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Brigham Young University-Idaho Devotional

April 19, 2011



"Be Where You Are Supposed to Be

When You Are Supposed to Be There"

Sue L. Clark

Brigham Young University–Idaho

Sue L. Clark 



I am grateful to each of you for attending devotional today. It’s great to be here with you and feel your enthusiasm and goodness.


In preparing what I could share with you today, I recall a piece of advice I received at devotional when I was your age and attending BYU in Provo. I don’t remember exactly who gave this advice, and I don’t know why the 14 words given were so deeply embedded in my memory. I can imagine that there were angels in heaven who knew that the memory of those words would influence generations of Clarks to come, so they sat on my shoulder and said:  “Remember this; you’re going to really need this advice.”


This is the advice:  “Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there.” 


Now, imagine that you’re me, back when I was your age. And maybe it’s not so hard to imagine because your own circumstances are probably a little bit similar. At the time I so powerfully internalized that advice, I worked for custodial services every day from 4 a.m. until 7 a.m. and had scheduled my first class for 7 a.m. It seemed logical at the time—since I was on campus early, schedule all my classes early. However, as you can guess, it wasn’t that easy; and the temptation every day after work was to find an empty recliner or cot in one of the women’s restrooms on campus and skip that first class. If I did that and fell asleep, I could easily miss the whole morning of classes. So I had to resist the temptation and walk sleepily to class repeating to myself, “Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there.”


But there was another even more important way the advice influenced me during those college years. Following the advice helped me develop a pattern of always attending my church meetings. I had followed that pattern at home with my family, but now I was on my own, and I was tempted to sleep in sometimes on Sundays. Again I resisted the temptation; and, with those words echoing in my memory, I attended Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, and Relief Society every Sunday.


I also attended my family home evening group meetings and activities regularly. And I can tell you that habit had direct positive impact on the lives of my children. That’s literally true, because it was in my family home evening group that I found their dad - my true love. Where would our children be today if I had skipped out on family home evening?


Let me tell you of a time, later in my life, when having developed these habits was of particular importance. I was an exhausted mother of seven children, and the two oldest boys were not sure they wanted to attend church. It was difficult to get them and all the other children ready and out the door each Sunday morning to be in sacrament meeting. The stress was heightened by the fact that we needed to be there a few minutes early as my calling at the time was sacrament meeting chorister. The stress was further heightened by the fact that President Clark served at that time as the bishop of an inner-city ward and didn’t attend our meetings.  In fact, we didn’t see him all day on Sundays. 


Well, put yourself in my shoes again at that time. I was tempted so often to give up. I rationalized in my mind ways to get out of that stressful Sunday morning routine. I could take the children later, in time for Primary. But the words rang loudly in my mind during that time, “Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there,” and I knew that was true for my children too. So with all seven children on board, we went, a little harried, about 5 minutes early for church every Sunday. What a blessing that has been in the lives of my children—and especially in the lives of those reluctant sons who today attend church regularly with their own young children.


I’d like to pass this same advice on, so I say to you, “Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there.”  Be there for all of your ward’s meetings and activities. When you’re supposed to be in class, be there. When you’re supposed to be at family home evening, be there. Be there for your work and service commitments. Be there for your roommates. Go through your day saying to yourself, “Where am I supposed to be?” And then be there. I pray you will always be found where you are supposed to be. Developing and keeping that habit will bless your lives and help to keep you on the straight and narrow path.


Alma, teaching the People of Gideon, after having preserved their lives in war states:


. . . And now because your faith is strong . . . concerning the things which I have spoken, great is my joy.


For as I said unto you from the beginning, that I had much desire that ye were not in the state of dilemma like your brethren, even so I have found that my desires have been gratified.


For I perceive that ye are in the paths of righteousness; I perceive that ye are in the path which leads to the kingdom of God; yea, I perceive that ye are making his paths straight.1


It is my prayer that when we are visited by the prophets of God we will be found here at BYU–Idaho to be as the people of Gideon—steadfast on the path which leads to the kingdom of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 


1 Alma 7:17 -19