The importance of developing skills now


Suzanne Julian, a BYU librarian, suggests that now is the time to develop important skills gained through educational opportunities, regardless of how irrelevant they may seem during the pursuit toward future careers.

Suzanne Julian, a BYU librarian gave the devotional address.
Suzanne Julian, a BYU librarian, gave the university Devotional address Feb. 11.

President Henry B. Eyring was given the opportunity to learn Spanish as a child from his father but never saw the importance and has expressed regret for not seizing the opportunity. Julian compared this to her experience learning about using Venn diagrams in college. She forgot about that knowledge until she became a librarian years later and needed the information to teach students.

Julian learned from that experience that there are times in life that we are directed toward experience that does not fit into our current life plans but that will manifest its usefulness later in life.

Ali Noorda, a junior studying public relations, thought the address was powerful. “It is sad to see students here at BYU let the amazing opportunities it provides them pass by. The best feeling I’ve ever had is that moment when something clicks in a class and you realize it’s a skill or thought process you’ll be able to utilize for the rest of your life.”

The example of Nephi retrieving the plates from Jerusalem with guidance from the Spirit, even after two failed attempts, shows how it is important to rely on the Spirit to know which information surrounding us is important for our present lives or for our future lives.

“Once we receive the guidance, we obey in faith knowing that even if we cannot see its importance now, the Lord has a purpose for the direction we receive,” Julian said.

She told stories of two LDS soldiers fighting during World War II; one of the soldiers was from Germany and fought hard to return home to his loving family. The older soldier was from Utah and led church services with other members during their captivity in the Philippines until his ship sank.

These two men were Julian’s ancestors and inspired her to follow a challenging path led by the Spirit. She traveled to Vienna and Germany to complete her own family history work and help others complete their as well.

While in Vienna, Julian worked with a family that did not speak English but needed her help to digitize their carefully kept family records. During the six-week stay, Julian learned faith and commitment to the gospel despite life’s challenges as she completed the difficult task.

Julian and her mother continued the family history trip into Germany to complete the work of the fallen soldier from World War II.

“I loved her message because it demonstrated to me the blessings that come from our willingness to accept our Heavenly Father’s influence in our lives,” said Christopher Lloyd, a sophomore studying accounting. “It’s impossible to know where the hand of the Lord will guide us next, but proving to him that we are ready for his guidance gives the Lord the opportunity to bless us in ways I cannot currently imagine.”

Through the experience Julian gained as a librarian, and with the help of others, she was able to locate the necessary information and fulfill her mother’s requests.

“Just as I was successful in accomplishing a hard task through the guidance of the Spirit and people placed in my path to help me, I know that you too can succeed with the seemingly impossible tasks you are given,” Julian said. “If we are obedient to the promptings of the Spirit, we will be led to the knowledge we need to succeed and to accomplish hard things.”

There will be no Devotional on Feb. 18 because of the holiday schedule.

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