4 And now I, Nephi, was grieved because of the hardness of their hearts, and also, because of the things which I had seen, and knew they must unavoidably come to pass because of the great wickedness of the children of men.
5 And it came to pass that I was overcome because of my afflictions, for I considered that mine afflictions were great above all, because of the destruction of my people, for I had beheld their fall.
6 And it came to pass that after I had received strength I spake unto my brethren, desiring to know of them the cause of their disputations.
(1 Nephi 15:4-6)
Nephi had just experienced a miraculous vision. He must have been overwhelmed by the spiritual knowledge he had gained. He was definitely deeply troubled at having learned that his descendants would fall into wickedness and be destroyed by the descendants of his brothers. It was a lot to take in, and he had not had time to absorb it fully.
Upon returning to his family’s camp, he found his brothers arguing about the very questions his vision had answered. He definitely had the knowledge to teach them. However, instead of engaging in conversation with them right away, he tells us that he only did so “after [he] had received strength.”
Some interactions require significant spiritual and emotional resources. We may recognize the need for a difficult conversation, but we may not be prepared to hold that conversation effectively. Nephi doesn’t tell us what he did to “receive strength,” but I can imagine him spending some time alone, eating a meal, and perhaps taking a nap. He probably also needed to think about what he wanted to say to his brothers, so that he was prepared for the conversation.
This week, I’ve had the opportunity to conduct several mid-year reviews with my employees. I’ve given them feedback on their performance and specific advice about how they can improve. Those conversations have gone very well, largely because both I and they have come prepared to have a constructive dialogue. However, I know from prior experience that conversations like that are not effective when I’m exhausted, stressed out, or unprepared. An awareness of my own physical, spiritual, or emotional fatigue can help me identify when I need to “receive strength” before tackling a difficult issue.
Today, when I encounter difficult circumstances, I will take a moment to evaluate my own readiness. If, like Nephi, I recognize that I am too exhausted or “grieved,” either from the circumstance itself or from my prior experiences, I’ll take the time to regain my strength before addressing the issue.