It can seem rather daunting to just start doling out understanding and I’ve spent countless hours on my knees and on my psychologist’s couch trying to tackle the more delicate aspects of it. Where I once believed that charity and love meant always giving, giving, giving with no thought of self and trusting the nebulous idea that the Savior will make up whatever we lack, I have come to realize that there must be balance in our offerings. I fought this principle for a long long long time because I thought I understood charity and I thought I just needed to have more faith. But charity is a principled love, and her principles are meant to be applied in all of our relationships (self, God, others) simultaneously. There are very few things that I can ever strike a regular balance with and I think charity has a fluid and forgiving nature. But if we slide too far out of balance, we can start to feel some very valid resentment and frustration. And if left un-checked, it’s natural for those feelings to lead to anger, blame and disillusionment. Like anything else, the process of understanding what charity really entails takes patience-mostly with ourselves. It also takes guts because some of the things you realize may fly in the face of what you’ve always thought. It usually takes running straight into my limits and spending some time nursing my wounds down on the ground for me to realize that limits (also known as: my current level of mastery) can and should be respected. There is a lot of beauty to be viewed when we’re honest about the current dimensions of our development because when we acknowledge the place where our abilities end and we have to determine when it’s needful to venture out beyond that it becomes obvious where His efforts begin.
When viewed through the lens of relationships, earth and her occupants take on an entirely different aura. The relationship we cultivate with our self entails coming to know what our gifts and interests are, as well as realizing the areas we could use some improvement. Our relationship with Heaven entails us bringing the uniqueness that we possess to the Savior and as we come to know Him, our ability to perpetuate goodness in our relationships with ourselves and others is enhanced. It seems like often times we talk about trying to become like the Savior and I am party to that quest but I prefer to think of it as coming to know the Savior. The natural outcome of sincerely knowing Him is a desire to be like Him as we experience His loving grace in our lives. Instead of all of us seeking to become the same person, I think we’re all seeking to come to the same person and who we are with Him is the treasure we’ll begin to unearth. It’s a simple difference but the shift is substantial because it removes competition from the endeavor. We are no longer gauging our progress against someone else’s, we’re learning to see the beautiful mile-markers in our own journey to Him. And as we are party to His grace, we will recognize more and more of the ways that He relates to us uniquely, as individuals. With that growing foundation, we are then free to appreciate the beautiful aspects of His relationships with others without feeling threatened by them. You may even decide to get yourself some rose-colored relationship glasses once you realize how much charity is flying around.