While you have made mistakes, these sins do not describe who you are. Your identity is not defined by the sins of this world, but by the righteousness of another.
Elder Neil L. Andersen, "The Divine Gift of Forgiveness", Deseret Book, 2019
The last couple of days, and especially as I say goodbye to my son for the second time, I have reflected on my example as a father, particularly where I fell short and fall short. I have much to improve on. Don't get me wrong... I am not feeling pity or sorry for myself, just self aware. Thank goodness my children are stronger than me and they are an inspiration to me.
When I read this quote by Elder Andersen, it hit home because I often define who and what I am based on the mistakes that I've made in my life. When running a race, nobody remembers the long bursts of perfect form, running a straight line, with no issues. No. They remember the times when you fall and scrape a knee, or worse. Those moments are memorable.
So, I am the same way with myself. I remember the times I have fallen because those moments stand out. However, I will give myself credit....getting back up each time I fall is also memorable. And I also remember those moments. I am grateful that I can and will still get back up.
As I ponder my shortcomings and inadequacies as a father and a mortal being, my thoughts are often taken to my pre-mortal life. I know I did something right then and there. I wouldn't be here otherwise. My identity was absolute then, there was no doubt as to who I was. I was a son of God. I was in His presence. I'm sure I made mistakes there too, albeit different ones. But I don't think I judged myself for them or defined myself based on them. So why do I now? Is it a mortal tendency? I still am a son of God. That didn't change.
Point is....I am, and always will be, a child of Heavenly Parents. Just because I am not in Their presence, does not change that fact. I have been called to come to earth, with limited communication with my Parents, to gain a physical body and to serve other children of God and better myself as a person. That's my identity.