Melanie shares some quotes that have made a difference in her life:
Our individual experiences may not always be unique, but they are always authentic. God will even take into account our perceptions of, as well as our responses to, our trials. For those of us who do not, for instance, find claustrophobia a challenge, it is difficult to measure the terror that comes to those for whom it is such a challenge. Thus, a friend may seem to struggle unnecessarily long before finally prevailing with regard to a particular principle of the gospel. But for that individual, the struggle was real enough! We need, particularly, to understand with kindness those who are asked to go out to do battle again on a familiar field–on the very battleground where they have already suffered defeat several times. Yet some of our most difficult victories will occur on new terrain–like Joseph’s in Egypt–when we do not have the equivalent of a “home court” advantage.
We must remember that, while the Lord reminded the Prophet Joseph Smith that he had not yet suffered as Job, only the Lord can compare crosses!”
-Neal A. Maxwell, “Taking up the Cross,” Fireside, 4 January 1976 (emphasis in original) (http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6139&x=71&y=9)
I love this reminder to be more gentle–not just with others, but also with myself. It’s so easy to be hard on other people when they just don’t seem to “get it” with regard to a certain gospel principle or practice, so it is important to remember that we can never know the full scope of the personal challenges they face. I am really grateful that it is not my job to make those comparisons and judgments–I will gladly leave that to the Lord!
As hard as we are on other people, I think often we are the most critical of ourselves. Honest self-evaluation, with the Lord’s help, is a key piece of repentance and growth, but that self-appraisal should not come at the expense of our own sense of worth and identity as beloved daughters of God–loved beyond measure even in our imperfect state.
Elder Maxwell’s imagery of the battlefield reminds me of another passage I love, from C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity:
Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.
I know I don’t always recognize the progress I’m making, so I really like this perspective on how the little things I do can add up to big gospel victories. And in the frustratingly common times I fall short, I’m grateful for repentance, and how the Atonement helps me hold the ground I might otherwise have lost.
Do you have quotes or talks that have had an influence in your life? Please email us at ‘mormonwoman’ AT ‘gmail’ DOT ‘com’ or simply use the comment box below. Read more quotes from others by clicking here.