14 August 2009

Being Perfectly Imperfect

This week brought me a greater understanding of the Savior and His Atonement. Most of what occurred is too sacred to share, but the overarching theme was this: as humans, we often mistakenly believe that we have to be perfect before Heavenly Father and / or Jesus Christ will help us. That is a fallacy.

That is a fallacy that I have unknowingly accepted as "truth" for most of my life, and it has negatively affected the way I perceive myself...to the point that I couldn't even allow myself to believe that Heavenly Father/Jesus Christ could possibly love me--and if They couldn't love me, then certainly no human could love me either. For years, whenever Heavenly Father attempted to bless me with what I desired, I wouldn't accept them because I felt that I wasn't "good enough." He still blessed me of course (that's simply the way He is) but with the minimal blessings I would allow in my life.

My primary focus of my scripture study, fasting, and prayers during the last five years has been a plea for the Savior to enable me to allow Him to bless me beyond the minimal. There is so much--so very much!--that could be mine if I could but accept the blessings.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you. (D&C 78:17)

The experiences of this week have, for me, been years in the making. I am grateful for the new insight I have into the Atonement and its accessibility to me. Before this week, I did not realize how willing Jesus is to help us. I knew He wrought the Atonement for us...and because I knew how high a price He paid for us, I was reluctant to "add to His burden" by asking for additional help. So I trudged through life, relying primarily on my own obviously limited capacity. Occasionally, when in deepest distress, I would plead for assistance--but only after I knew I had completely exhausted my own supply and had no other option.

Now I see this differently. It is because Jesus paid such a high price for us that we should turn to Him for help. He willingly suffered because He loved us and knew we wouldn't be able to make it through this earth life on our own abilities. By condescending to come to earth, completely submitting to His Father's will, and subjecting Himself to all of our pains, afflictions, sins, infirmities, etc, Jesus Christ descended below all things and triumphed over them all--thus giving Him power over all things. Because He loves us so completely and has all power at His disposal, He therefore is the perfect One to help us. And He, perfectly acquainted with our sufferings and our inability to overcome, is ever willing to assist us. Anytime. Anywhere. With anything.

Until this week, I thought this was "too good to be true." What makes this truth so glorious is that it IS good and it IS true!

There are many in my acquaintance--and certainly many more who I do not know--who suffer like I did, so needlessly alone and with such skewed perceptions of self and of Jesus' willingness to help. Sister Bonnie D. Parkin teaches us how we can be "perfectly imperfect":

Do we frequently reject the Lord's love that He pours out upon us in much more abundance than we are willing to receive? Do we think we have to be perfect in order to deserve His love? When we allow ourselves to feel 'encircled about eternally in the arms of his love' (2 Nephi 1:15), we feel safe, and we realize that we don't need to be immediately perfect. We must acknowledge that perfection is a process. This is a gospel of eternal progress, and we must remember to appreciate the journey.

"Eternally Encircled in His Love," Ensign, Nov. 2006, 108 (emphasis added).

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