The Real Source of Confidence
In the early 1990s, a TV slogan that made an impact on our family was “Snap, crackle, pop! What do your Rice Krispies say to you?”
On a Sunday morning before church, our young children were eating a bowl of Rice Krispies at the table while I was reviewing a Relief Society lesson I was going to give later that morning. A quiet little voice from our 4-year-old declared, “Mom, I don’t have to go to church today.”
I said, “What?”
Little Jami repeated, “I don’t have to go to church today.”
“Who told you that?” I wondered.
She proudly proclaimed, “My cereal told me!”
I think we can all agree that we are bombarded by what President Dallin H. Oaks refers to as alternate voices—those voices that try to persuade us toward an identity contrary to what we know as Latter-day Saints to be. Those voices try to persuade us into a false reality that we are not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not spiritual enough, or just ordinary. Some of those voices try to coax us into blending in with the rest of the world when we were born to “stand out. Be different. Be a light.”
When we better understand our divine identity, that light from within, and couple that with carefully living our covenants, like living God’s commandments and serving others like our Savior Jesus Christ, we can count on some wonderful blessings.
Understanding our divine identity doesn’t necessarily increase our confidence in ourselves, but it establishes confidence that the Lord will help us do more and become more than we possibly could on our own.
When I was a young girl, I was shy—I mean really shy! My mother attests that I hid behind her skirt regularly. I had a difficult time sitting through a full day of my first-grade class. It was a frequent occurrence for me to cry at my desk until my teacher walked me down to my older brother’s class and let me sit with him for the rest of the day. I didn’t learn to read with my class because I was afraid to speak out loud. I took summer school until I could read a simple Sally, Dick, and Jane book and write my first name. Shyness made making friends an impossible task.
But when my parents joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while I was still young, everything changed.
I was taught that I was a child of God, and I believed it. I learned to pray on my own and with my family. I made friends in Primary and learned to recite a simple scripture from a pulpit at the front of the Primary room. Reading and praying about the Book of Mormon as a young woman solidified my testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. Knowing that the Book of Mormon is true strengthens my testimony of Joseph Smith and gives me confidence that I can rely on the wisdom and guidance of latter-day prophets. It helps me discern between truth and the voices of the world. I love that the Church not only gives us opportunities to grow in all areas of our lives but also helps us build confidence that we can do hard things.
Just think of the confidence and courage we can have when we know the Spirit is guiding us. When the Holy Ghost is with us, we have greater courage to stand up for our beliefs and speak up when necessary to defend those beliefs.
When she was in high school, our daughter Jana went to a dance with a cute young man. She looked beautiful as her handsome date walked her down the sidewalk to his car. She went to the dance and had a fun time, and I might not have retained the memory of that evening so clearly if the following had not happened.
Not too long after Jana returned home from the dance, we received a “doorbell ditch.” When we opened the door, we found a single red rose and a little note lying on the doormat. It wasn’t a fancy note or beautiful card, but a piece of paper torn from a notebook.
It simply said, “Jana, we just wanted to thank you SO much for wearing a modest dress to the dance.”
This small note of compliment meant a lot to all of us. The fact that someone noticed boosted Jana’s resolve to live the standards and gave her deeper confidence that she was on the right track.
We don’t always get compliments when we’re trying our best to live the standards of the Church. In fact, sometimes we are outright ridiculed—sometimes privately and other times quite publicly. But we are different, and we are a peculiar people. And that is a good thing! The more we internalize our identity and strive to live our covenants, the more confident children of God we become.
Do we have to be perfect? No. We know that perfection is not attainable in this life. But we can be worthy.
In the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet, we are all admonished to be humble and willing to listen to the Holy Ghost and to place the wisdom of the Lord above our own wisdom.
“As you do these things,” we read, “the Lord will make much more out of your life than you can by yourself. He will increase your opportunities, expand your vision, and strengthen you. He will give you the help you need to meet your trials and challenges. You will gain a stronger testimony and find true joy as you come to know your Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, and feel Their love for you.”
We show our love for Them by living our covenants—putting God first, keeping His commandments, serving others—and then the most amazing thing of all happens to our confidence: it will “wax strong in the presence of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45).
Adapted from a talk given by Sister Craven at BYU Women’s Conference in May 2018.
Becky Craven was called as the Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in March 2018. She and her husband are the parents of five children. She enjoys playing games with her family, snowshoeing, water sports, painting, quilting, traveling, and Sunday dinners with gospel discussions. Find more messages from Sister Craven on her Facebook page.