Yesterday I had an unsettling conversation with a dear friend of mine who is currently wrapped up in the storm of a very difficult and lonely trial. I listened to her as she quietly told me of her challenge and her concerns for the future it seems to be allotting her.
One thing (though not nearly everything) that seems to be weighing down on her and so many other girls I have talked to lately is their feelings of self-worth. I've thought a lot about what everyone has said and come to some conclusions for anyone who feels that they are just less than what they hope to be.
In our world of perfectly posed lives and artificial happiness, it can be expected that insecurities will creep up. Not only are you exposing yourself to potential judgement every time you post something, you are constantly comparing yourself to images other people post that may or may not be all that truthful to how their lives really are.
If we were to measure our happiness and our worth on what the world values alone, we would never reach an understanding of our true potential.
In Elder Russel M. Nelson's talk, "Women-Of Infinite Worth," he says,
"Her self-esteem cannot be based on physical features, possession or lack of a particular talent, or comparative quantities of anything. Her self-esteem is earned by individual righteousness and a close relationship with God. Her outward glow is generated by goodness within. And her patience is much more apparent than any imperfection. Feelings of worth come when a woman follows the example of the Master. Her sense of infinite worth comes from her own Christlike yearning to reach out with love, as He does."
An understanding of who we really are and whose we really are allows us to recognize just how incredible we are. This realization of how awesome we are won't be based on how we compare to another person, it will be based on how God see's us. How sad it is that so many women don't see how wonderful they are and miss out on blessings both temporal and eternal that would come from this realization.
I believe that Satan uses insecurity as one of his number one tools against women. He knows that he can rarely trap converted and diligent saints with obvious sins, but if he can convince a person of physical, emotional or spiritual weaknesses, he can begin to break that person down. Our bodies are sacred and incredible gifts that the Lord has given us that Satan envies. How sad God is when we punish ourselves for not being "perfect" in some way or another.
I believe that the physical bodies we have been given are exactly what our spirits needed in order to progress toward what God wants us to be. If I had not ever become sick, I would not have had the opportunity to be refined and grow in the way that I have. My broken body is exactly what my spiritual self needed. Your body that God has given you with all of its bumps and bruises, is there for a reason.
Try your best not to resent the most wonderful opportunity we have.
After telling me of other very difficult things this friend was dealing we she finished by saying, "I just feel hopeless... will this ever end?"
This is a phrase with which I am oh too familiar.
We all are.
We have all turned to God in our weak moments as the Prophet Joseph did and said,
"Oh God! Where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth Thy hiding place?"
In other words, "are you coming? Don't you know how hard this is? How much better I could do thy will if this were taken from me? Don't you love me? Isn't it time yet?"
The only way we can endure moments like these is to learn that there is always hope. Whether we can see the end just over the horizon, or we need a telescope to view it, it is out there. We are eternal beings with eternal potential that does't stop anywhere near what we can comprehend. Whether our trials will end tomorrow, or in heaven, they will end. Even the Savior who suffered more than we can ever understand was finally able to announce on the cross, "It is finished."
The truth is we are all going to be ok.
Better in fact for what we endure.
We are so lucky to have a Gardner who sees our potential and knows what he wants us to become.
If you are feeling hopeless and trapped with a sense that a trial (or trials) will never end, then the trial you are experiencing is still doing good.
Don't trade your eternal potential for a short moment of relief.
You are more incredible than you even realize.