Dear 100 Hour Board,
So i am struggling with the concept of messing up. All. The Time. I understand grace and the role Christ has in our lives. It is just hard when sometimes change takes time. I am not a very patient person (another thing i am trying to work on) not that it is necessary a bad thing but when it comes to change it really doesn't help me.
How do i stop from not being discouraged because I want to change and be perfect but that takes time and that in and of itself is hard.
I think the distinction that you made between knowing what grace is, and how to feel it is a very important one. One of the most wonderful parts of the gospel is knowing that Jesus Christ atoned for us and all that brings, but trying all the time is hard. The other day in my personal scripture study I read Ether chapter 12 and I found some verses that helped me understand how I can feel His grace and have the patience to keep on going. This is answer's a bit long but bear with me! It gets good. I promise!
We know from Ether 12:27 that our weakness is something that helps us come closer to God.
"27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
Messing up is not an enjoyable experience, but it will bring us closer to God and make us who we're supposed to be. But how does it help us? And how do we keep trying when it seems like we aren't making any progress? Ether 12:28 helps us better understand how this process works.
"28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness."
Here we see that faith, hope, and charity, brings us unto Christ. I think these attributes help us come closer to Christ in two different ways. The first is that when we have faith, hope, and charity, our hearts are humble and we're willing to follow God and accept his help. The second is that when we act in faith, hope, and charity we receive blessings that help us in our righteous desires. To explain this in greater detail I'll break down Ether 12:31-34 to show the specific blessings we receive from faith, hope, and charity.
"31 For thus didst thou manifest thyself unto thy disciples; for after they had faith, and did speak in thy name, thou didst show thyself unto them in great power."
When Christ's disciples had faith, Christ showed himself unto them in great power. When we have faith we can see the hand of God working for good in our life. One think that I think is hard about trying to improve is that we often feel like we have to do it alone, or do it all. We aren't alone and we don't have to do it all. If we exercise faith we will be helped with great power. Reminding ourselves of the times that God has helped us and others in the past makes it easier for us to have faith that he will help us know and in the future.
"32 And I also remember that thou hast said that thou hast prepared a house for man, yea, even among the mansions of thy Father, in which man might have a more excellent hope; wherefore man must hope, or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared. 33 And again, I remember that thou hast said that thou hast loved the world, even unto the laying down of thy life for the world, that thou mightest take it again to prepare a place for the children of men."
I find it very interesting that verse 32 say "wherefore man must hope, or he cannot receive an inheritance in the place which thou hast prepared." One possible interpretation of that passage is that without hope we won't be able to endure to the end. Continuing along the path of righteousness the best we can is hard. We won't always see immediate results or have it easy. There will be times in our journey that for our personal good we will feel weak, or stretched, or uncomfortable, or incapable. During those times the hope of a better tomorrow can give us the motivation we need today. God loves us and has prepared amazing blessings for us. We might not receive them now but we will receive them eventually. That is something that is very comforting to me.
"34 And now I know that this love which thou hast had for the children of men is charity; wherefore, except men shall have charity they cannot inherit that place which thou hast prepared in the mansions of thy Father."
Here we see that in order to inherit our place in the mansions of Heavenly Father we need charity. Charity is one of the defining characteristics of God, so it makes sense that to be like Him we must learn to have charity. I also think that having charity makes our mortal journey easier. When I focus on myself I typically become pretty frustrated with my lack of progress. However, when I think about others there's always something to be happy about! To me the reason that missionaries are so happy is because they are constantly serving others. Loving and serving others also helps us have more empathy and patience for ourselves.
In conclusion, increasing our faith, hope, and charity will help us have a good attitude and receive strength on high. We aren't meant to be perfect all at once or even in this lifetime. Instead of focusing on what we lack, focusing on what God does for us can help motivate us to keep going.
If you're trying to follow Jesus Christ you're going the right way. If you think about it, time doesn't really matter to God. As long as we keep going in the right direction we will arrive. To quote Elder Larry R. Lawrence "To Him, our direction is ever more important than our speed." God is on our side and that makes us part of a pretty good team. Hope this helps!
Dear Your Best,
I can relate to this question quite a lot. I tend to be very unforgiving towards my own weaknesses and foibles. So, I'll share some of the things that have helped me the most in learning how to extend patience and understanding to myself.
- Therapy. If you go to BYU then you can get free counseling sessions. The sessions I've gone to were immensely helpful in allowing me to develop a more healthy mindset and realize that I really was doing better, and logically had a right to expect better things of myself than I was.
- Yoga. Doing yoga relaxes me and helps me see outside of my current limitations. Also, it's really nice to have something that I can feel like I'm good at. However, I don't think you necessarily need to start doing yoga to receive these same kinds of benefits. Just find something you truly enjoy that you can practice on a regular basis.
Good luck, my friend, and I hope that you will begin to not only know of grace, but feel of it too.