Some of my biggest moral growth has come after having bad experiences trying to get along with people. These bad experiences led to my admitting and confronting the codependency that has marred my life since my early teenage years (or before).
It wounds my heart deeply to know that I have hurt someone else, acted in a way that is below the standards I try to keep, and to recognize that my faults and failures have wounded someone else. These are the times that I spend a lot of time searching the depths of my heart and my soul to see what it will take to change me so that I can avoid similar behaviors in the future.
Through these experiences, I have learned just how loving and eager to help God really is. He wants me to be better, He wants me to be stronger, and He wants me to learn the things I need to know and do to live according to the standards that He has set.
Lately, that help and love has come to me in the form of three phrases from the scriptures.
What Lackest I Yet? (Luke 18:18-23)
This phrase comes from the New Testament story of the rich young ruler. I believe he had great intentions in his heart — I think he really wanted to follow God and was looking to the Savior for the next step. Sadly, he choked because his riches meant more to him than God.
Asking God questions brings answers. The answer to this kind of question usually brings challenges. For instance, I have been asked, through the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, to fast regularly for my ex-husband, as well as for someone who truly has no use for me. It’s a sacrifice to go without food for 24 hours, but I do it. I do it for two reasons: I have the faith that God knows something I don’t and these requests have a purpose, and I have found that it’s really not a sacrifice because I am being rewarded in many ways and have a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Savior because of my willingness to do what I have been asked.
So, as nervous as I can sometimes be about asking this kind of question, I recognize it’s a necessary part of my growth as a disciple, and I keep asking from time to time.
For a great sermon that used the example of the rich young ruler, see “Settle This in Your Hearts.”
Lord, Is It I? (Matthew 26:20-22)
In early October, Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a beautiful sermon on applying this example to ourselves. It has changed my worship and my thinking, and it has exposed a lot of room for personal growth.
As President Uchtdorf was studying his scriptures, he was struck by the way the disciples responded when the Savior announced that one of them would betray them. Instead of looking around the room and pointing fingers, they because to ask “Is it I?” Somehow, they recognized that they had not reached perfection — even after following the Savior for years — and could be led to totally turn their backs on him.
President Uchtdorf made a point that completely resonated in my heart and hasn’t left — when I begin to find myself thinking that I wish someone I know were listening to and applying the gospel knowledge that I am hearing or reading, it’s time to look a little closer to home. I need to ask, “Lord, is it I?” and refocus on the places where I am falling short.
Pointing fingers hurt. Inspiring by example and loving encouragement lift.
I Will Go and Do (1 Nephi 3:7)
The two questions above are useless without something that the scriptures call “real intent.” It means that, when I ask the question, I’m ready to do whatever I’m asked as the answer. If I need to change, I dedicate myself to change. If I have to let go of the way I want to do things, I let go. And, hardest of all for me, if I have to walk away from circumstances, I walk. The important factor is to be willing to do whatever I am asked.
Again, this is not easy, and it takes faith. That’s when I move on to the next part of the verse: “I know the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he prepareth a way for them to accomplish” it. I can if I’m willing to be humble and follow.
Here’s another great sermon: “I’ll Go Where You Want me to Go“
This song touched me to the core with a sense of how deeply God loves me. I want to share it with you. Pay attention to the clip at the end — for a small moment, I could imagine what it might feel like to fall into my Heavenly Father’s arms at the end of my mortal existence, and it brought tears to my eyes.