Why the Phrase "This Isn't for Me" Is Dangerous to Our Spiritual Growth

by | Feb. 25, 2019

Mormon Life

As a Beehive, there was one lesson that never failed to make me feel super awkward: the chastity lesson.

At the time, the infamous "chastity lesson" felt like it was covering situations that were lightyears ahead. I couldn't help but think, "This isn't for me. I've never even held a boy's hand before. Why do I need to be taught this now?"

But that phrase, "this isn't for me," was a dangerous one, as I've come to find out.

Not long after the chastity lesson, I was attending a stake fireside where a laurel was asked to speak about chastity. Though it might have seemed like a double-down on the topic, what she said will forever change how I thought about lessons that seemed to not apply to me. 

Though I don't remember what she said word-for-word, I do remember she said something along the lines of, "You can be taught something like chastity over and over and never know how important it is to you until you have to make a decision. Until you are with a boy you really like and it's just the two of you. And then all those lessons you thought weren't for you suddenly are, and you have to decide what you are going to do."

That talk had a lasting impact on my life. Whenever I think, "This lesson/talk/scripture isn't for me," I also think about this 17-year-old girl who was brave enough to share something from her life experience that helped strengthen mine.  

In 1 Nephi 19:23, Nephi writes, "I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning." I believe the same can be said with inspired lessons and talks. We can liken all lessons, all talks to our lives, and then they will be "for our profit and learning." 

An example of this was President Dallin H. Oaks's recent general women's session address.

I've been married for almost five years. My husband and I love children. Call us crazy, but we asked for a calling in nursery because we love kids so much. But throughout our marriage, we both have had a distinct impression that it is not yet time for us to have children. This has been incredibly difficult, especially as time passes and we see our friends and family members having children. 

When I heard President Oaks's talk "Parents and Children," I couldn't help but think that lesson wasn't for me. I had prayed, gone to the temple, and fasted multiple times about having children, and every time I got the answer, "Not yet." I knew that being a mother was my highest priority and an "ultimate joy" as President Oaks said. But I couldn't help but feel like his message wasn't for me. I wasn't putting off having children for temporal reasons and I understood that raising children is a sacred calling, so what else did I have to learn about this subject?

I didn't realize how harmful this attitude was to my spiritual well-being until a few months later. I was on Facebook and saw another woman's comment about how the post was great but the message "wasn't for her." After looking at the post, I realized the message was beautiful and could be applied to everyone, including this woman. At first, I felt indignation that someone could so blatantly ignore what I felt was an inspired message. But as I sat in my indignation, I realized I was no better. I had done the same thing only worse because I had brushed aside the counsel of an inspired leader of the Church.

It was the chastity lesson all over again.

I wasn't raising a family yet, but someday I would. And when that day came, would I remember the words of President Oaks's talk? Would I remember that motherhood is a sacred calling all women are entitled to, whether or not they have children? Would I remember that raising a family was my highest priority? And as I worked to fulfill my calling as a youth leader, would I remember his counsel to young women about cellphone use and bullying?

I wasn't seeing the unique application of this counsel in my life. I wasn't "likening" it to a situation that may be in the future. In short, "this isn't for me" was endangering my spiritual growth. 

As Richard C. Edgley said in his 2003 October general conference talk "The Empowerment of Humility": "Humbly submitting our will to the Father brings us the empowerment of God—the power of humility. It is the power to meet life’s adversities, the power of peace, the power of hope, the power of a heart throbbing with a love for and testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ, even the power of redemption."

While, at face value, a lesson/talk/gospel principle/scripture may not look like it is for us, there could actually be a unique, personal message for us from Heavenly Father if we strive to apply it in our lives. 

Lead image from Getty Images

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