Young [people] of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, remember who you are! You are elect. You are [children] of God. You cannot be a generation of [youth] who are content to fit in. You must have the courage to stand out, to “arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations.”
(Elaine S. Dalton, “Remember Who You Are!” April 2010)
I have had an interesting experience happen many times I receive a calling. Maybe you have too. When I have been called to things like being the Cubmaster or the Young Men’s President or a Deacon’s Quorum Advisor, I immediately think of the Cubmasters and Young Men’s leaders of my youth. My immediate reaction is that I don’t quite measure up. Maybe I just had amazing leaders, or maybe the years have shadowed my memories, but I never feel like I can do as good a job as others.
Are you like that too? We’re in good company.
One of the challenges that we call face is believing in our own abilities to accomplish the tasks we’ve each been given. We are fairly certain that what we’ve been asked to do is bigger than we are.
So did many prophets. Let’s look at some examples.
Here is the response of Moses when he was called to go to Pharaoh and deliver the Israelites.
And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? (Exodus 3:11)
Enoch had a similar response when he was called.
And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant? (Moses 6:31)
So did Jeremiah
Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. (Jeremiah 1:6)
All three of them expressed the same doubt. Not about God. Not about the plan of God. Just that they were capable of playing their part in God’s plan. And God responded the same way to each of them.
To Jeremiah, “I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:8). To Enoch, “Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.” (Moses 6:32). And to Moses, “Certainly I will be with thee.” (Exodus 3:12)
Notice where the power came from. God knew that they could do the work they were asked to do because He knew that He would help them. He knew they were good enough because He knew them long before He called them. He knew they would be successful and capable of the tasks they were given because God knows that His purposes will be fulfilled.
The same is true for you in your life, in your family, and in your callings.
The self confidence and assurance we need to move forward is tied to the knowledge of our heritage. Knowing that we are children of God. Believing that God has called us to our own work. Believing that our understanding of our own capabilities is often less than God’s image of us. We are usually more than what we see in ourselves. We often feel we aren’t up to the challenge because God sees us as more capable than we see ourselves and gives us challenges that can take us to the level He knows we can get.
When I am being honest, in my life right now, I’m not so sure I can succeed in the tasks I’ve been given. We have 7 kids in our cute little step family. We have 3 teenagers and a 12-year-old. We have custody and switching weeks and step parenting and just trying to build faith. I frequently feel overwhelmed.
And it’s possible you are reading this and have an equally long list of your challenges that I couldn’t possibly comprehend. We are probably in the same boat.
I (and possibly you) don’t know why I’ve been given this specific set of challenges and I often don’t feel that I am up to the challenge.
And that is where God comes in with His reminder that “certainly I will be with thee.”
The first step in this process is that we realize that some of the stress we face and battles we fight is because of this internal dialogue we have with our selves, not only because of what is going on around us.
Next, we deepen our connection with God to get His love, compassion, power, and help in our lives.
Finally, we start to replace negative thoughts of self-doubt with the reassurances from God. I’ve given you a few that you can focus on today. Here are my two favorites:
“Certainly I will be with thee”
“You must have the courage to stand out.”
In the coming weeks I will share some more tips on building your self-confidence, for now, every time you feel that negativity creeping in, repeat one of the scripture messages you’ve read today, or another message that brings you back to God’s love and His confidence in you.