“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45).
At times, we all wrestle with thoughts of insecurity. Have you ever asked yourself: “What can I do to feel more confident?” or “How can I feel better about myself?”
There’s a great answer in the scriptures. It says that if you have charity and “let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God” (D&C 121:45). That kind of confidence is true confidence. If you are confident in God’s presence, you can feel confident around anyone else.
“So,” you might ask, “what does virtue mean?” President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, says that virtue has many definitions—moral excellence, right action and thinking, goodness of character, and chastity.1
And then you might ask: “How can I do this? Is there something to guide me?” Yes, there is. The principles and doctrines in For the Strength of Youth will guide you to make decisions that will qualify you for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. And if you have the Holy Ghost with you, you are, in a sense, living in the presence of God. Think of the confidence Heavenly Father has in you to send you His Spirit.
As you live the standards described in For the Strength of Youth, you are promised that the Lord “will increase your opportunities, expand your vision, and strengthen you.”2 You will become more and more virtuous, more and more confident.
But be careful. This is not the way the world tells you to have confidence. The world tells you that to be confident you have to be better than others in some way—that you need to have more things, more talent, more intelligence, more popularity. This simply is not true. That is counterfeit confidence.
The Lord’s standards are different from the world’s standards. While the world focuses on outward appearance, “the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). You are a child of God, and your divine nature is not inferior or superior to anyone. In fact, everyone—including you—has different talents and abilities. These are gifts of the Spirit given to you so you can perform your divine mission on the earth. Heavenly Father wants you to be happy, growing and becoming all that He intends for you to become.
When you experience opposition in your life, think of scriptural heroes. Like Moses, you can gain strength by praying and remembering that you are a child of God (see Moses 1:13, 20–22). Nephi is another good example of one who had confidence in the Lord. When he and his brothers were asked to obtain the brass plates, he confidently knew he could do it with the Lord’s help. He said, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7). Nephi’s confidence came because of his virtuous life.
Just like Moses and Nephi and so many others, as you live a virtuous life you will be free to perform your earthly mission with confidence, confidence that will increase, or “wax strong.” We know that real confidence is available to anyone who is willing to “let virtue garnish [his or her] thoughts unceasingly.”