As I was preparing my lesson last Sunday, I came across this quote that I really liked:
“No man will ever be totally free who is living a lie.” –Elder Marvin J. Ashton (April 1982 General Conference)
This really stood out to me. It made me think about feeling freedom and harmony in life, and how you can go about achieving that freedom. I kind of read it to mean “If you don’t feel totally free, you are living a lie.” I think to some extent, nobody feels totally free in life. There is always room to improve, always a new challenge to overcome, no matter our age or position. However, just because it is a lifelong pursuit doesn’t mean it isn’t worth pursuing. Our purpose here on earth is to continually improve to develop a more godly character and assist those around us in doing the same, and part of this is seeking to eliminate the ‘lies’ we are living.
I’m not talking about the lies you might have told others about yourself, I am talking about the lies you told yourself about yourself. We have all tried to convince ourselves of something at some point in time. It is a natural coping mechanism to try to sooth ourselves (or, to “lull yourself into security”). However, the security we feel from doing this is a lie – it keeps us from true lasting happiness. It also is often temporary, because eventually we have to face the facts. Overcoming our lies and living free is a two-step process:
Step 1: Recognize your “lie” and accept who you are
Maybe you don’t want to admit to yourself that you really aren’t as perfect as you let other people believe. Or, the opposite, you are afraid to admit that you can achieve something great and hold back your talents. Perhaps you are comfortable where you are and are trying ignore the spiritual prodding of God leading you to a higher (but more difficult, of course) path. Maybe you are facing the challenge of accepting limitations due to health, age, or other circumstance. All these things hold us back and keep us from feeling true freedom, harmony, and contentment in life.
Be honest with yourself. (Easier said than done sometimes!) Allow yourself to acknowledge some fault or problem, some lie that you are living with. (Not all of them at once, bite-sized pieces are best!)
Accept who and where you are now. Accept that you haven’t achieved your ‘end goal’. Realize that you aren’t who you want to be in the end, and admit that there is some way to improve or to achieve this end goal. Recognize that you won’t be here forever, this is just a stepping stone to bigger and better things! Choose to see this as an opportunity to grow and improve, rather than hiding it away in the closet and hoping it disappears.