I'm grateful for the opportunity for the chance to write again this week.
I've decided to do a little mini-series on how I have come to deal with my doubts. To kick off this mini-series I want to start at the beginning of course. The first step to fixing a problem is realizing that there is one in the first place. Though that sounds incredibly cliche and obvious let's look at this first step in real depth for a second.
Imagine for a moment that you're walking into a job interview. You sit down after shaking hands and introducing yourself to your potential employer and wait for the first question. The first comes and you're completely prepared, and the same with the second, third, and fourth questions. For every skill related question your employer comes up with, you have the perfect answer. Then he comes to the last question, and a question that I personally dread. "What are some of your weaknesses?"
Initially this question seemed like a horrible thing to ask in an interview. Why would they want to see anything but your highlights and your achievements? This isn't a question that is meant to degrade you or to show your boss how horrible you are at something. It's purpose was hidden to me until I was speaking with a member of my Branch here who has conducted many interviews.
I was told that it is generally a question that shows your humility and how well you know yourself. It is the true measure of a persons capability to understand who they are and what their shortcomings are. Why would an employer hire a person who can't see their own flaws and acknowledge that someone else might know better than them. Rather than show the employer that you aren't worthy, it shows to the employer that you are able to improve and are willing to grow into the position.
After the conversation with this member I noted that if I were in that interview right now with that question posed at me, I wouldn't have an answer. It was here that I realized I didn't have a handle on who I was, what my potential is, and how I can get there.
I encourage you to earnestly look at yourself and what you are doing now, and then to try and realize who you can become. If you don't know where you stand with God, you don't know how you can improve. Seek for these through prayer and scripture study. Specifically pray to have your weaknesses be manifest unto you. I did that for only a week, and I had quite a lot of weaknesses shown to me. But now that I know my weaknesses I can work at them one by one until they are strengths. As I've said a couple of times, the Lord doesn't give us weaknesses for kicks and giggles, they are meant to be acknowledged and then turned into strengths (Ether 12:27)
Now this post is not meant to drag anyone down into an existential crisis, that's the opposite of my intent. Relax, take some deep breaths because this is only the beginning.
As with all first steps there are several more to come. To touch on the next step lightly I turn to a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland, the same one I reference in last week's post:
I told him with all the fervor of my soul that belief is a precious word, an even more precious act, and he need never apologize for “only believing.”...I told this boy that belief was always the first step toward conviction...
Now, with the advantage that nearly 60 years give me since I was a newly believing 14-year-old, I declare some things I now know. ...
What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine.
("Lord I Believe" Jeffery R. Holland, April 2013 General Conference)
Just with the road from belief to faith, you must first acknowledge that you have doubts and flaws so that they can be improved and worked on. My next post will deal with how diligent work is the next big step in transforming shortcomings to strengths.
I love you all, and can't tell you how much of a blessing it is to me to be able to post every week. It really is one of the best parts of my week, I learn so much not only about this gospel but also about myself.
Love, Elder Gailey