Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Recreating a Testimony, Recreating Oneself

Once upon a time, I was completely sure of my testimony in God. My eyes were on the celestial goal, I knew where I was going. I knew how to get there. My life wasn't easy. I battled with various temptations and sins, but I believed that if I just worked hard enough, tried hard enough, it would be enough.
"Now and then I confess you cross my mind.
Now and then I guess I have a little too much time.
I've changed my way of thinking.
I've tried hard to separate
what came too soon
from what came too late."
But I ended up throwing all my effort behind a series of ventures that not only failed to move me closer to my goal, but threw me backwards. They crumbled my beliefs in myself, made me realize that I was nothing. Literally nothing. All my years of effort to become what I wanted to be, all my sense of accomplishment was nothing. I had failed. Giving it my all was not enough. Was once again not enough.
"I don't think about me in terms of you.
I don't think about you in terms of us.
I don't think about us in terms of love."
Did I ever fail to believe that God was there? Did I ever doubt His existence? No. But I doubted my place in His eyes, doubted that I had what it took to join Him again. I looked at my life, my mistakes, and thought myself irredeemable. Surely I was not worth rebuilding from the dust of my dreams and hopes. Surely the Atonement could not heal this.
"I don't think about then in terms of now,
I found a way to start again somehow.
I don't think about what we thought it was
in terms of love."
Frantically, I tried to hold everything together, to allow my failure to make as little impact in the lives of my friends and family as possible. But I knew somewhere deep inside that I was as hollow as a dead cocoon, full of expired potential. I had spent everything foolishly, and now it was gone.
"I'm countin' on heaven to understand.
I didn't mean to go and mess up all the plans.
Sometimes you know where you should go
Before you know the way."
Gradually, without feeling it or seeing it at first, I came to realize what the Atonement really means. It means continuing forward even though I can't see how to go where the Lord wants me to go. It means realizing that I'm nothing, yet believing that God, the master potter, is powerful enough to create beauty from the dust of my soul.
"I'll bother with tomorrow
Once I've made it through today."
It means not looking forward any more than I have to, but enjoying where I am right now. It means fully and literally handing over the responsibility for creation back to Him. It means forgiveness, forgiveness of debt. It means letting Him hold the debt that others owe me, and allowing Him to pay me what I might be owed. It means no longer worrying about what should have been or could have been, or even what will be, but simply trusting Him.
"But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children."
Isaiah 49:25
Letting go.
"I don't think about black in terms of gray
Or revelations in the light of day."
Letting go, but no longer making excuses for others. Not automatically assuming that others' opinions and viewpoints have more merit than my own. Trusting myself, as well, to be a good person. Allowing myself to do my best without expecting perfection. No longer craving constant revelation and guidance because I don't trust my own ability to discern and choose.
"I don't think about cold in terms of ice
Or second chances happenin' twice."
It is total reliance on God for the outcome, constantly seeking His guidance, yes, but not waiting on it. It is moving forward with faith. Forgiving myself for not letting other people stomp me to the ground one more time. No longer making others' problems my problems. Saying good-bye, even if they can't. Allowing them to take their own salvation in their hands so that I can work out mine. Maybe it isn't "happily ever after," but someday it will be.

"And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done?

"Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

"And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen."
2 Nephi 31:19-21

*lyrics from SheDaisy, "In Terms of Love"


  1. Hi SR,
    You are Awesome.
    I sense (from your post) a lot of healing has already taken place in your life. I’m thankful for that healing taking place.
    Letting go and trusting in Heavenly Father, is faith. We are his children He knows who we truly are, and sees us through eternal eyes, He knows what we truly need. And now you understand that even clearer than you did before.
    Sometimes it takes hard times to help us understand what you are now expressing in your post.
    Joseph Smith made the statement “ Deep waters is what I am want to swim in, even fight upstream all the time.” Joseph knew that is where growth is. Satan never let Joseph alone.
    I know that it is difficult to appreciate the beautiful sunrise, when you are fighting for your very survival in the trenches, but there is a bright day coming.
    I believe Inside YOU is a great BRIGHT, powerful spirit. God will make you into something even more beautiful than you ever even imagined, you just have to choose to let him do this, and I believe that you are.

  2. Agree with all of the comments already given and second Allan's whole-heartedly.

    Give yourself a well deserved pat on the back for choosing to move forward, letting God help steer you in the right paths and for removing yourself as a hurdle from your journey. It takes real strength to recognize, own and want to change your current failings.

    Keep on moving. God loves you and so do your friends!

  3. You're like a phoenix - I can only imagine how great your renewal will be - brighter and stronger than before through the atonement.

    Wishing wonderful things for you!


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