The First Step

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step -Laozi

I’m beginning to come to terms with my imperfections.

This might sound slightly ridiculous. You may be thinking, “Oh geez…she thought she was perfect? Well, let me tell you…” or, “Well of course, none of us are perfect.” But really. Take a second and think. We are so critical of ourselves. I feel that especially as a Latter-Day Saint. We are told, “Be ye perfect“. That is  a tall order. For many of us, we take that as a sword dangling above our heads, ready to smite us at the smallest mistake. Okay–that’s probably exaggerating. But still.

Ever since I decided to be fully converted to the Church and devote my life to Christ and living His gospel, I’ve held myself to a very high standard. What is the bare minimum for some LDS is way in my black area. I’ve drawn my line a lot closer to God then some. Which isn’t an awful thing. Elder Oaks has taught us about good, better, and best. In other words, living a higher law. I decided that I’d been through enough junk in life, so I’d live a higher law in order to avoid more junk. Unfortunately, I often burn myself out in the process. Sometimes I’d be unrealistically hard on myself. Sometimes I’d slip up enough that it was justified.

But I’m human. I am human, which means I am fallen. Being fallen refers to “The Fall”, as in Adam and Eve. Because we have agency, we are able to make decisions for ourselves. With that come consequences, good or bad.

And here is some big news for some people: We. Are. All. Fallen. *kapow* Innnnsanity! But really. I’ll get to my point: we can’t judge anyone. Sure, we can see they’re obviously doing something they shouldn’t. But is that for us to point out? Just because my shortcomings and mistakes might not be visible to everyone, doesn’t mean I don’t have them. We all sin differently. That is called agency. And with agency comes the beautiful power of the atonement, a gift that is of such power it can wipe away all of our sins.

And that is the first step: the atonement.

When I slip up, I get it taken care of as soon as possible. When you don’t, it allows Satan an “in” to your life, and he can begin to lead you away by degrees, even without your noticing at first. It’s happened to me. As I got older and a mission was just around the corner, I let my guard down. Slowly Satan got to me, finally convincing me at one point to not go at all. I’ve started coming back from that now, and it has taught me an important lesson: don’t let your guard down for a second.

If you aren’t sure how to start on this “journey of a thousand miles”, take it one step at a time. The first step is taking the sacrament/being baptized (depending on what stage you’re at) to be forgiven of your sins. It hasn’t really hit home for me until now, but that tiny piece of bread and that little cup of water (because of the power of the atonement, they themselves are just symbols) can make you clean again. Completely clean. Every. Single. Sunday. If we treat it with the reverence it deserves.

Isn’t God so smart? He knows we are going to screw up. He doesn’t want us to give up and throw in the towel. He has provided a way so that every week, we can be clean again.

This Sunday, I challenge you to sincerely pray during the sacrament. Don’t let yourself get distracted (being back in a homeward, that is a real struggle-bus issue for me. Those darn little babies get me too distracted). Re-commit yourself to God, and little by little, you will find your way back to the straight and narrow.

God doesn’t care nearly as much about where you have been as He does about where you are and, with His help, where you are willing to go. – Jeffrey R. Holland


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