Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Follow Your Blisters

My finals are finally over, as of a couple of hours ago. Maybe I should wait until tomorrow to post since I have hardly slept during the last week, studying and studying, so I might not make much sense. Plus I'm pretty emotional. This last final, genetics, was my hardest and I don't think I did well on it. I was driving home kinda debating with myself what to do. This is such a hard major. Why do I want to do this? Why do I have to like biology? Maybe I should just get a job. At least when I'm not at work, I can concentrate on my children and not be studying all the time. What if I'm wasting my time trying when I am not good enough to make it through all these very difficult classes?

Don't worry. I'm not looking to you for answers. I had thought I would come home and clean my neglected house right away, but I am so tired, I just can't get myself to do it quite yet. So I thought I'd try to come up with a post since I have also neglected my blog. I opened a file I have where I have saved things that I want to post about some day. I randomly scrolled down and stopped on this talk that I listened to this summer. Pretty good timing. It's about finding your calling in life and enjoying your profession.

I really liked it when I heard it and it has helped me today. It's called What's Your Calling in Life by Jeffrey Thompson. I hope you get a chance to watch it or read it. I am including quite a few excerpts, but there are still so many wonderful gems in the talk. So maybe this post is just for me, but it's my blog. Hehe

"As I begin my remarks, I want you to understand that finding my calling in life was not easy. My career path was circuitous, and I often felt great anxiety about it. I always knew I wanted to care passionately about my work, but for years I had no idea what that work should be. Several times I felt utterly adrift, as if I had somehow missed the path I should have taken and could never get back on it. In hindsight, those moments are important parts of the tapestry of my career. Each thread that felt out of place at the time now provides structure to the pattern of my life. They helped me distinguish and define my calling. I learned, to quote Romans 8:28, that all things do indeed “work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (emphasis added).
"My aim today is to encourage you to think about your future life’s work without the anxiety—because when we ponder our calling in life through the lens of the restored gospel, we don’t need to feel anxious."

"After the Lord charges us to anxiously pursue good causes, the next verse begins: “For the power is in them” (D&C 58:28). Think about that. The Lord hasn’t just told you to pursue good causes, He has equipped you with power to do so. You—you personally—are full of divine capacities to do good that you probably don’t even fully appreciate."

"Joseph Campbell, a professor of literature who studied and taught about hero myths, introduced the phrase 'follow your bliss' back in the 1970s. The idea was that heroes don’t chase money or prestige; they look into their hearts to find their passion and then pursue it (see Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, ed. Betty Sue Flowers [New York: Doubleday, 1988]). Now you see the phrase 'follow your bliss' everywhere. Later, Campbell developed misgivings about how people were using the phrase. It was reported that he quipped, 'What I should have said was, ‘Follow your blisters.' ' Brothers and sisters, you may do the most important, exciting work in the world. Nonetheless, some days will be mundane and no fun at all—kind of like the days I spend grading papers. You will be called upon to sacrifice. Don’t expect deep meaning without paying the price for it."

"…I testify that our Heavenly Father is intimately involved in the doors that open for us and in the circumstances that lead us to the places we should be—the places where we are equipped, with power, to serve. Have faith that your unseen Navigator will lead you gradually to your life’s calling. I also testify that, as with all important questions, when it comes to asking what our calling in life is, Jesus Christ is in the answer. The grace of Christ, that same power that helps us do things we otherwise couldn’t, is what will guide us to our callings and enable us to excel in them. You can call upon the grace of Christ to help you with your professional calling. In fact, He pleads with us to do so. In Alma, He invites us to pray over our flocks (see Alma 34:20). Even if we are not shepherds by trade, we all tend professional flocks, and He is mindful of them. Knowing that helps us expel anxiety."

A few months ago when I was still not sure if I would be able to go to school this semester or if I'd be working, I was talking with a friend. I told her that I think I missed my chance to follow what my patriarchal blessing said about studying and work. Her answer was exactly what I needed to hear and I've repeated it to myself many times since, more or less word for word. "Our opportunities and blessings aren't as linear as we think they are. There can be more than one way to them." That's what this professor is saying at the beginning of his talk too.

Actually when I look back, if I would have studied biology and then become a stay-at-home mom, that degree wouldn't have done much good right now. So much has changed and discoveries have been made. This way I know Spanish (what I studied before) and can use it in just about any field, besides using it to help others translate and for me to make new friends I wouldn't have been able to get to know. And now I can study and then go straight into the field. I will just keep trying a step at a time, even if I feel like I might fall all the way down sometimes. And I'll be pleading for the grace of Christ to enable me to continue. I'm so grateful for that gift our Father gives us.


  1. I love this! Thank you! You are remarkable. I bet you did far better than you think you did. You are pursuing something you do care about, and that is really important.

    I know it's hard to be in school when you have kids. I remember seeing a poem you had on your wall about your mom being in school. Now you're the mom in school. It's so important to get an education, and you are going to be fine. It isn't without its trials, but you are more than up to the challenge. Thanks for taking time to post when you're exhausted.

    Congrats on finishing your finals!!

  2. I love this also. I especially love the talk you posted. Everything he said is so true. We all struggle and stumble. I think that is part of what makes our journey so remarkable. Now your kids are in school and you can be there too. As someone who had to work with little children in daycare, I can honestly tell you that you made the choice that will benefit them the most. If there was any way I could have done that, I would have.

  3. Valerie, it seems that encouragement and inspiration is put in your path right when you need it.
    Beautiful talk and perfect for you.
    Yes, you are in an overwhelming degree, I can't even wrap my brain around that, but you have gifts that will enable you to succeed.

    You are truly amazing!
    Have an enjoyable holiday.
    My heart and thoughts are with you and your family.

  4. You are so smart and such a hard worker. I know you can make it through all the classes ahead of you and do well at them. Sorry your passion isn't in something easier though. ;o) I'm glad you've got the chance to go back to school.

  5. Isn't it nice to have the finals behind you! It's a good thing you ARE smart and will be able to get this degree, but it won't be easy!

    Great inspirational talk.

    Enjoy your break from school for a while and relax with the kids! Take care!

  6. So I'm desperately trying to catch up, great post, Valerie. Yay for the semester being over. I hope you enjoy your Christmas and break!


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