I had just gone through some dating heartache and was spending a lot of time at my sister’s. Inevitably we ended up eating junk food, watching TV, and taking naps. Waking from one of these naps, I remarked, “I don’t think we’re very good for each other.” We laughed, but that night I thanked Heavenly Father for the realization that I was using my sister as a security blanket and prayed for greater understanding of what I might do to move forward with my life. Over the next few months, that prayer was answered as I gained understanding one concept at a time.
The next day, while attending a Relief Society meeting, I noticed a particular scripture: “Others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well. … Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!” (2 Nephi 28:21, 24). I had always read these verses as describing the proud who went through the motions of worship. I had not considered myself as being at ease in Zion by spending so much time with my sister. But I began to realize that instead of seeking healing, I’d sought comfort. I resolved then to try harder to get out of my comfort zone.
The resolution helped, but stepping out of my comfort zone made me more aware of my inadequacies, which led me to feel more critical of myself. When I mentioned these feelings to a friend, he commented, “Isn’t forgiving ourselves great?” His comment helped me desire to better forgive myself of my shortcomings—without becoming complacent like those who are “at ease in Zion.”
One day I was struck by Mormon 2:13–14: “Their sorrowing was not unto repentance, because of the goodness of God; but it was rather the sorrowing of the damned, because the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin. And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits.” I came to understand that my feelings of failure were stunting my personal growth, and I began to ponder what appropriate sorrow would entail. It was in Sunday School that I found my answer.
Our teacher drew a line on the chalkboard, labeling one end, “Being too hard on ourselves” and the other end, “Eat, drink, and be merry.” We talked about avoiding either extreme. I wondered what words would be in the center of the line, and the Spirit guided my thoughts to the phrase “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” It seemed to me that the solution to a tendency to be too hard on oneself might be described as a contrite spirit—one that is repentant, accepting of the Lord’s help, and grateful for His mercy. The remedy for being at ease in Zion might be called a broken heart—one that is justly motivated to change and to heal.
The Savior taught, “Ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Nephi 9:20). I am grateful to know that as I seek the Lord’s help to avoid being at ease in Zion and to avoid harshly judging myself, I am offering an acceptable sacrifice to Him—a sacrifice that helps me move forward with my life.