It is not fashionable to speak of obedience or submitting to anybody or anything, but we must in order to give Christ all that we are, all that we have and all that we hope to have, Brigham Young University President Jeffrey Holland says.

"It sounds feeble and wimpish (to be obedient and submissive)," Holland said Tuesday at the university's first winter semester devotional. "It just isn't the American way. We are less likely to check the film in our camera than our faith."In his exalted state, Christ spoke to the people first of his obedience and loyalty to his Father, Holland said.

"That will be the first and most important thing he will want to know about us when we meet," he said. "Did we obey, did we submit?

"It is required of each of us to kneel when we may not want to kneel, to bow when we may not want to bow, and to confess when we may not want to confess."

Holland said students come to a university in part to cultivate self-reliance and independence. "Such freedom is what a university is about, especially this one. We want you to be strong and as enlightened and intelligent as possible. But in one breath we plead with you to be submissive and dependent, and in the next breath we ask you to become self-reliant and independent."

It is necessary to be willing to place all a person has - ambitions, pride, stubbornness and vanity - on the altar of God in silent submission and willingly walk away, he said.

"Some of the commandments are not easy, and we find that they are much more than we bargained for."

And sometimes it is difficult to submit to the great tribulations when others triumph, but God has a very good memory, he said. "Sometimes we underestimate the Lord's willingness to hear our cry."

Speaking about the Lord's willingness to answer prayers, Holland's wife, Patricia, said, "Sometimes in the sowing, reaping and sifting it seems as if God says `no' or `not now' when we wish he would say, `Yes, right now.'

"In my life, when I had disappointing delays, if I waited long enough to see, if I knocked long enough and waited, I discovered that the Lord's no's were preludes to a greater yes."

Everyone faces questions about his role, purpose and course in life, she said. Questions about what to be, what to do, where to work and who to marry are common.

"Take heart if you are still asking those questions. We all do. We always want to know what's next."

Every element of the Creation has its own purpose, and everyone has a designated role and purpose in life, she said. "Our Heavenly Father and Mother know what they intended us to become to fill our part in the plan."

Mrs. Holland compared that plan to an exquisite tapestry. "Each of us plays a part in that magnificent eternal piece of art. It is very difficult to assess our own contribution, but in all we don't see our work the way God sees it."

If nothing makes sense in a person's life, much like a piece of the tapestry, it is because the development process is ongoing and the piece is unfinished.

"One day we will know what our heavenly parents know. We are given the chance to make a perfect contribution in the divine design.

"The Lord needs all of us with our blemishes, weaknesses and limitations in what we can be. We must rejoice in our uniqueness and difference. What God really wants us to be is someone's sister, brother and friend."