Recently I found a journal that had entries ranging from Jr. High up till I started college. As I read through all the journal entries, my initial reaction was to be embarrassed. My behaviors and thoughts were immature. It was obvious I was a much younger version of myself, though we all know I can still be pretty immature. I remembered a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in October 2017. He spoke:
“Leo Tolstoy wrote once of a priest who was criticized by one of his congregants for not living as resolutely as he should, the critic concluding that the principles the erring preacher taught must therefore also be erroneous.
In response to that criticism, the priest says: “Look at my life now and compare it to my former life. You will see that I am trying to live out the truth I proclaim.” Unable to live up to the high ideals he taught, the priest admits he has failed. But he cries:
“Attack me, [if you wish,] I do this myself, but [don’t] attack … the path I follow. … If I know the way home [but] am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way simply because I am staggering from side to side?
“… Do not gleefully shout, ‘Look at him! … There he is crawling into a bog!’ No, do not gloat, but give … your help [to anyone trying to walk the road back to God.]”
I was reminded that we are all on a path and as long as we are walking along it, we are doing okay, even if we are staggering. I am reminded how far I’ve come, and in more ways than one.
I found a letter in my journal from a teacher for an achievement award in 9th grade that said:
“Megan has been in my classes the last 3 years. She is very dependable and a hard worker, who always does her best. She helps those around her and is always willing to help anyway possible. She is positive, energetic and very fun to have around. She is one of those students that you love to have in class. Megan is looked up to by her peers. Because Megan is so trustworthy, I have also had Megan as a Student Aide. She is a good example of leadership and behavior. She has lots of friends which shows how well she is respected. Megan is extremely nice, kind-hearted, thoughtful and considerate.”
When I found this letter, my heart smiled and I was grateful for this teacher who wrote such a thoughtful letter. Though I have come far and I feel I am a different person than I was in my teenage years, I’m not far from the person I was then or when I was born. I am me and will always be that person. The same characteristic traits my 9th grade teacher described of me for the most part still ring true today. They are a part of who I am. I can’t change that.
As I was pondering these experiences, I had a thought of how I always ask in my prayers to “Help me become the person I need to be.” The thought was followed with this important truth. You are who I need you to be. Be the person I made you to be NOW.” God equips us with what we need right now to be who we need to be. I can be the wife I need to be because I was given a husband who sets a great example of a good relationship. I can be the mom I need to be because my children are teaching me every step and because I was given an angel mother who sets the best example of unconditional love. I am the leader I need to be because God gave me unique talents that help me to fulfill my purpose while on earth. If we feel we don’t have the right examples to help teach us, then it is up to us to find examples we can emulate and learn from. Possibility is within our reach and can only be made if we start somewhere.
Sometimes we have a measure of where we would like to be and we feel as if we are not measuring up. If you look back, you might find that you are further along than you thought. You might have just been staggering side to side not realizing the progress you were making. Sister Carol McConkie says, “We have different gifts and different strengths. First Corinthians chapter 12 emphasizes the need for sons and daughters of God, each one of us, to fulfill our individual roles and responsibilities according to the Lord’s plan, that all may benefit.” Speaking to mothers, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland tenderly exclaimed, “To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle — and all will — I say, be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. YOU ARE DOING BETTER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE.”
I believe in you. I believe you can make miracles happen. And I believe that peace (true inner peace) is the answer.