I have a list of things to do a mile long today, so today’s thought will be brief, which makes me feel ROBBED, because this talk at women’s conference was profound and so sweet to me. Sister Carol F. McConkie’s talk was preceded by this spotlight:
When Lisa realises she is being honoured by her friend, she utters gracefully, “Everything she said was overly-generous and not what I think about myself.” How perfectly I am sure we can all relate. I thought of those Dove and other women’s self-worth ad campaigns that psychologically and visually explore woman’s tendency to be pessimistic about herself. With the increasing pressure of the world, beating into us ideals of beauty and fulfilment, it’s a much-heard sentiment: “It’s not what I think about myself.” We are all on a quest to finding inner peace with things we don’t love about ourselves, and too often we are shocked or surprised to be complimented or cherished. Sometimes we don’t even allow it. What was alarming about Lisa’s declaration was that she didn’t think her inner self was as noble as her friend painted. How deeply entrenched Satan’s work is, to taint our working souls!
I’m not sure that we’ll easily be able to cure the defeatist or lugubrious tendencies of our inner mind very easily- certainly I can vouch that no one is harder on me than me. But what Lisa says next is a sweet and hopeful truth:
“I’m grateful for friends who think I am better than I am. I think that’s the mark of a good friend: to see your good qualities and ignore your weak ones because I think sometimes its easy in the world to focus on things that don’t really matter or that are not ‘positives’… or positive about other people.”
As I’ve reflected this year on this sentiment of real friendship, especially in adulthood where our guardians become our own selves or equal partners, I see Lisa’s placement in gratitude to be exemplary. I too am grateful for friends who are there to see and acknowledge my good qualities: to be a cheerleader when I cannot be it for myself or when outside forces are cruel. I am even more grateful for friends who are reverent to the understanding of their stewardship: they encourage and uplift because it is their calling as a friend, and because they know that like themselves, I am probably battling with myself a lot of the time.
How crucial it is that we express, however we are comfortable, our support and admiration for others, regardless of how confident or secure we believe they are.
Sister McConkie taught:
“Whatever our circumstances, wherever we are along the path toward salvation, we unite as one in our commitment to the Savior. We sustain one another in His service.
“… Sisters, in this cause we are valued. We are needed… The righteous cause we serve is the cause of Christ. It is the work of salvation.
“…We all experience times and seasons in our lives. But whether we are at school, at work, in the community, and especially in the home, we are the Lord’s agents and we are on His errand.
“… In the work of salvation, there is no room for comparison, criticism, or condemnation. It is not about age, experience, or public acclaim. This sacred work is about developing a broken heart, a contrite spirit, and a willingness to use our divine gifts and unique talents to do the Lord’s work in His way.”