Personal Problems Are A Necessary Part of Life, They Help You To Remember God
"So if you have problems in your life, don't assume there is something wrong with you. Struggling with those problems is at the very core of life's purpose. As we draw close to God, He will show us our weaknesses and through them make us wiser, stronger. If you're seeing more of your weaknesses, that just might mean you're moving nearer to God, not father away." The Atonement All For All; Elder Bruce C. Hafen
I found this teaching to be an extremely comforting truth. It will surely bring peace and patience to a troubled soul.
Don't Assume There Is Something Wrong With You If You Have Problems
Perfection is often a popular theme. Perfection in the gospel sense does not mean without flaw or mistake. Perfection means complete or whole. Jesus Christ taught that we should become like He is. There is a difference between being perfect "like" Christ and being perfect "in" Christ.
Becoming perfect "like" Christ is not possible in this life. One reason is because Christ obtained Godhood already in the pre-existence. Christ was also the only person literally born of God the Father in the flesh. It is also obvious that we can come very close to being "like" Christ. Many if not all the prophets have reached this level of purity and righteousness. This is not a status reserved only for the prophets.
Perfection "in" Christ is to make Him the center of your life. As important as your spouse and marriage are, your spouse should not be number 1. Your church should not be number 1. Christ should always be number 1 and He will tell you what is number 2. Perfection "in" Christ is to bind yourself to Him. It means to hunger and thirst after righteousness. It means to value His word more than anything else.
Struggling With Personal Problems Is At The Core Of Life's Purpose
I thought this to be a shocking statement when I first pondered it. This brings up some questions that I don't know the answers to, such as why is struggling with problems at the core of the life's purpose.
What I do know is this
- There must be opposition in all things.
- Our personal problems and challenges persuade us to turn to God.
The world tells us that there is something wrong with you if you have personal problems and that you need to fix them. The self-help industry has a lot of knowledge on this. I don't think Elder Hafen is saying that we should not work to overcome our personal problems. I think what Elder Hafen is saying is the process of working to overcome them brings us to Christ because we learn we overcome them on our own effort.
Problems and weaknesses are not the same as sins.
God Will Make Us Wiser And Stronger Through Our WeaknessesThis seems to be different from the scriptural promise of turning our weakness into strengths. Human nature is to forget God. The Book of Mormon teaches that if it weren't for personal problems and tragedies we would not remember Him. It takes a special person to remember God during the good times. For some reason we need external motivations to turn to God. Weaknesses are one way to help us remember God.
If You're Seeing More Of Your Weaknesses That Might Mean You're Moving Nearer To God, Not Farther Away
I think it was Joseph Smith who said the closer you approach God the more unworthy you feel. Joseph smith knew God the Father and Jesus Christ face to face. This is an interesting irony, the more Godlike you become the more you realize your frailties.
Part of it could be because you are a lot more sensitive the closer you approach God. Some have compared the Holy Ghost to an early warning system. The minute you feel tempted or sin, you feel the pains of losing the spirit.
Some have reached an incredible level of righteousness that they become physically sick due to a simple thought sin. The General Authorities have said that developing a sensitive spirit is one of the greatest works we could do.
Sheri Dew suggested that we should not only be troubled with the wrongs we have done but also be concerned about the kind of person you need to be. The irony is the more Godlike you become you realize you still have a lot of work to do.