Here it is: I have recently heard an analogy that today is pounding in my head.
Imagine you are driving along in your car. You're thinking. You're letting people in front of you, consistantly obeying the posted limits whether it be markings or speed "suggestions." Or you're not. Anyway, you look around and realize "Hey, this is not where I wanted to go!" Either you are past your mark, too far to the east or the west or in an entirely different state, but simply put: you are lost.
The bad news: You aren't where you want to be.
The good news: Look down. Whose hands are on the wheel? For most of us, the hands on the wheel of the car we are driving belong to us. Know what that means? It means we can turn the car around. We can get where we want to go.
So then here's the bigger question: Do we need to drive a specific path to arrive at a specific destination? There are at least a dozen ways to get from my house to the nearest church (and the closest LDS church is literally walking distance from where I live now). But which is fastest? Is "faster" more important? Is "Scenic" more important? Is "fun" more important? Is "safe" more important? That decision is entirely individual.
I'm looking at my car right now, and noticing that it may not run as long as i would like it to if I don't start taking care of it. The vehicle is as important as the journey because it determines the journey. Even in some ways the path determines the "health" of the vehicle. Rocky? I may puncture a wheel or whatever. I'm sure I have beaten this analogy to death, and you all know what I'm actually talking about.
Faith. Religion. Life. The Journey. The Eternal Plan of Happiness.
When I was fourteen, I was dealing with numerous emotional crazies. One particularly difficult night when I was blowing things out of purportion and inviting feelings of negativity because I heard we all doubt things at one time or another, my father gave me a blessing.
In it, I was told that my Father in Heaven could "point out every rock, bend back every branch. But how would you grow?"
Here's a moment of truth for you: My life has not been rocky or branchy or whatever compared to most. But we're not comparing. To me, my life is what I have made it. I made it hard or I made it fun or I made it principle driven or I made it great. I made it faith filled and religious. I've made my life. I have grown into my role as a steward of my life. God gave me the Earth. He gave me life. He gave me the gift of Choice. I have made my choices, and I will make more. The most important choice I have made is how I will handle my relationship with Him.
Okay, I was given it by birth and grew up with it all my life, but I still GAINED a testimony of it on my own. And I know it is my responsibility to continually learn. There are "Mormon culture" things that I just don't get. There are even a couple I don't agree with. But I understand that "Mormon culture" is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not the Church of CHrist. If I search the scriptures and ask my Father in Heaven for answers, I get them, green jello or not.
I have chosen my path and I KNOW it is important to have a path.