In recent years, I’ve noticed that members put a large emphasis on diversity and being different. We celebrate the “I’ve sinned and repented” or “I’m a Mormon outside of Utah” people much more than the “I haven’t sinned or “I live in a place where everyone is a member of the church” type of people. It makes me, a member of the latter group, feel undervalued and as though my accomplishments aren’t also exceptional and worth recognition just because they aren’t as colorful. Can you help me understand why I don’t matter?
— The Good Guy
Dear Good Guy,
Here’s a list of three things for you to consider:
- You matter, but when you spend time comparing yourself to others, it’s easy to feel like you don’t.
- We all sin. One person’s lying is another person’s stealing, one person’s pride is another person’s judgmental attitude and so on and so on — we all sin.
- We’re all different. Our diversity is in our spirits, we’re unique and precious, and our true definition isn’t in our tattoos or our piercings or our geographical locations. It’s in our divine heritage, you are the only you that has ever been and that ever will be.
- Lastly, and probably most importantly, is this: “How great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!” (see Doctrine and Covenants 18:13).
We celebrate the lost sheep, because God celebrates the lost sheep. Do you remember the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15? After years of rebellion he returned to the house of his father and was greeted with a feast. His brother, who had been faithful, resented him for this — where was his feast? Where was his celebration? You may be asking yourself, “where is my news headline?” “Where is my Ensign article?” “Why is nobody recognizing me?” The father responded to his faithful son that all that he (the father) had would be his because of his faithfulness. The same promise extends to you from your Father in Heaven. Don’t waste time feeling like you’re not getting enough recognition from your peers because of your obedience. That’s not what obedience is about. Instead, ask God if you matter to him, ask him if he’s pleased with your efforts, ask how you can bring others into the fold and re-affirm your willingness to be a part of the work.
Readers: Have you ever felt like the prodigal son? Have you felt like the faithful brother? What advice could you offer “The Good Guy?”
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Advice columnist Angela Trusty answers questions about a variety of topics, including the Mormon young single adult experience. She is published weekly in the Deseret News and Washington Times. @angelatrusty email: firstname.lastname@example.org