A few weeks ago, President Russell M. Nelson gave a fireside to young single adults, and he said something I've been mulling over ever since.
"Expect, and prepare, to do the impossible."
It was the type of comment that immediately cemented itself in my brain, one that I even pulled out my special marker for so I could write it down. (Which led to the conundrum regarding whether there should be commas in that statement. After a ridiculous amount of deliberation, I decided to go with the commas—the editor in me can't resist adding extra punctuation.)
That statement hasn't been far from my mind since. A few days after the fireside, I pulled out my journal with the intention of doing some serious soul searching. I thought of the top three impossibles I would like to make happen, and then jotted down a bunch of actions I could take to achieve at least one of those impossibles.
I was pumped. This time, I would actually do it. After all, President Nelson told me to expect it to happen.
I went to bed satisfied.
But over the next few days, even though I still felt inspired to bring about impossible things, I felt like I was missing something. For starters, that list I had so excitedly put together wasn't unlike goals I've made in the past. Goals that I made some progress on, but never far enough to get the ultimate prize I had in mind.
So I prayed, consulted scriptures, and pondered for a few more days in hopes that I would get a different answer, one that would finally set things in motion.
That's when the real lesson started to sink in: we humans can do impossible things, but we don't always get to pick what they are. I've had control over some of the impossibles in my life: getting a job in a field I wanted to work in; surviving, and thriving in, college and grad school; and—this is the one I'm most proud of—overcoming my shyness enough that I can actually get out of the car without hesitation when I go to social functions alone.
But there are other things I want to happen that I haven't been able to bring about via faith, hard work, and stubbornness. And there are impossibles I'll have to do at some point that I don't even have the imagination to consider right now.
Which brings me back to President Nelson's statement. He didn't just say to do impossible things. He said to prepare for them, to expect them to come, to not shy away from them when they do. There is a difference between deciding to do something impressive and seizing the moment when something you never thought you'd be able to handle is thrown your way.
It kind of takes the wind from your sails when you realize you may not accomplish your impossibles in the way you envision. But then I think about how cool it is to have one of God's apostles tell us that we are destined to do impossible things. It's in our nature. It's both a vote of confidence from a pretty impressive source and a reminder of why we're here.