Because I Know Him

How has your life changed because you know Him?

December 19-25

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The annual Christmas message…I don’t know that any previous message I have shared about Christ comes more deeply than the one I feel today. I remember sending up numerous prayers throughout my life that I would be able to feel like I knew the Savior. I wanted Him to feel as tangible as any other person in my life. He felt so distant and abstract. I didn’t want to feel that way about Him.

In many ways, I feel like He answered that prayer.

For the last couple of years, I have prayed and stretched and desperately sought help and revelation as I’ve tried to share messages about the gospel. For a long time, I feel like I was learning about Him. This year, more than any previous year, I feel like He has become a steady, present, real influence in my life.

So for the Christmas message this year, I simply want to share a piece of my testimony of Him. I want to share how my life has changed because I know Him. I want to share how specific experiences I’ve encountered ended with different outcomes because of my relationship with Him.

And I want to reiterate that. It wasn’t enough that Christ is who He says He is. It didn’t matter that Christ was perfect, sacrificed, and resurrected until I internalized it. My situation changed because I developed a relationship with Him and was able to experience His atonement. 

Pathetic obstacles melt away

We recently got some bad news. We have a person in our life who stirred up some trouble, and Conner and I have found ourselves with very limited (and potentially extremely expensive) options that may or may not be worth it. Even if we choose to not do anything at all, we are still backed into a corner that costs money.

At first, it caused a very heavy feeling to come over me. 

I knelt down to pray for a miracle, and I was stopped. I didn’t feel like I could keep praying for this specific miracle. Instead, I found myself praying for the faith to accept His will. 

In the past, I feel like this would have been extremely disheartening. I don’t want to have faith in a plan that leaves me with crappy options. I wanted my faith to fix it. Doesn’t He know that we don’t have a ton of money to throw around for this? Doesn’t He know that some of our options are going to expire, perhaps permanently without a miracle? Doesn’t He know that we need this fixed right now in order to maximize benefits?

But because I’ve been able to develop a relationship with Him, it didn’t feel disheartening. I remembered that money is rather silly to Him; He can provide me with whatever I need. I remembered that we could lose everything, and it still didn’t need to be that big of a deal. I remembered that even if we don’t get everything we hoped for, He was preparing a place for us on the other side. It’s only a matter of time before I have everything I could ever dream of. It’s only a matter of time until I’m resurrected, living in a beautiful prosperous world filled with kind people. Because of the Savior, dreams are meant for more than this world.

I feel a little silly saying those phrases. “Losing everything doesn’t matter” and “everything I could ever dream of” can seem trite. However, when I’m able to draw closer to the Savior, they feel true. And those phrases don’t feel true simply because *insert sarcasm* I’m righteous and so above all of this worldly stuff. Those phrases feel true because I can feel the power of the Savior. I can feel that this world is so small. Spending time with Him puts everything in perspective. 

I guess the only way to describe it is this: Imagine you’re homeless. You have no access to a job, money, food, or shelter. However, you also know that tomorrow you’re going to accidentally win a 60 million dollar lottery with a ticket you found in the garbage. That lottery ticket hasn’t been found yet, but you know you’ll get it tomorrow. How depressed can you feel when you know what’s coming? Despair would be impossible; maybe you feel a little hungry but that feels pretty placated with the excitement that comes with tomorrow.

I know my Savior has paid for me to have all of that. I think it’s also significant that I can feel the truth of it because I can feel Him in my life.

Not even sin bothers me in the same ways

In another experience I’ve had this year, I lost my temper with someone. I got really heated and couldn’t shut my mouth. My words weren’t changing anything, and in all honesty, it was probably just making things worse. 

I couldn’t sleep that night because I knew that losing my temper had caused more harm for us than good. Normally, I feel like I would have experienced an immense amount of dread any time I thought about it. Normally, I would be holding that dread with me to this very day. If I ever remembered this specific temper flare-up, I would have felt really cringey. I would have been harsh with myself for making the mistake in hopes that it would keep me from repeating it.

Luckily, I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know Christ this year. Because of this, I was able to turn to Him that night when I couldn’t sleep.

We talked about how I lost my temper. I told Him that I recognized the futility of my temper. I asked Him to forgive me. Because I know Him, it was easy to let go of it. Rather than constantly looking back at those moments, I really do know that Christ took care of it. I feel that He took care of it, and I’ve spent enough time with Him that I know He wants me to replace guilt with gratitude. It’s not hard to let go of the guilt anymore because I know Him. I know that someday, when I get to the other side, I will be able to stand in front of the other person and we’ll be okay. 

Because I know Christ, I can work through my mistakes. They are no longer the burdens they once were. Because I know Him better than I used to, I know that He is proud of me for owning up to my mistake. He doesn’t want me to wallow in it. He wants me to stand up and just keep going. He wants me to love Him for handling it for me. 

Unsure footing feels stable

For the last eight months, my family has bounced around. We’ve moved three times and there has rarely been a moment when we knew what would happen next. Just like with anybody, I’ve had my ups and downs with the uncertainty of it all.

However, when I’m closest to Christ, things feel stable. Rather than constantly wearing thin and desperately wishing for a place to settle, I found that I could “settle” on His path. He knows where I am and He has a path for me to follow. 

But this “steady” feeling required work. It meant that I needed to seek Him out daily, and He was a perfect and powerful Ally. On some days, He would assure me that it would all work out wonderfully. On some days, He would ask me to count my blessings. On other days, He would push me to remember that He had already told me we would be okay and that I needed to choose to trust His promises of my own accord. Sometimes it meant that I received extra strength beyond what I had, and sometimes it meant that I needed to experience some of those hard feelings. 

Each day was so individualized; even when it seemed like He wasn’t answering, I could feel that it was for my good. It was good for me to put on my big girl pants and trust what He had already told me instead of constantly getting assurances. 

And each day that I spent with Him furthered that relationship and trust. He would always give me exactly what I needed; having faith in Him got easier because I was experiencing His perfection, power, and love.

Because of who He is and because I know Him, I often feel content with simply receiving one step at a time. It’s not as stressful to not know the ending.

There are a million different ways my life has changed because of who the Savior is. There are probably a million different ways that I don’t even recognize yet or have yet to be fulfilled. I have received little moments of testimony throughout my life. I pray and ask Him if something is true, and He answers that it is. However, it wasn’t until I spent time with Him frequently that my life really changed because of the atonement. Because He wants to spend time with me, my life is better.

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