I have heard this story so many times that its significance in my life was a little lost to me. It is told in such a matter-of-fact manner, I never thought about the fits of anxiety that brave Nephi might have felt when he thought of the enormous task that lay before him.
I also didn't think about how many times - over and over again! - Nephi showed faith and trust in his Heavenly Father. It wasn't just, "You want me to build a ship, okay, then I must be able to do it. Tra-la! There is it!"
Time and again, he asks the Lord to show him what to do, where to get materials, how to shape the boat, and time and again, the Lord answers his prayers. Every step is a submission, and every step is met with further understanding.
This is why I have been thinking about Nephi: Heavenly Father asks things of me that I am not qualified for. Things that bring me great anxiety and keep me awake some nights. Things that I could attempt halfheartedly and then when I fail say, "Well, I tried. Didn't work."
Things that are no where near as difficult as building a boat that will have to carry my family across a huge body of water.
The blessing I have found, as Nephi did, is that if I am sure I have been commanded of the Lord (and I am), all I have to do is take one step at a time. I can do that.
pray for direction,
listen for direction,
act on direction (and see that it actually works! what a reward for faith!),
and onto the next step
until the task is completed despite my inadequacies.
I am a much smaller character in the building of the kingdom than Nephi was and my tasks are much more insignificant than his were, yet the Lord fulfills His promise to me with the same dedication that He did with Nephi.
"And it came to pass that I Nephi, said unto my father, I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they many accomplish the things which he commandeth them."
( and this weak child of man is so grateful for that)