How can we draw strength and peace from our divine identity?
The year 2020 is both unprecedented and relentless. For almost one year now, the world has been battling with an invisible enemy – a virus the world has never seen before. With the virus have come all sorts of emotional challenges – harrowing anxiety, uncertainty, and depression, as well as the difficulties of losing jobs, businesses, and loved ones.
As someone who already struggles with health anxiety, dealing with a scary virus did not sit well with me. For months, I had overwhelming anxiety, and felt constantly overpowered by worries of dying, leaving my family, or losing people I love the most. During one of my most trying anxiety attacks, I told the Lord in prayer “I just want this to go away. I don’t want this darkness.”
The answer was quick, the peace was sudden. I heard a voice saying “Endure well, and remember that you are my child.”
The impression did not mention the specific things I needed to do – I already knew that. But I heard an answer that renewed my perspective – I was a child of God.
I am a Child of God — Now What?
What difference does it make to know that we are children of God?
One of the most popular stories in the Book of Mormon is about Nephi breaking his bow while out hunting. (Check out the awesome story here). While his brothers and father expressed dismay (aka, murmured) because of their circumstances, Nephi improvised and asked for help from the Lord through the Liahona.
It’s easy to realize why Nephi did what he did – he knew his identity, and he knew the Lord would help him achieve or overcome difficulties, no matter what.
Can you see how anchoring our faith in our divine identity can pull us through the toughest times?
Knowing Who We Are Reminds Us That We Can Overcome
One of the most profound quotes about divine identity is from French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He said “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We’re spiritual beings having a human experience.”
We have not been sent here on earth to simply admire the beaches, mountains, and beautiful man-made creations (though, that’s a BIG bonus), we’re also here to enrich our spirits.
There will be challenges, there will be hard times. We might sometimes find ourselves dealing with metaphorical broken bows, like Nephi. But knowing who we are, and having a solid anchor in the belief that we are children of a God with an incomprehensible love for us will remind us that – through His help and our faith – we can overcome the toughest of times.
Knowing Who We Are Helps Us Regain and Retain a Broader Perspective
It’s easy to be caught up in the now. It’s tough NOW. It’s overwhelming NOW. It’s painful NOW.
Understanding what we’re going through in the now is healthy. Acknowledging our challenges is important.
But getting caught up in the now can be stressful.
One of the biggest benefits of realizing our divine identity – that we are sons and daughters of God – is gaining an eternal perspective. Life does not end in this imperfect, sorrow-filled world.
Having an eternal perspective without discounting the challenges of the now is a healthy way to navigate around our trials. Our eternal perspective can bring us peace.
Knowing Who We Are Helps Us Access The Ultimate Source of Peace
One of the most soul-stirring scriptures about God’s love for His children can be found in Matthew 7:11.
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give gifts to those that ask Him?”
It’s a beautiful reminder that the Lord – who is our Heavenly Father – will give the best gifts to us because He knows what we need.
It reminds us that during our most trying times, He is there extending His arms of comfort.
It helps us remember that during times of loss, He is there to fill the void, and to compensate.
It gives us the assurance that no matter how trying these times are, or how elusive hope is, He is there because He is our Father, and He loves us.
Knowing Who We Are Helps Us Understand Trials Better
When we understand that the Lord is our loving parent, it becomes clearer that He gives us trials and challenging times as opportunities to grow.
Wise, loving parents let their kids barrel through tough times, not because they love them less, but because they want their children to become better.
Knowing who we are will not always remove pain and hardship, but it can help us recognize opportunities to learn from our challenges.
Knowing Who We Are Can Give Us Strength to Endure
President Russell M. Nelson shared this beautiful promise: “Strength comes when you remember that you have a divine nature, an inheritance of infinite worth.”
Understanding divine identity is not a magic pill that will remove the pain of physical ailments, and earthly challenges.
Knowing you’re a child of God won’t immediately take the fear out of a cancer diagnosis.
Knowing you’re a divine being won’t always make losing jobs and opportunities less heavy.
Knowing you’re loved by the Lord won’t automatically transform moments of suffering into moments of bliss.
But knowing who you are will give you that strength to carry on despite the pain, the fear, and the hopelessness.
God’s parental love for us is great. And the challenges He gives us are opportunities for growth, just like parents let their kids fall when they’re learning how to walk.
In these times of fear and uncertainty, we can anchor onto something that is sure – that we are divine, that we are sons and daughters of God, and He loves us. Building on the foundation of our divine inheritance can be that light in a long, dark tunnel – the light both you and I truly need these days.