Becoming Like Christ--Resolve and Commit
In the first post of this series, I talked about momentum and how important it is to just keep moving because progress is progress! If you haven't had a chance to read that post yet, you can find it here.
But now I want to look at the steps outlined in Elder Scott D. Whiting's talk "Becoming Like Him" and how he recommends we get started.
Start the climb
Several years ago my husband and I took a trip to Bryce Canyon and it was amazing! If you aren't familiar with the canyon, it is in southern Utah and it is made up of beautiful red rocks all jutting out of a deep, mostly hidden canyon. It was my first time there and I couldn't believe the majesty of it all. I'll be honest, until that time I had never been much of a hiker, and it wasn't for my husband's lack of trying. But one of the things I have been trying to be better at is trying new things and being willing to participate in activities he loves. So I agreed, and when we got there, I realized I was actually excited about it.
We chose two trails that connect--the Navajo Loop trail, that would take us down to the canyon floor, and the Queen's Garden trail, that would lead us through the bottom of the canyon. And of course, what goes down must come up, and the Queen's Garden trail was the "up" portion.
It was amazing! The first trail was a very steep switchback, and it was a little unnerving because the trial is quite narrow and it's all gravel and dirt so we took it slowly. Once down in the canyon, it was beautiful, and I realized in that moment what I was missing by not being a hiker. This was something you couldn't see from the ledge above, so the only way to experience it was to put in the work to get down there.
Like I said before, what goes down must come up. When we got to the last part of the trail with the switchbacks going back up, it was pretty daunting. Short of moving into the canyon permanently, I had no choice but to make the climb. No one would ever mistake me for a well trained athlete or hiker, so there was no telling how this was going to go.
The first few switchbacks were okay and I thought maybe it wouldn't be as bad as I thought, but after a few more, my knees started to protest. I stopped where I was and looked up towards the top, which I couldn't even see. That was when discouragement set in. I was picturing the search and rescue helicopter that was going to have to come hoist me out of there in one of those baskets and it was not a pretty picture.
Luckily my husband stepped in and averted my attention from the top by pointing towards the next switchback. He told me to stop looking at the top and concentrate on the next bend in the path because that was where I was going next. Once I reached it, I could take a break and catch my breath.
His guidance was exactly what I needed. Getting to that next bend wasn't impossible...in fact, it wasn't even that hard. I didn't even need to stop, I just focused on the next one and kept going. Before I knew it, I could see the sidewalk above and the end of the trail. It hadn't been as far away as I had thought when I stopped and looked up.
Where we are vs. where we want to go
It can be easy to get caught in the weeds of the struggle and take our eyes off the destination. If you took the quiz I mentioned in the last post, consider how it might be different if, rather than trying to score a 5 when you're currently at a 1, you just tried moving towards a 2. Maybe if 1 is an understanding of what we need to do, then 2 can be the desire to change and the commitment we need to make to do so.
So where do we begin? Resolve to do better.
I love that Elder Whiting points out how we can gain encouragement from those around us! I realize that while doing that hike up the hill, I did get a LOT of encouragement from watching people around me, knowing that if they could do it, so could I. It's one of the blessings we get from being part of a Ward, Branch or Stake and surrounding ourselves with people that are all on the same path, working towards the same goals.
Committing to change can be hard.
I don't know about you, but I'm an "over-committer". When I decide I'm going to do something, I go all in and then failure is right around the corner because I go too hard, too fast, with too high of expectations. I need to take my own lessons from the parking lot and apply them to the rest of my life.
No Sugar and Costco Samples
An example of this happened years ago when I, like a giant buffoon, decided I was going to completely give up sugar. Completely. That included everything with sugar in it.
I know there are a lot of people out there that have done this and are happy with it. I also know sugar is an addiction and the only way to break an addiction is complete abstinence, and this is what drove me forward. But, true to form, I took it too far. If the label said "sugar" it was out, even if it was the last thing listed.
If you've never paid attention to labels, I'm going to tell you that almost every single available food contains sugar or sugar substitute. So trying to eliminate sugar completely was nearly impossible.
At first I was doing okay, but that didn't last long and it quickly turned into a nightmare for me. It was evident how completely addicted I was by how miserable it made me. But I was still doing okay until the day we made the mistake of going to Costco.
It was busy and crowded and there were sample people everywhere. I don't care for most of the samples, so it's usually not an issue. But this day was different. Apparently it was some kind of birthday celebration and that meant cake and ice cream.
First there was the very delicious Costco chocolate cake with chocolate mousse samples, which weren't really samples, they were full pieces of cake. I hustled away from that only to find myself face to face with a booth giving out whole Creamies. There was sugary goodness at every turn, all for the taking--I didn't even have to BUY it since they were giving it all away.
I was both sad and angry at the same time, and when my husband saw the emotional build up happening, he hurried me along and out of the store as quickly as he could. I managed to escape without succumbing to any of it. You'd think I'd be proud of myself, but I wasn't. I was miserable and it all fell apart on the car ride home when I started bawling.
Needless to say, that was the end of my quest to go sugar free, but it was a good lesson learned...
Commit to the Possible
So what does my sugar hiatus have to do with developing Christlike attributes?
My goal to give up sugar in an attempt to eat a healthier diet might have been noble in the beginning but it was misguided. It was a goal that was not attainable, at least not for me. Becoming more like the Savior does not require me to commit to impossible, outlandish actions or rules. It's about becoming something, not doing something.
I love that President Nelson points out that it all begins with a commitment to repent! And whatever comes next should bring us joy in the Savior, not cause us heartache, frustration or feelings of inadequacy. And they definitely shouldn't make us miserable.
And once we've done that, it's time for the next step, according to Elder Whiting--Identify and Act!