Earlier this week I talked to a friend about my desire to pray more mightily and with faith to do God’s will every day. She knew my schedule and some of the daily demands on my time and asked if I was worried about getting an answer. Yes! We laughed about how funny that seemed.
But I’d recently listened to a devotional by Elder David A. Bednar that flitted by on a YouTube suggestion. Elder Bednar promised that if we change our prayers from checklists for God to queries about how we can best help God accomplish His work that the impact on our lives would be obvious and profound. Elder Bednar’s words reminded me of where I hope to be and how I’ve covenanted to consecrate my life to the Lord.
I felt like I generally ask for and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, but this apostolic invitation felt different. And I wanted obvious and profound interactions with the Lord.
So I told my friend I really believed that if I sought and followed the Lord’s will that He would magnify my time. She suggested creating alarms on my phone to remind me throughout the day to be mindful of this goal.
Applying the Goal at the Car Wash
The week progressed well. I asked in my morning prayers what the Lord would have me do. I followed the promptings received then and throughout the day. Some days my time felt more magnified than others, but I persisted.
This morning, through my groggy brain fog I didn’t have an exceptionally mighty prayer or receive any directions. I dressed to attend the temple. I actually was ready to go a few minutes earlier than usual. So I planned to do one initiatory ordinance, if possible, before the endowment session. As I pulled onto the road, the prompting came—wash your truck. I knew my FJ needed washing and responded, Great idea! I’ll do that after the temple. I was so pleased that part of God’s plan was for me to wash the truck. haha.
Before you go to the temple.
Huh? I looked at the time. I’d left a couple of minutes early. The car wash place was on my way if I drove a different route than my usual route. As I approached the car wash, I surveyed the scene. No line.
Happy to be obedient with no line, I turned the corner to pull into the car wash—behind two other cars. The three entrance lanes were funneled down to one, with a worker trying to resolve an issue with the truck in that lane. As we pulled in, I was sandwiched in the lane so I couldn’t change my mind and leave. We sat behind the truck with the issue.
All sorts of thoughts went through my mind from there’s still time to I’m going to miss the 9:00 am temple session altogether. I had time to think about the prompting and decide if it really was a prompting from God or if I just, for the first time ever, decided to wash my truck on the way to the temple. I knew it wasn’t my thought.
So I settled into trusting that if I yielded my will to God, the outcome would be fine.
After the long hiccup at the entrance, my truck plunged into the water. I breathed easier knowing what I could expect timewise. I felt a little more control return.
I exited the car wash at 8:33 am. 8:33!! All that worrying thought process happened in 5 minutes of time? I usually leave my house around 8:33 am Interesting.
I continued my course to the temple where I was able to do the initiatory ordinance and the endowment session. I accomplished my plan and His plan.
Clinging to control versus casting my cares on the Lord
The direction to wash the truck was so simple and random, but it showed me how much I still cling to the known, what I can control, rather than casting all my cares on the Lord. And while I believe that the Lord will use us because of our talents and abilities (magnifying those talents and abilities through the Savior’s enabling grace to accomplish His purposes,) I could see how talents and abilities can also be an obstacle and distraction.
The direction to wash the truck was so simple and random, and it showed me on a microcosmic scale how when I let my will be swallowed up in the will of the Lord, He can magnify time and effort. The car wash reminded me that my attempts at consecration are a work in progress and that even a small step forward is still a step forward.
Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father
One of my favorite talks on consecrating our will and lives to the Lord is Elder Neil A. Maxwell’s “Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father.”
The Lord will work with us even if, at first, we “can no more than desire” but are willing to “give place for a portion of [His] words” (Alma 32:27). A small foothold is all He needs! But we must desire and provide it. …
[C]onsecration is not resignation or a mindless caving in. Rather, it is a deliberate expanding outward, making us more honest when we sing, “More used would I be” (“More Holiness Give Me,” Hymns, 1985, no. 131). Consecration, likewise, is not shoulder-shrugging acceptance, but, instead, shoulder-squaring to better bear the yoke.
Consecration involves pressing forward “with a steadfastness in Christ” with a “brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men … [while] feasting upon the word of Christ” (2 Ne. 31:20). …
Consecration is thus both a principle and a process, and it is not tied to a single moment. Instead, it is freely given, drop by drop, until the cup of consecration brims and finally runs over. …
In conclusion, the submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!
Consecration thus constitutes the only unconditional surrender which is also a total victory!
How amazing is it that the God of the universe can use a 5-minute car wash to instruct and encourage my desire? Truly He sees and notices the lily of the valley, or the sparrow that falls, or the girl whose slow but steady efforts need a car wash.