I’ve noticed a trend lately. Maybe it’s a trend in only myself…but maybe not. It seems like we can’t accept the way that God has blessed us in our lives. I’m not saying this the way I mean it. It seems like it is popular to only notice our shortcomings and our “opportunities for growth” instead of rejoicing in the ways that the Lord has blessed and strengthened us.
I’ll give an example. Let’s say you meet someone who is really fit. You might say to her, “Hey, you are so fit and strong. You look great.”
What do you think her response will be? Most of the time it goes something like this, “Thanks, but you shouldn’t say that. My __(insert some kind of dissatisfied body part)____ is not what I’d like it to be.”
Why can’t she say, “Thanks. The Lord has really blessed me to get a handle on my health and fitness.”
Or maybe you meet someone who is very wise with her use of time and talents. You might say to her, “You are so organized!”
What would be her response? Probably something like, “Oh, no. You should see my desk…”
I do this. In fact, it is so common, I find myself preemptively discrediting myself – I’m not sure why. I guess it is to appear humble. And it happens all the time.
Thankfully, we have the Book of Mormon in these latter days. And we can see that many of our foibles aren’t relegated only to this time or to a specific sex. It seems like the faithful have had a hard time with acceptance and rejoicing in the blessings of the Lord for a long time. I think it comes from a good place. We don’t want to appear proud. But it is important to be honest. God is perfectly honest, and He wants us to be, too.
In Alma, we read about the experience of the sons of Mosiah preaching the gospel to the Lamanites. After fourteen years, they experienced many hardships and also unimagined success. As they were traveling back to Zarahemla, Ammon begins to rejoice in the miracles and blessings that they experienced during their missions.
In fact, his joyfulness caused his own brother to comment to Ammon:
“And it came to pass that when Ammon had said these words, his brother Aaron rebuked him, saying: Ammon, I fear that thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting.” – Alma 26:10
After this brief censure, Ammon responds:
“But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.” – Alma 26:11
Why shouldn’t Ammon rejoice?! He had just spent the last fourteen years of his life serving people. He had experienced highs and lows. He saw the fruits of his labors, and was feeling great joy in this fruit. I’m sure that he also developed relationships with many of the people served. There is a difference between pride and rejoicing because God is good and has blessed us.
Ammon later states:
“Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.” – Alma 26:16
I love this! I need to apply this into my life, too. Who can glory too much in the Lord? It isn’t wrong to accept and rejoice in the blessings and successes He has given us. This is a show of our gratitude and love for Him.
I have struggled with this. There are times when people pay me a compliment. I have a hard time accepting it for various reasons 1) I feel inadequate 2) I don’t want to become prideful, and I know that my successes are 100% results of blessings of God.
Instead of beating around the bush and acting shy, I can say thanks. Instead of saying, “You shouldn’t say that…” in an I’m not worthy tone, I can use the opportunity to glorify and testify of God who has blessed me in the first place. I can recognize the hand that God has had in my life, accept His blessings, and remember Ammon’s honest question, who can glory too much in the Lord?