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July 31, 2020 - Keeping up appearances

Many times, as we go through life, we lose track of who we are and the magnificent potential we have within ourselves. We spend our lives looking for happiness just around the next corner, buying things we can’t afford, and trying to impress people we will never see again. Sometimes we allow pride to be our guide, when serving others should be our daily focus.
Often we try to shape our lives and our bodies to meet the expectations of others and to impress the world, which is impossible to impress because it is ever changing. Sometimes in this madness we forget what really matters.

Shayne M. Bowen, "I Can Sleep When the Wind Blows", BYU Speeches, November 13, 2018

The way in which we view ourselves is different than how others see us. We are often harder on ourselves than others are. Because of that, we try hard to make others think we are different than we really are. And usually, those we are trying to impress are on the path that goes the way of the world.

I find myself often times in that very cycle. I want others to think and remember me as a good person. I'm not fake by any means but I do want to show how proud I am in my life to others, as if I'm bragging. Is it bragging though? I am proud of my wife and I want others to see that. I am proud of my children and I want others to see that. I am proud of what I've been able to accomplish in my life, and again, I want others to see that. I am proud of who I am and where I came from. But to who exactly do I feel the need to brag to? Who needs to see how proud I am? Am I a better person if they know that? Am I less of a person if they don't?

I feel like Ammon when Aaron said to him, "I fear that thy joy doth carry thee away unto boasting".

I think that I am bragging or boasting when I try to make others think that I accomplished everything on my own. It is bragging when I want others to think that it was my own hard work, my own doing that I was able to have an awesome wife, great children who are good people, etc.

But it wasn't my own doing that afforded me what I have at all. Sure, there was some work on my part, because God wants us to put in the effort, but Heavenly Father is the One who led me down this path, blessed me with an amazing family, helped me accomplish what I've achieved, and is continuing to lend me breath.

There's quite a difference between pride and being proud of. Pride focuses on myself and my own feelings, whereas being proud of focuses on others, especially Heavenly Father. Without Him, I am nothing. But, again, it is one thing to say that and quite another to actually believe that.

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