Like many people, I have struggled for much of my life to recognize my self-worth. I have fought weight problems for many years, which have contributed to my negative feelings. Even though I have lost weight and lead a healthy lifestyle now, occasionally I still find myself fighting off those negative thoughts and feelings.
One morning I felt particularly low and was wondering how to make the situation better. I began to pray and ask for Heavenly Father’s help to overcome these feelings of inadequacy. As I prayed, the following scripture came to my mind: “If ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity” (Moroni 10:22).
Iniquity seemed to be such a serious word, so much so that at first I discounted the thought because I could think of nothing that I had done seriously wrong. However, the thought persisted, so I prayed, as instructed also by Moroni, for Heavenly Father to show me my weakness that I might be made strong (see Ether 12:27).
I found myself remembering three incidents during the previous two days when I had not shown patience with my children. I had put my own moods and needs in front of theirs and had not been sensitive to their feelings. I felt bad and resolved to do better. I apologized to my children and prayed for forgiveness. As soon as I prayed, my feelings of inadequacy were lifted and I was able to feel the peace that had eluded me.
As though a light switch turned on in my mind, I finally understood a simple concept that somehow I had missed all these years. When I have unresolved sin in my life, even if it is small, I give Satan power to influence me. He knows my weaknesses, and he knows what words will “stir me up” and “lead me to destruction” (see D&C 10:22). When it comes right down to it, I don’t hate myself, but Satan does hate me and will use every tactic available to turn me away from the light.
However, when I repent, I rely on the power of Jesus Christ. Because He knows perfectly how to succor me in my weakness (see Alma 7:11–12), His power lifts me up and makes me strong in ways that I can’t be on my own.
Even the Apostle Paul, so valiant in proclaiming the gospel, suffered weakness and was plagued by its effects on him. Nevertheless, when he prayed to have the weakness removed, the Lord answered, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul then went on to exclaim, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Likewise, I will do my best to repent and obey the commandments so the “power of Christ may rest upon me” and I can be filled with peace and love.