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After a misunderstanding with my fiancé, my dad’s surprising advice changed me

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“I hoped to gain clarity on the matter with my fiancé, and I did, just not in the way I expected.”
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When my husband and I were engaged, we had a misunderstanding, and I sought counsel from my parents. I hoped to gain clarity on the matter, and I did, although not in the way I expected.

After chatting with my mom, I approached my dad for advice and waited for him to agree that my fiancé may have “said the wrong thing” and instruct me on “how I could initiate a proper conversation about it.” To my surprise, his questions made me rethink why I was upset in the first place. In a loving, fatherly manner, he stated a phrase I will never forget: “Andrea, sometimes we’re the ones who may need to change.”

I was speechless. Was he really telling me I needed to be more humble? As I allowed myself to accept that previously overlooked areas of my life could use some work, a deeper meaning of humility came to my mind: being courageous enough to admit that there’s work to be done in a world that’s constantly rewarding perfectionism.

Since that experience, I’ve sought to magnify my understanding of humility by talking to three women whom I admire for the way they carry themselves. Their humble confidence radiates a light that the world so desperately needs.

My purpose was to broaden my understanding of how real women in the Church today understand and apply humility in their everyday lives. As I did so, I was reminded that while society values perfection, the Lord values effort; therefore, to be humble means to be hopeful and teachable by putting in the effort to let go of our pride.

Humility Starts with Hope

The first woman I spoke with was Tressa Lacy. Her father started a prosperous sawmill, but with the fall of the logging industry, their family “fell with it.” Before she knew it, she and her siblings were logging in the mountains as children because they refused to “take help.”

Photo by Ashlee Fackrell

Tressa shared that she had to rely on others for the first time when she experienced a devastating logging injury. In her efforts to unlearn the “I can do it by myself” mentality, she found hope in knowing that “we don’t have to do it alone” because “others can help us” along our journey.

In Tressa’s perspective, humility starts with hope. She explained that she’s been the least humble when she didn’t have hope that she could “change or grow.” For her, hearing “misinformed” or “well-intentioned” talks about how the Atonement of Jesus Christ is out there, but we should try “not to have to use it,” created an unrealistic expectation of perfectionism.

This thought implies that we should strive to always be “shiny and new” by pretending there’s nothing we need to work on. As Tressa has wrestled with this idea of perfectionism, she’s come to learn that if we want to change, we can find hope in knowing the Atonement of Jesus Christ applies to all of us.

Through our conversation, I learned that hope is crucial in fostering humility. In order to have hope that growth and change are possible, we must be willing to confront our flaws and imperfections; because when we confront them, we become teachable.

Humility is about Being Teachable

Confronting our flaws and imperfections takes courage because by facing them, we accept that there’s work to be done. Sometimes, it seems easier to keep the blinders on and pretend that everything is okay. But, as Lora Faamausili reminded me, “there really is something to be learned in every area at every hour of the day.”

Courtesy of Lora

A few years back, Lora went through a really sad and difficult situation that involved untrue words being said about her character. She recalls this situation as “frustrating” and one of the “hardest things [she’s] ever had to do.” Lora realized it was a “give it to God” situation, and she had to let go and rely on the fact that the Savior was in control.

Throughout our conversation, Lora explained that pride can creep up on us in little ways, such as the way we carry ourselves or the thoughts we allow our hearts to dwell on. We can feel those small encounters in our spirits, and when this happens, we are “ineffective at really being who [we] know [we] want to be.”

Lora also shed light on the concept of pride by highlighting the spectrum it encompasses. While pride is commonly associated with arrogance and self-aggrandizement, Lora emphasized its other extreme—a sense of inadequacy and feeling undeserving. She explained that “on both ends of that pride scale… we're closing ourselves off to being teachable and to growing closer to Jesus Christ.”

Many talented people undermine their abilities, not because they are incapable, but because they are concerned about performing with perfection. Not only is this standard illogical to pursue, but it is also a disservice to ourselves and our communities—the world desperately needs our force for good!

Pride is closing the door on Jesus Christ, just as much as it is not opening it when He knocks. This looks like feeling inadequate for a Church calling, prolonging our guilt about a parenting mistake, or forgetting to acknowledge the positive influence that we bring to our homes in the mundane routines of everyday life.

This behavior separates us from the power of God because we keep ourselves from being teachable. In order to combat this, we must learn to anchor our insecurities in the surety of God—to let go and trust in Him.

Humility is about Learning to Let Go

Tia Bray recently went through an experience where she had to let go and leave everything in God’s hands. As a young, working professional, she was struggling to know which direction to move toward while searching for her first job as a recent college grad. She isn’t “tied down in any way to a spouse or to children or family” so there seemed to be “too many doors that were open for [her].” That is until the doors started shutting.

Tia (far right) with her family
Photo by Schlick Art

For Tia, it ultimately came down to one door. While it wasn’t the door she wanted or expected, she knew that Heavenly Father had it “figured out.”

When I asked Tia for her thoughts regarding humility, she compared it to rappelling or rock climbing; there may be moments when it may feel more comfortable relying on footholds or handholds because it gives us control, but in order to get where we are going, we have to remember to trust the rope and let go.

Humility is accepting that not everything is what we expect it to be, and still being willing to let go—to trust, in a spiritual sense, that Heavenly Father is our rope.

Humility Over Perfection

Being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during this winding-up scene in the latter days comes with “both privileges and responsibilities” that will greatly influence future generations. It is important, more than ever before, to align our heart, mind, and spirit with the will of the Lord in order to see past the tricks of the world.

We often portray being a disciple of Jesus Christ as someone who has it all figured out; someone who knows how to be kind, selfless, and loving while simultaneously looking the part. At times, I wonder what it takes to master this art, but then, I am reminded that perfectionism isn’t humility but a facade that, when given value, becomes a never-ending chase.

It is easy to find faults in others, but it takes true humility to acknowledge and work on the faults within ourselves. While society applauds perfection, the Lord values effort; therefore, to be humble means to be hopeful and teachable by letting go of our pride.

As the Magnify manifesto says:

Let us claim our divinity over our insecurities.
Let us stand tall in our imperfections and be unashamed of our limitations.
Let our sacred hunger be satisfied through learning, growth, and connection.
Let us believe in the light that always comes.

Andrea with the Magnify manifesto.
Photo courtesy of the author.

Today, I’d like to add, let us choose humility over perfection so we may be a major force for good in the world.

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