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Paul Caldarella spoke at Tuesday’s Devotional about responding when the Lord calls each of us to do something that may be difficult. Caldarella is director of the Brigham Young University Positive Behavior Support Initiative and associate professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education. 

Caldarella reflected on pioneer day. For him, his pioneer ancestors were not Latter-day Saints fleeing religious persecution but were impoverished immigrants from Sicily. He determined that pioneers took an incredible journey and sacrifice because they heeded the call of the Lord.

“When we are called of the Lord, we can withstand such challenges,” said Caldarella.

Though our challenges are not the same as the pioneers, the principles are the same.

“The Lord calls us in different ways, to do different things, at different times in our lives, but always with the same purpose — to serve Him, and in serving Him we are blessed, as are those around us,” said Caldarella.

The call from God can come as personal revelation, or through church leaders.

“Perhaps you can recall ways you have felt called by the Lord or how He may be calling to you now,” said Caldarella.

Caldarella taught that God calls to us when we are living worthily and even when we sin, make mistakes or fear.

“His calls to us at such times may be particularly important, as they often prompt us to get back on the path that leads to true happiness, joy, and peace,” said Caldarella.

Caldarella listened to God’s call to him during his undergraduate years. His friends filled their time with activities that brought immediate pleasure but not lasting peace or happiness. Caldarella felt he should stop associating with them. It took great effort, but he did it. He felt the call again to move from Massachusetts to Utah to attend graduate school.

 “We may have some fears and doubts, but if we have faith, and heed the call, all will work out,” said Caldarella.

Because Jesus Christ felt our afflictions, infirmities and weaknesses, he can and will help us accomplish what God asks of us.

When faced with the decision to follow a prompting from God, fear and weakness can negatively influence that decision. Caldarella said humility can help.

“Humility is needed to help us respond to the feelings of weakness we often experience when we receive and heed the call of the Lord,” said Caldarella. “The Lord is there to help us as we strive to follow Him.”

By telling the story of Jonah, Caldarella explained what happens when we reject the Lord’s call.

“While we can choose to run from the call of the Lord, He will continue to try to help us turn to Him and serve those who we are called to serve, and in doing so be blessed ourselves,” said Caldarella.

Caldarella shared his conversion story, teachings from Latter-day prophets, how he met his wife, scripture stories and an experience when his father passed away. Each of his examples taught that listening to God’s direction can be difficult and inconvenient but that happiness and peace are the result.

Next Devotional: Kirt Saville, director of the School of Music

Kirt Saville, director of the School of Music, will deliver the Devotional address on Tuesday, August 1, at 11:05 a.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall. Saville's remarks will be broadcast live on BYUtv, (and archived for on-demand streaming), KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYU Radio, and will be archived on