In President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk, You Matter to Him, he spoke of a great paradox of man: “compared to God, we are nothing; yet we are everything to God.” To me these have always been some of the most beautiful principles of His gospel – that He knows and loves even me – one little person in a sea of faces and people and lives. And He doesn’t just know who I am, He loves me and cares for me deeply. Deeply enough that He gave His only begotten Son for me!
Then, Bro Richardson deflated the rubber glove and said, “This is the other kind of pride – the ‘I’m not worth anything’ kind of pride.” President Uchtdorf described this by saying, “[The adversary] attempts to focus our sight on our own insignificance until we begin to doubt that we have much worth. He tells us that we are too small for anyone to take notice, that we are forgotten—especially by God.”
Bro Richardson concluded by saying that neither having the rubber glove puffed up, nor having it deflated was going to be good for us. The solution was to completely remove the rubber glove from our head.
“How much larger your life would be
if your self were smaller in it.”
~G. K. Chesterton
I think that quote by G. K. Chesterton sums it up quite perfectly. President Uchtdorf said, “What matter[s]to [Heavenly Father is] that [we are] doing the best [we can], that [our] heart [is] inclined toward Him, and that [we are] willing to help those around [us].”
In President Uchtdorf’s talk from the General Relief Society Broadcast gave us a few things that if we will remember, will help us avoid having a rubber glove on our head.
When I heard the things that President Uchtdorf spoke about in his Relief Society talk, I couldn’t help but think what a timely message it was. I have been noticing a general despair among women in the Church these days (and I have by no means been exempt) and it touched me deeply that a prophet of God would know exactly what we needed to hear, and say it so perfectly.
You can read the whole talk on your own, and I highly recommend you do, so I won’t worry about quoting everything – but I will share the parts that meant the most to me.
I loved that he started by saying, “God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.” Which I took to mean that we can stop beating ourselves up for not being perfect – because God already knows it. And then President Uchtdorf followed up with, “God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.” How often have I looked at a family and thought they were “perfect”! The irony of comparing ourselves to others is that we almost always end up playing to one or the other of the extremes President Uchtdorf spoke about in his talk about the paradox of man – we are either comparing our weaknesses to the strengths of others (thus downplaying our own worth), or we are comparing our strengths to the weaknesses of others (thus convincing ourselves that we are somehow worth more). This reminds me again of that quote from the article on refinement I posted a while ago. Talking about ourselves and talking about others are both ways to be prideful. But talking about ideas, doctrine, books, etc are the things that will inspire us to be more like the Savior.
I feel this way a lot, “Dear sisters, many of you are endlessly compassionate and patient with the weaknesses of others. Please remember also to be compassionate and patient with yourself.”
I wrote about good and foolish sacrifices a few weeks ago when I got back from a Ragnar Relay. If you haven’t read that post, I would ask that you do. It was a really significant learning experience for me. But as a disclaimer, I want to add this bit from President Uchtdorf’s talk: “Every person and situation is different, and a good sacrifice in one instance might be a foolish sacrifice in another.” Although I can’t for the life of me figure out when running a race like that would be a good sacrifice, maybe someone can help me see.
I am usually pretty good at being happy now – I am rarely waiting for my “golden ticket” – in fact, I wouldn’t even know what my “golden ticket” is! I enjoy my life in the moment so much that I have to continuously remind myself not to “temper [my] goals.” I am usually striving for the righteous desires of my heart, but I think that in my complacency and happiness with my life how it is, I sometimes slow down when I could be stepping up the pace a little. I am working hard to find that balance between enjoying what I have now, and working toward something better. My husband is usually the one waiting for his golden ticket, but I am the one who is sometimes too content with one bar of chocolate that I don’t even worry about buying more chocolate in an attempt to get a golden ticket.
“My dear sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is not an obligation.” When President Uchtdorf mentioned this principle, I immediately thought of people who say things like “I can’t do that, I’m Mormon.” or “I have to serve a mission, because I’m a Mormon guy.” I am working on writing down a statement that describes “why [I] committed to making [the gospel] a foundational part of [my life]” I think that if I can come up with a good “why” statement, the gospel will “[cease] to become a burden and, instead, [become] a joy and a delight.” I would love to say that it is a joy and a delight, and that it is precious and sweet – but I know that it can become more precious to me, if I will really focus on the why.
In the Mormon Messages above, go straight to 1:24 and listen to what he says about serving a mission. That is what President Uchtdorf is talking about.
“No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.”
I wish everyone could really understand that quote – God loves you with an infinite love. He knows you! He made you! Of course He would love you. But it’s harder to really internalize than it sounds. I have had a strong testimony that the Lord loves me from the time I was very young. It has been a great blessing in my life, and it is something that my heart yearns to share with every person on this earth.
Do you know that the Lord loves you? Do you sometimes fall into one of the traps of the adversary in drawing us to the extremes of the paradox of man? How are you able to find a peaceful place where you understand both doctrines? In what ways do you try to be patient with yourself? How do you recognize foolish and good sacrifices? Are you happy with your life now? Why have you made the gospel such a fundamental part of your life? Do you know that Heavenly Father loves you?