While our family was in Argentina on assignment from the Church, our son and I often visited sites of interest in our free time. Among them was a zoo unlike any zoo we had seen before.
Rather than wander past cages of sleepy animals, visitors were invited to enter the pens and pet the animals. Following the trainer, we made our way into the enclosure prepared for the large lions and petted them while they seemed to ignore us.
I asked the trainers how they had convinced those giant beasts to not eat us. They called my attention to several little dogs that likewise inhabited the pens. When the lions were small, those yappy dogs chased the lions mercilessly and nipped at their heels. The lion cubs became accustomed to cowering in the corner, afraid of the dogs.
When the lions grew, they continued to cower in fear. With the flick of a paw, they could easily have sent those dogs flying, but the lions didn’t see themselves as they really were. They were unaware of their regal identity and potential.
We all face pesky little dogs that steal our confidence and keep us cowering in figurative corners. I name three.
Many of us characterize our performance more by our failures than by our successes. If we get 80 questions right out of 100, we sadly admit that we missed 20 questions rather than proudly note that we got 80 correct. Lack of confidence in our potential and in ourselves can blind us to our true worth and capacity.
Nephi saw a vision of the mother of the Savior, but when asked if he understood the condescension of God, he admitted he didn’t know the meaning of all things. But first he asserted what he did know: “[God] loveth his children.” (See 1 Nephi 11:12–17.) That’s the most essential thing to know. It keeps us from allowing pesky dogs of incomplete knowledge to compromise our certainty of the truthfulness of the Church and of our relationship with God and His unfailing and empowering love for us.
Bad choices or the neglect of good ones cloud our vision of reality. There was a symbolic reason the children of Israel needed to gather manna daily (see Exodus 16:4). The daily obligation to gather food helped them to remember God. Today, scripture reading, praying, attending church, and serving each other are our daily manna as children of God to help us remember the Lord.
We have God’s spiritual DNA coursing through our veins. We are His sons and daughters and His heirs. Swat away any deceiving messages, beliefs, or habits that cause you to cower in the corners of your life. Don’t let them nip at your heels and make you feel fearful or hurt. Rise to the level of your eternal stature. You are royalty.