A Spirit-Inspired Motto
When I get depressed, I get REALLY depressed. It’s like the positive part of my brain shuts down, and the negative part goes into overdrive.
I’ve thought about what I can do to get out of that pit of despair once I’ve fallen into it. I thought about reading my personal mission statement, but when I do that, all I can think about is how much I’m not living up to who I’d like to be.
So, I decided I needed something else—a personal mantra. Something I can say to myself (even out loud) to at least keep my head above the water instead of drowning in my depression. And this is the mantra I came up with:
“I’m human, not a hypocrite. God planned for this. Just learn.”
And this is why those words are so powerful to me.
1️⃣ “I’m human, not a hypocrite.”
I’m an author and a podcaster. I wrote a book about how to stay close to the Spirit. I often share spiritual thoughts on social media. And on my podcast, I constantly give advice about how to live the gospel more fully.
And yet I mess up and fall short ALL THE TIME.
Lately I’ve had this nagging feeling—surely from the adversary—of “Who do you think you are? One minute you’re talking about loving others, and the next minute, you’re yelling at your kids. You talk about the joy of repentance, but then you get angry because of your weaknesses. You’re a hypocrite who doesn’t even practice what you preach.”
And I probably would’ve kept believing that for a long time if it wasn’t for the Spirit putting that phrase in my mind: “You’re human, not a hypocrite.”
People who read what I write and listen to my podcast might think I’m some spiritual giant who lives a near-perfect life. But I’m not—and I don’t.
Yes, God blesses me with a lot of insights, and He’s blessed me with the ability to share those in an eloquent way. But that doesn’t mean I always live up to what I share. So does that mean that I should stop sharing it? No!
Because I BELIEVE it. I believe the gospel with all my heart, and I believe that the more fully we live it, the happier we’ll be.
I’m not a hypocrite—because I WANT to live the gospel and I’m TRYING to live it.
But I AM human, and that’s okay—because it turns out that this is all part of God’s plan.
2️⃣ “God planned for this.”
Elder Lynn G. Robbins said, “Repentance isn’t [God’s] backup plan in the event we might fail. Repentance IS His plan, knowing that we will.”
God knew we would not make it through this life being perfect. But He had a plan in which everything could still work out in the end:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
That’s His plan—a Savior, an Atonement, mercy, grace, love, repentance, forgiveness. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
That’s why Elder Bednar called repentance “a principle of hope and healing, not of discouragement and despair.” And why President Nelson called it “a never-ending privilege.” And why Elder Robbins described it as “God’s ever-accessible gift that allows and enables us to go from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.”
So, to remind me of all this during a moment of darkness, I chose that phrase: “God planned for this.” So I can remember that even though I can’t be perfect, I CAN embrace God’s perfect plan, and I CAN become “perfected in Christ” (Moroni 10:32) … eventually.
And what can I do in the meantime?
3️⃣ “Just learn.”
I can learn. Not judge myself and learn. Not hate myself and learn. JUST LEARN.
Because “each mistake we make becomes a lesson in wisdom, turning stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.” (Yet another great quote from Elder Robbins.)
After I turn my heart toward God in repentance, this part of the mantra helps me to stop looking backward and start moving forward again.
I can look inside me and around me to figure out why I did what I did—not with judgment, but with a sense of calm, compassionate curiosity.
I can turn every bad day into good data.
I can learn from my mistakes.
I can do better next time.
Well, if you’ve ever struggled with feelings such as mine, I hope this mantra helps you as much as it’s helped me.
You’re human, not a hypocrite.
God planned for this.