My name is Kiersten Dewey and I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My testimony of the gospel is deep, vast and complicated and can hardly be expressed in one post…or 100. But today I want to take some time to talk about the struggle of self-worth and how it fits in with Heavenly Father’s plan for us.
I am a champion for realizing the value of every soul! I am drawn to it as if it were my mission…my purpose. I have been blessed with a life that has taught me the struggles of a low self-worth. And although I would have given anything at the time to be more accepted. To fit in. To NOT stand out as someone who didn’t belong, I am grateful for the lessons that I have learned.
Growing Up Self-Conscious
In a nutshell, I grew up in an LDS family where half of us were active. We were “dysfunctional” compared to our neighbors and it caused a great separation in everything…especially school. I can remember from a young age being very self-conscious. I never had many, if any, friends. My hair wasn’t combed, my teeth weren’t brushed and on occasion, I smelled like pee from wetting the bed. I was athletic but too embarrassed to try. I dropped out of school in the 8th grade. I moved out of my house when I was 16 and I got a job and took care of myself. During this time, I lived with a sister, but I was more responsible than she was.
I grew up a lot in the years between 8th-12th grade. With some divine intervention, I returned to school my senior year and was able to graduate with my class. I was so insecure! I look back now and wish I could re-live some of it with the knowledge and the confidence I have now. But I can’t. And I have learned a greater compassion. I now feel a deep gratitude in my heart that I have a purpose that really matters. One that is not superficial (like the life I originally wanted to have). I am here to help others! You are too. And I can only truly help others when I understand their sorrows…and I can’t understand their sorrows if I had never been tried and then been made stronger myself.
Weaknesses Have a Purpose
Our trials, struggles or weaknesses have a purpose. In Ether 12:27 it says:
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”
This scripture first tells me that my weaknesses can become strengths, but it also tells me that Heavenly Father not only WON’T protect me from my weaknesses but will make them KNOWN unto me. There must be a significance!
Weaknesses are essential, and my experience with self-doubt was necessary, but we must be very careful about how we choose to move forward with these feelings of inadequacy.
Because not only do we want to feel better about ourselves so that we can….well, feel better about ourselves, but, we also don’t want to feel so bad that we become self-absorbed in our thoughts and preoccupied with our weaknesses.
In a talk given by Elder Glenn L. Pace called Confidence and Self-Worth, he said that when we are preoccupied with our weaknesses, we lack faith in the Lord’s ability to use weaknesses for our good. He also said that pride and a lack of self-confidence (you would think they are opposites) cause us to focus excessively on ourselves, and deny the power of God in our lives.
Believing in Yourself and God’s Ability to Help You
President Hinckley said; “I believe in myself. I do not mean to say this with egotism. But I believe in my capacity and in your capacity to do good, to make a contribution to the society of which we are a part, and to grow and develop…I believe in the principle that I can make a difference in this world, be it ever so small.”
A lack of confidence is NOT the same as humility. We strive to be humble, but that is not the same as thinking less of yourself.
In a talk given by President George Q. Cannon he stated, “There was a period when we, with Jesus and others, basked in the light of the presence of God and enjoyed His smiles. We are children of God, and as His children, there is no attribute we ascribe to Him that we do not possess, they may be dormant or in embryo. The mission of the gospel is to develop these powers and make us like our Heavenly Parent.” (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of George Q. Cannon,sel. Jerreld L. Newquist (1974), 3.)
We have weaknesses! It’s a fact of this life. Through faith in Christ those weaknesses can be made strong…but even better, we possess our Father’s heavenly attributes! We have incredible and unique talents. We have divine potential. We have inestimable worth in God’s eyes.
But it’s so much easier said than done, right?! It’s easy to look at these quotes and scripture and wish that you could have instant confidence. I’ll tell you this, it won’t come easy (anything of real value never does). But Heavenly Father CAN bless you in incredible ways if you do your part to help Him bless you!
If you continue to watch, listen to, hang around the same kind of things that bring you down, Heavenly Father can’t and won’t bless you out of it. If you pray for help and then wait to be answered, you may not be. Faith without works is dead.
You cannot sit and wait! You must be actively engaged in your answer, diligently searching for that help you desire and cutting out those things that are contradictory to what you’re asking for. Heavenly Father WILL bless you through the efforts that you make. So make yourself bless-able.
You Are Needed
I know without a doubt that everyone has a purpose. Everyone matters! And everyone has something that only they can give. NO one can do exactly what you do! There are people who need you.
There are things that you know, talents you’ve been given, and experiences that you’ve had that will be a perfect recipe to heal someone’s heart, lighten their load, or lift them up. ONLY YOU.
I’ll end with my favorite quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:
“Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.”
My name is Kiersten Dewey and I am a Utah girl, born and raised (although I have lived outside of the state as well)! I have been married for 15 years to the coolest Texan around. We have four daughters that can match you stubbornness for stubbornness…but if you ever need a sweet note, picture, hug or foot massage…there’s no hesitation. We love the outdoors, softball (most sports, really), FISHING, serving and being together (most of the time…). I have been a member all of my life but really became converted starting at 17. I married a man who is an incredible example of selflessness and service in whatever capacity and although I think I have always been “that kind of person” he motivates me to do more. He is currently the Bishop in our ward and I can honestly say that I’ve never been more humbled or honored to be a tool in the Lord’s hand. I am NOT perfect, but I love the gospel and I love the Lord and I know that Heavenly Father has a plan specifically for me.
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