Friday, May 1, 2015

Power to Change

"For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved." —1 Nephi 6:4

I've been thinking a great deal of conversion, of what it really means to change a life around, purify yourself, and come to the God of sacrifice. Many times in my life, I've had reason to doubt myself, my conviction, and most especially my capacity to be saved.

So often, we think about missionary work, conversion, baptisms in terms of trackable numbers. Goals. I spent most of my mission wearing myself out against this perception of what it means to proclaim the gospel. And I get it. Numbers can be measured, goals can be set, failure or success can be determined. But the older I get, the more I live through, and the more I come to terms with having to live with my own imperfections, the more I realize that numbers can never measure the capacity of a human heart to change. And none of us have a right to decide whether or not a heart can change—not even when that heart is our own.

My life is so busy, swamped with things that need doing and people who need to feel my love. And I never really feel up to the tasks. What I would give to be able to bind wounded hearts, mourn with the mourning, reach out and touch someone and maybe even lift them a little closer to the Savior I adore. But after trying for most of my life, I often feel no closer to understanding the process of turning to God.

And without understanding it in myself, it's nearly impossible to understand it in others.

So all I'm left to testify to is this: people can change. Hearts can be made new in Christ. No matter what we have done or who we are, Christ has given us the gift of forgiveness—to forgive ourselves and those who hurt us. It is a painful, often lonely gift. But it is also the strongest power we have to effect change.

So on the days when we feel worthless or incompetent, trapped in our own weakness, unable to find anything we have to offer that couldn't be done much better by someone else, it's time to let ourselves feel the pain and turn it over to God. We are worthless, but He is not. And He has taught us of our infinite value.

Do we trust Him enough?

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