|"I'm a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it."|
In my next business photo shoot, I threw this shirt on as the final shot as I thought there might be a good time to tell people more about my religion.
But...I've had this picture on file for 2 years, and I never could bring myself to share it.
Because I wasn't perfect.
And if I shared a photo with myself wearing a shirt that proclaimed how "Mormon" I was, then surely people would think I was perfect. Surely they would think I never make mistakes. Without a doubt they would think I don't fall short of living what I KNOW to the tee.
My thoughts on this topic pivoted dramatically this morning. As I was doing my makeup and hair in the bathroom, I performed my ritualistic search on YouTube for "Best LDS Talks." After a few moments of scrolling through the list of talks I had already watched, His Grace Is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox caught my eye. I hit play and continued my work in the mirror.
After only 5 minutes of listening to this talk, my gaze softened as I saw myself in the mirror. Perhaps I'm not as weak of a person as my self-talk makes myself out to be every day. Perhaps I had greatly neglected the center-most part of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, the fact that my Savior had paid the price of my sin so that I could keep getting better. This doesn't mean that He or anyone else should expect me to be perfect, but that He expects me to use His gift. He asks me to appreciate His gift so I don't have to feel like a failure. But that He literally picks me up again and again whenever I fall. . . when I ask and allow Him to.
"In all of these cases there should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. When we understand grace, we understand that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). When we understand grace, we can, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, 'continue in patience until [we] are perfected;" (D&C 67:13). --Brad Wilcox
You see, that's what I didn't understand. I didn't understand that by saying "I live it" I wasn't professing myself to be perfect; rather, I was professing my LOVE for my Savior and my commitment to keep trying!
When I say "I live it" I'm saying I trust in the peace and hope of His gospel which allows me to make mistakes, but to do my absolute best to learn, grow, change, and become more like Him every day. His grace allows me that new start whenever I yield my heart and humility to Him.
By saying "I live it" I am professing that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. It enables me, it empowers me, it cleanses me, it allows me another chance.
As many of us who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints feel the weight of our own perceived expectations upon us, we are counseled over and over again by our beloved Prophet and Apostles to turn to the Savior. Doing so is a reminder that if salvation and being cleansed from sin is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. (Let's remember that sin ranges from the greatest of great to the smallest of small, and anything that is sin makes us unclean and unable to return to live in God' presence).
Turning to the Savior is the way we gain hope and confidence that life, with its seemingly savage heartaches, pain, and trials, is worth it. Even I have wondered this at times as I have been faced with difficulty that, at the time, seemed insurmountable. I've seen the same things in others very close to me. Turning to the Savior is the empowerment to be more than we can be on our own and grants us the hope to hang on for just a little bit longer until the next respite and perspective arrives.
My heart has changed. I felt a small piece of heaven this morning. When I feel that little flutter or hope and light in my soul, I know that is the Holy Ghost, God's gift to me and the third member of the Godhead. The Holy Ghost speaks truth to me and to all other who have received it. The Light of Christ is the first intuition and "conscience" that pricks our hearts and helps us be good people. That gift is for all mankind. It is how we each first gain insights and inklings of truth that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ contains the fulness of what we need to know and do at this chapter of the earth and our own mortality.
Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, lives.
He will come again.
I am looking forward to that day.
Though terror and fear continue to rise in our world, the signs of the times are witnesses that He is coming. We don't know when, but we must be ready. We must be waiting. We must be alert and attentive.
I am doing all I can to be on the winning team. He is my #1 cheerleader (and yours too!) and given us the way to overcome our own self-defeat in behavior and thought.
Now, I can say confidently . . .
I'm a Mormon.
I know it. I live it. I love it.