“Stop Limiting Yourself,” Ensign, April 2020
For a long time, I struggled to understand exaltation.
I felt like there was no way for me, a person with so many imperfections and flaws, to achieve such a high plane. The scriptures teach that we were created to a certain measure of creation—the measure of obtaining eternal life. As I learned more, I found that many other members of the Church struggle with the concept of being perfected and exalted one day. In my eyes, there are two possible reasons for this:
We lack sufficient faith in or understanding of the Savior’s Atonement to comprehend the depth and capacity of His sacrifice and how He can lead us to eternal life.
We believe we are too imperfect and can’t imagine that God would allow us to reach celestial glory.
Brother Tad R. Callister, former General Sunday School President, taught: “I have met with good Saints who have had trouble forgiving themselves, who have innocently but incorrectly placed limits on the Savior’s redemptive powers. Unwittingly, they have converted an infinite Atonement to a finite one that somehow falls short of their particular sin or weakness. But it is an infinite Atonement because it encompasses and circumscribes every sin and weakness, as well as every abuse or pain caused by others.”1
So, although we may be tempted to believe we have sinned beyond the Savior’s ability to help us, it is crucial that we realize there is nothing we can’t overcome if we are willing to trust and have faith in the Savior (see Philippians 4:13). Believing we are beyond help is a self-imposed limitation. He has provided a way for all of us to be saved. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have never placed a limit on who we can become with Their help. Seeing us return to our heavenly home is what Heavenly Father is planning on. And despite what some might claim, His plan isn’t about setting us up for failure.
This is a plan for us to succeed!
But even knowing this, we still often limit ourselves in many areas of life. Perhaps you have a weakness that you’ve tried hard to overcome for a long time, and you’re starting to think that you can’t change. Or maybe every time you hear the prophet and apostles ask us to gather Israel, you think, “I need to be doing more. Nothing I do is ever enough.”
Instead of beating yourself up, know that the Savior’s healing, enabling, and refining power is available to you. Always.
We are all constantly given opportunities to further understand our limitless potential and Heavenly Father’s promise of exaltation. You can start with the small things:
Study the Savior’s life and His Atonement to better understand His significance in your life.
Pray for the faith to see yourself in the presence of God.
Spend time in the temple as much as you can. If you don’t live near a temple, study and ponder the blessings and truth of temple covenants.
Read your scriptures.
Practice daily repentance and gratitude.
See your Church calling as a great, eye-opening opportunity. If you magnify your calling, whatever it may be, you will begin to see new spiritual horizons.
Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled:
“I encourage you to discover who you really are. I invite you to look beyond the daily routine of life. I urge you to discern through the Spirit your divinely given capacities. I exhort you to prayerfully make worthy choices that will lead you to realize your full potential. …
“… When you push against the boundaries of experience into the twilight of the unknown, the Lord will strengthen you. The beauty of your eternal soul will begin to unfold.”2
Looking to Heavenly Father for guidance in all areas of your life can also help you remove the limits you’ve set for yourself—in your career, your education, your home, or your acts of service. When you commit to do better as a disciple of Jesus Christ in all your circumstances, even in small ways, you will be able to share light with others and stretch yourself spiritually.
The Lord taught us: “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great”(Doctrine and Covenants 64:33).
So, at the end of the day, don’t beat yourself up because of how far you still have to go. Your efforts are a testament to how far you’ve come. A little reflection will likely reveal that you have already proven you are capable of great things with the Lord’s help!
If you’re struggling to comprehend your potential to live and become like God, you’re not alone. Realizing and believing this principle is a process that takes more than just visualizing—it takes change. But as you have faith in the Savior and put in the effort to grow closer to Him and Heavenly Father, They will change you. You will fulfill all you’ve been asked to do in this life. You will become better and eventually exalted. Just believe in yourself—and believe in the Savior, who will give you the strength to repent and to serve.
Elder J. Devn Cornish of the Seventy said it best: “Let me be direct and clear. The answers to the questions ‘Am I good enough?’ and ‘Will I make it?’ are ‘Yes! You are going to be good enough’ and ‘Yes, you are going to make it as long as you keep repenting and do not rationalize or rebel.’ The God of heaven is not a heartless referee looking for any excuse to throw us out of the game. He is our perfectly loving Father, who yearns more than anything else to have all of His children come back home and live with Him as families forever.”3
The Savior already paid the price for you to be exalted. His grace is sufficient for all who strive to live as He did. All He asks is that you have faith in Him and continue to repent when you fall short. “For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). I know that as you try your best to follow God’s plan for you, you will achieve all that you’re asked to do, you will become who you were always meant to be, and you will once again be welcomed back into His loving arms. Alone, you may have limits. But with Heavenly Father and the Savior, your potential is limitless (see Alma 26:12).