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Monday, July 14, 2008

Do your best

My cousin recently graduated from seminary (way to go Laura!) to become a Lutheran pastor. Anyway, recently she posted a sermon on her blog, and it made me realize that I don't write enough uplifting things on my blog. So, this is my first in an attempt to write more uplifting things interspersed with my complaining and random thoughts.

I had a profound realization recently that I thought I'd share. I can't count the number of times I've heard someone give a talk or teach a lesson at church and say, "You don't have to be perfect -- you just have to do your best." They always say this as a supposed way to make me feel better about not being perfect, and yet somehow that has never been a comfort to me since I'm not doing my best. I want to do my best, I think I'll do my best, I make plans to do my best and then I DON'T do my best. What is wrong with me?I know that even my best isn't perfect, and I don't even do my best. Aaarrrrgghhh!!!

Well, recently I had a little inspiration to lighten my mental load. Wouldn't doing my best be a bit of perfection? Not the Savior kind of perfect, but the Denise kind of perfect? And if I were doing my best and being perfect, what need would I have for the Atonement? Obviously Heavenly Father knew that I would have weakness and imperfection, and therefore he provided a Savior. If I do my best I have no need for repentance or forgiveness.

Now, I'm not saying this to justify NOT trying to do our best. However, I realized that a better phrase is, "Do a little better." If I do a little better every day, every week, every month, then I am on the way to doing my best. Instead of getting discouraged that I'm not my best self, I can take comfort in knowing that I am progressing as long as I am doing a little better.

I had this thought (which maybe is a "duh" topic for everyone else), and it brought great peace to my mind. Then I picked up an Ensign (Dec. 2007) and it had a talk from Elder Neal A. Maxwell from May 1976. It has a quote that perfectly describes what I've been feeling, "I thank Him for helping me, even forgiving me, when I fall short, when I testify of things known but which are beyond the border of my behavior, and for helping me to advance that border, bit by bit." I love that a talk from 1976 can inspire me even today. I'm so grateful to have a prophet today and to have 12 wonderful apostles to lead and guide us through a troubled world.

I'm also grateful for family and friends like all y'all who help me and encourage me as I try to advance my own border bit by bit. I'm also grateful that this little thought helped me understand and appreciate our Savior's Atonement even more so that I no longer have to feel bad when someone says, "Just do your best." I may cringe a little, but instead I'll just try to think of how I can advance my border next.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Dear Denise,

Thank you for this uplifting post. We all need each other in the Gospel, in the Church to help each other along. Your thoughts helped me - and I love the quote by Elder Maxwell. Thank you for sharing your testimony on your blog.

Melissa :)