There are times in life when we feel especially vulnerable and unsure about how to handle the challenges that lie ahead. BYU-Idaho 's Environment, Health and Safety Coordinator Byron Gilbert has learned proper planning, practice and preparedness can help us feel more confident when we face difficult decisions or crises.   

“People tend to make poor decisions in high stress emergency situations,” Gilbert said during his BYU-Idaho Devotional address. “However, if people have thought through their actions and created a plan, and even better, practiced that plan many times before the emergency, then the decisions have already been made, good habits have been created, and the response is typically much quicker and more effective.” 

Gilbert focused on the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 27:15-18 that lists the individual pieces of spiritual armor God invites us to wear every day. He compared the armor to the personal protective equipment he wears when working in hazardous environments and noted there’s a reason why safety equipment is required in certain places. 

After reading students’ responses to the prompt on the pre-devotional discussion board, Gilbert realized wearing the metaphorical “armor of God” has protected people from harm, but not pain. In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Gilbert explained he thinks the reason for this is that pain and sorrow are natural elements of the human experience. 

“It’s not about getting rid of all pain,” Gilbert said. “Pain still exists. We’re here to experience pain in this life, but what do we do with that pain? How do we grow from it? There’s no armor that exists anywhere that can completely protect you from any sort of discomfort or pain… but it can protect us so we can continue to grow, learn, and be who our Heavenly Father knows we can be.”  

Gilbert pointed out that making small preparations, like praying and studying the scriptures, will help us prepare for the pains and conflicts we’ll encounter every day.  

“It’s these little decisions that really make a big difference, and that’s truly how we make sure that we have the ‘whole armor of God,’ by making sure we have the little pieces put together,” he said.  

Working as a safety coordinator, Gilbert has learned that a critical element to an emergency management plan is having an “all hazards approach.” This means that when the small things are in place, we don’t necessarily need to be prepared for every possible emergency or crisis because the foundation we’ve created beforehand will help us adapt to unexpected situations.   

“We don’t have to worry about the more advanced stuff, [because] when we’re making the little decisions all along, then the big stuff isn’t big,” Gilbert said. “It’s just part of the learning process … those little, everyday choices give us the basis and the strength to move forward.”  

Gilbert clarified that even when we are prepared, we won’t always know how to handle everything that comes our way, so it’s okay to not have all the answers. In those moments, we can turn to others for help and guidance. And with help from others, we can find renewed strength to face the challenge and try again.   

“Keep moving, keep going forward,” Gilbert said. “It doesn’t have to be big steps, it can be anything, and anything is progress. Our Father in Heaven loves us, and recognizes that, and will bless us as we make any kind of progress back to Him.”