Diane Reich speaks about reluctance to grow

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BYU professor Diane Reich speaks to students in a devotional address on June 6, 2017. (Danielle Jardnie)

Division Coordinator in the BYU School of Music and associate professor of voice Diane Reich addressed students in a devotional on June 6 about what it means to be reluctant to grow and how to overcome that reluctance.

She began her remarks discussing how the phrase “reluctant to grow” was one of the first things she thought of when she was asked to give this devotional.  She relayed the definition of the word “reluctant,” which includes synonyms like “unwilling” and “hesitant.”

Reich has accomplished a lot, including pursuing a doctorate while also working two jobs, bearing two children and singing operas on the main stage at one of the top music schools in the country. But, she mentioned she may be afraid of the process of growing.

“It is hard to grow, it can be painful to grow,” Reich said. “Thus, it seems, my proud and stubborn heart is, indeed, hesitant to grow.”

Reich gave the scriptural examples of Jonah and Laman and Lemuel, who were all “reluctant growers.”  All three of these people ended up doing some of the things the Lord asked, but they didn’t allow themselves to change or grow in the process, according to Reich.

“I have learned that Heavenly Father does not just want me to do something, He wants me to become something,” Reich said. “When I strive to become, then will my heart turn towards the things that I must do.”

Reich shared three important opportunities in her life during which she grew immensely.

She first discussed her mission to the Utah Ogden Mission, which was disappointing for a girl who grew up in Orem and was hoping for a more exotic call.

“Heavenly Father needed me to learn that in order to serve Him, I needed to be humble, and here was a small dose just to get me started,” Reich said.

She ended up loving her mission and the people she served. It ended up changing the direction of her life, including where she went to graduate school and then met her husband.

Another opportunity for growth Reich mentioned was serving on the BYU Women’s Conference Committee. She said she felt out of place and wasn’t sure what she could offer to this group of influential and intimidating women. Reich began to realize she truly wanted to become more like these women who surrounded her but knew that would require change and growth on her part.

“If I was to become a Woman of God, I needed to allow myself to become more, to be uprooted, to dig a little deeper,” Reich said.

The third experience she mentioned was being able to lead a study abroad to Vienna, Austria through the BYU School of Music. She had never had a study-abroad experience as a student or a faculty, and only had eight months to plan the trip. Reich initially was reluctant to accept the opportunity but ended up growing and loving the experience.

“I cringe to think that my hesitation may have robbed us of those experiences, and our individual opportunities for growth,” Reich said.

Reich then mentioned three fundamental elements to help foster change and growth: prayer, scripture study and fasting.

Reich closed her remarks with a commitment to embrace growth and change in her own life.

“Just as I have confessed to be a reluctant grower, I now pledge to you, and maybe with you, and pledge to my Heavenly Father, that I do not choose to be like Laman and Lemuel,” Reich said.  “Instead, I choose to be like Nephi, to ‘go and do,’ and more importantly, to become what the Lord commands.”

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