Interviewing your best friend is an interesting and unique opportunity. I have had the chance to interview my friend Chelsie Hightower a couple of times. The first time, a couple of years ago, we sat in my living room, laughing and crying together as Chelsie shared her story with me and subsequently with thousands of readers of the Deseret News. Chelsie and I have conversations about life on a regular basis. She is one of those people that is really great at going deep with people fast, and from our first conversation, I’ve been impressed by her love for God and her desire to do God’s will in her life. Still, I recognize that there is an added element of vulnerability required to share deeply personal parts of our lives with complete strangers.
This time around as we talked, I was struck by Chelsie’s reply when I asked her what she has learned about God’s love from her experiences over the last decade of her young life. I think many times the beauty of the difficult things we experience in this life is that they allow us to understand God’s love in a way we didn’t previously. I’m grateful to Chelsie for sharing her experience with anxiety on this week’s episode of All In because I think we need more honesty in regard to our faith. In that honesty, I think we will find a Heavenly Father whose love, although different than we imagined, is very familiar to us.
Read an excerpt from this week’s episode below or listen to the entire episode here.
Morgan Jones: Oftentimes [the way God works in our lives] doesn't look exactly like we imagined that it would look, but we do make it out, and that is through the grace of God and through the grace of Jesus Christ. And so, before I get to the last question, Chels, I just wondered what have you learned about God and about God's love from this experience that you've described?
Chelsie Hightower: That it's so much different than I thought it was. Growing up in the Church and in Utah, I think you think that you earn His love by being righteous all the time and by being that picture perfect, “Molly Mormon.” It's not that I had that perfect family. I mean, if I went into my home life, that would be a whole different podcast, but I think in my head, it was like, “Well, I can't control somebody else's agency, but I can continue to be faithful always.” I just think I never saw myself struggling with faith because it always was a strength of mine. And so to be battling and struggling with something that is your strength was a really hard pill for me to swallow and wrap my head around, and which is why I think I felt like I had I lost—because I thought that this was my battle and my weapon against the world. And this was my tool to success, and now I'm struggling with the one thing that I knew that I'd had. And I think that I felt like—whether I could articulate it at that time or not—I'd felt like I'd lost God's trust in me and His love for me, which is crazy if I'm talking to somebody else about it because I'm like, "What? That's so crazy. Like, of course He's gonna love you always.” But learning that His love extends to every person, no matter what and no matter what they do, no matter what they say, or the bad decisions they make that that love is endless, and that love will never fade. And so, I think I learned that His love is far different than I thought it was. In a very real sense, it doesn't matter how many times you've messed up, or how far you fall, that love is always there.
Listen to the full episode here.