Counter Intuitive Progress

So often in my life, I follow what looks like the best course of self-improvement: identify my weaknesses and root them out. It makes sense, right? After all, that’s what we do to weeds in a beautiful garden! Lately, though, I’m beginning to see that sometimes life works backwards from what mortal logic dictates is the best route.

  • There are a few people and events in life that I have carried with me far too long. I have fasted, prayed, cried, “angered,” and done just about everything else I can think of to let them go. I’ve used mental imagery and visualized myself letting go. They are still hanging around.
  • I live a busy life, and many times, I’m so tired and worn out that I can’t even think straight. I question why I do all the things I do. I feel put out that so many things have fallen on my shoulders. Instead of joy, all I can see is frustration and resentment.
  • I want to be perfect. Even though I know that it’s not humanly possible, I just can’t seem to stop myself from trying. Of course, that leads to its own set of frustrations.

Reading and following self-help advice hasn’t helped. Applying counsel from conference talks didn’t help, either. I had been completely at a loss. I thought I was doing exactly what the gospel required, and it wasn’t working!

I finally broke down to the point of becoming ready to accept these aspects of my life as that refining weakness that I will have to carry for the rest of my life. That’s when the Spirit started speaking.

The reason these things are still hanging around in my life is that I was trying to solve them. I was working hard. I was searching for answers. It was ALL ABOUT ME!

I have considered myself a deeply committed follower of Christ for almost 30 years, and this personal insight shocked me. I started praying, reading scriptures, and searching conference talks for different insights.

That’s when I realized one of the most important lessons of my life:

This life is all about learning to partner with Christ. We need to make him an essential part of every day and every thing we do. When we have a problem, we have duty to turn it over to Christ by applying the Atonement — accepting that he is the one that gives us the strength and the wisdom to overcome. Life was never meant to be a solo deal, it has always been meant to be a partnership — with Christ.