I’ve noticed a trend in people I admire and want to be like. The most common thread between them is that they know who they are, and live that way whole heartily. They have complete integrity in their actions. That consistency is what makes their example so powerful. No matter where they are, or who they are with, they are true to who they are.
Sometimes it is easy to think that it takes an insane amount of courage to be ourselves, or that it takes some special talent, but really we are all capable of being ourselves if we focus on how little truly affects us eternally other than our own choices.
The temptation to let things that have happened to us guide our actions can be very strong. We have all had things happen that affect us, whether we wanted them to or not. People around us sin and their choices have consequences that affect us (click here for more); or there are gaps in our education, whether secular or spiritual, that we want to blame our choices on; or there are people who want to keep us in boxes or categories. When we think that others have more influence over us than they really do is when things get muddled. The bottom line is no one, NO ONE, other than yourself and Jesus Christ have any bearing on YOUR eternal salvation. (Click here to read more.)
Parents didn’t teach you something you were supposed to know or were (in your mind, or in reality) completely terrible to you? Okay, be willing to learn it now, and the atonement will cover the rest. Someone close to you has sinned and the consequences are difficult to bear? Be steady and as righteous as you can be, and their choices will have no effect on your opportunity for exaltation. We could go on and on, but the bottom line is Heavenly Father respects our agency so much that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ nothing has bearing on your opportunity for exaltation other than your own choices. You will not be judged on what you had no control over, only on the choices you made. Isn’t that awesome?
Knowing this, the imitation that Satan puts out there to “be you you really are” as a means to justify sins of all types and sizes makes so much sense. He is in essence trying to convince us that because you came to earth with these weaknesses, or they have been developed since for reasons that are out of your control, it is who you are going to be forever, so don’t bother fighting it. Who you really are is a being that with the help of Jesus Christ is capable of achieving eternal glory. There is not a single person put on this earth who is not capable of that. Sins and weaknesses will not be a part of our exalted eternal being. I’m not saying it’s easy to overcome these things, just that these things are not an excuse to settle for less than exaltation. Just because they seem bigger than our abilities now doesn’t mean that they will be like that forever. The atonement of Jesus Christ is truly infinite, it is capable of, and will, cover our every need eternally if we do our best and believe in Him.
The scriptures are absolutely filled to the brim of people who know who they are and recognize that no one else has power to make choices for them. The stories of Daniel and the lions den; Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the furnace; Nephi; 2,000 stripling warriors; Esther; Moroni; and so many others are all examples of this. We often talk about their faith in Christ, but we don’t often talk about what that does for their individual worth. That faith leads to the knowledge that the natural man consequences of righteous choices have no being on their eternal glory. That knowledge and faith gives them the confidence to both life for and die for their testimony of Christ.
A very interesting thing happens as we continue on the journey to discover and be true to our eternal selves: Our will becomes swallowed up in the will of the Savior, whose will has been swallowed up by the will of God.
Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father.
We begin to realize that we have a desire to become who Jesus Christ wants us to become, because we recognize He wants us to become is our very best selves and we have faith in His power, sight, and ability to make that happen and we humbly are willing to listen to His counsel and advice on how to achieve His plan for us.
We are who we really are when we look in our spiritual mirror and see Him.