13 May 2010

Reflecting Identity

Friends, family members, revelation, co-workers, scriptures, prophets, teachers, priesthood blessings, strangers, photographs. What do these all have in common? If we allow them to, all can reflect in a way that we can see who we really are.

People who care about us can reflect our true identity to us--that we are a beloved son or daughter of Heavenly Father. They also can bring attention to our gifts, talents, skills, and potential that we cannot see in ourselves. If we listen and explore these possibilities, we can know ourselves--our true selves--better than we did before.

Interactions with others, even those in which we do not act our best, can be enlightening and can reflect areas where we need improvement. These experiences, if we allow them to, can be edifying and "give [us] experience, and be for [our] good" (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7). They are harrowing, that is for sure. Yet it is often when we are at our worst that the Lord does His best teaching. We need to let Him work on us and with us to become who we really are.

Priesthood blessings, the scriptures, revelation we receive--all of these are tools that Heavenly Father uses to reflect our true identity and our true relationship with Him. I love what the Bible Dictionary entry about prayer states regarding our true relationship with Heavenly Father:
As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7: 7-11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship.
Satan wants us to forget who we are. He does everything possible to hide or discredit the 'mirrors' in our lives (e.g. friends, scriptures, revelation, etc) that reflect our true identity. When he is successful, our reflection appears distorted and we question our true identity, value, purpose, and worth. He doesn't want us to approach our Heavenly Father in prayer because he knows we will feel the difference between what he is offering (i.e., darkness, despair, hopelessness) and what we can feel with our Heavenly Father (i.e., love, faith, hope, light, knowledge, peace, safety, security, value).

Moses experienced firsthand this dichotomy.
And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were transfigured before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?

Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou.

Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.

     -- Moses 1:13-16 (emphasis added)
We can, like Moses, cast Satan out of our hearts and minds and not allow him to skew our perception of who we really are. Heavenly Father has provided myriad sources to reflect our true identity. Our opportunity is to optimize what we've been given and trust what we see reflecting back at us. We really are better than we think.

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