I have felt to address a touchy subject.
If you know me well, you know my tendency is to get along with others. My inclination is to avoid contentious situations and uplift and build others. At least that’s my intention. But when something has to be said, I’m not hesitant to speak my mind. That’s the situation now, I feel.
When a choir sings, the bass section doesn’t say “we want to sing soprano.” The soprano section doesn’t have to change its music because another octave sings differently and wants to usurp its position. Sopranos are able to do what they do, and just because they are different doesn’t mean other sections should also be sopranos. They can co-exist together and the combination of different sections makes the overall performance a much more beautiful and melodious outcome.
It’s not right or wrong. It is harmony.
Similarly, we are taught well in the scriptures that like a body, we are made up of many members with different talents, roles, and abilities. We can’t say to our peer that we have no need of you because you are different from me. In fact, God is the author of diversity, and our differences make us beautiful.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
So this is not a contest of who is best or most talented. If you feel that your talents are few or none, join the crowd. Many people feel that way. Comparing oneself against others is unproductive and can be harmful if your self-esteem takes a hit. Rather, compare yourself to the way you were and strive to develop favorable traits: patience, long-suffering, charity, and hope are godly attributes.
Even making small improvements is significant. But on the other hand, remember that you are not finished yet. You can’t expect yourself to be perfect in any area. We are all a work in progress. Just as a song cannot be judged while it is still being composed, your life, goals, and actual attainments are yet to be determined, your light, influence, and demeanor are in their infancy, so give yourself a break. The best things in life take time, effort, and determination.
God is not finished with you yet.
I read a blog the other day. It kind of shocked me. It discussed the bad decisions of fathers and husbands from the perspective of its author, a man. The situation he describes is the fulfillment of warning described in the book of Jacob.
He refers to the hopeless feeling that can come about because of the poor decisions of others, and in particular the bad decisions made by men. But the good news is that the Savior Jesus Christ atoned for the multitude of these mistakes and the afflicted will not lose their reward because of the bad decisions of another.
President Henry B. Eyring shares the following message of hope regarding the precarious situation many of these men and women and perhaps you feel following trying times.
“A prophet of God once offered me counsel that gives me peace. I was worried that the choices of others might make it impossible for our family to be together forever. He said, ‘You are worrying about the wrong problem. You just live worthy of the celestial kingdom, and the family arrangements will be more wonderful than you can imagine.'”
Because of Jesus Christ, the great plan of happiness is still within our reach. In fact, the Savior himself teaches us this principle over-and-over again in the scriptures.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2
For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; Doctrine and Covenants 19:16
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
“Because of His infinite love, Jesus Christ invites us to repent so that we will not have to suffer the full weight of our own sins,” teaches Elder Grow.
The Savior pleads on our behalf “Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
“Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.”
And after all of that, it doesn’t stop there. He has positioned men and women in our lives who can inspire, motivate, guide, and influence us for good.
When I was a young man in a small high school, our seminary class and teacher were able to organize a visit from a general authority, Sterling W Sill. His visit was a monumental event in my life.
I can and do enjoy his words even still today, and so can you.
Hundreds of discourses and thousands of speeches are available literally at our fingertips to inspire, lift, and build our testimonies of Jesus Christ. These resources along with the scriptures testify of him and provide sustenance, motivation, and gladness every day of our lives.
“We must not allow the holy scriptures to sit on our shelves unopened, while we continue to starve to death because we fail to practice those great success laws on which the eternal exaltation of our souls depends.
“May God help us to be more grateful for those thrilling, life-saving truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and may he help us to wholeheartedly eat the bread and more freely drink the waters of life that in his abundance our souls might live,” recounts Sterling W Sill in his discourse Medicine for the Soul.
With this multitude of testimonies available to us, let it not be said of us that we did not take advantage of this great resource.
One more story…when I was a young man, just a boy really, on occasion I noticed my father would donate blood. Now I didn’t really understand the implications of what he was doing then, but I noticed that it occurred on occasion. I must have asked him about it back in those days, but his matter-of-fact answer was about doing something he could do to help others.
Throughout my life, I noticed that my dad’s calling card was all about helping others, and he and I both have been recipients of the generous transfusions of many, whose offering saved both our lives. But as important and vital as the gift of blood is to extending life, we can also be fortified by and lift others with transfusions of character, courage, integrity, and any number of qualities.
‘Since that time I have thought a great deal about the wonderful men and women that I have met along life’s way who have given me another kind of transfusion. I have had some transfusions of faith, some transfusions of courage, some transfusions of industry. In fact, if you were to take away from me that which properly belonged to somebody else, there wouldn’t be very much of me left,” said Sterling W Sill.
Someone remarked that we are the average of the individuals with whom we spend the most time. I hope that is true.
Choose to harmonize with good examples online and in the scriptures.
You will be glad you did.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.