others. Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increase compassion and understanding for others. (Joseph B. Wirthlin, Come What May, and Love It).
I tied everything together with Christ. Just like my friends on the mountain, Jesus Christ is my friend in every other need. He strengthens me, and He sends others to strengthen me. I concluded with the thought from Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." and suggested that this scripture could be read in two ways "I can do all things which strengthen me, through the aid of Christ" and "I can do all things because Christ is who strengthens me." I personally think that both are correct.
To those of you who may be struggling. Do not get discouraged. You have your family, me, your friends, and the Hosts of Heaven on your team.
One of my favorite quotes comes from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints April 2013 Session of General Conference. It reads, "Trials may come, and we may not understand everything that happens to us or around us. But if we humbly, quietly trust in the Lord, He will give us strength and guidance in every challenge we face. When our only desire is to please Him, we will be blessed with a deep inner peace."
--Bruce D. Porter
You got this!