Some of my favorite childhood memories are of me curled up beneath my sheets, holding my flashlight as I scanned the final pages of a beloved book. The battle was won, the characters I loved were safe, and I was happy. I would lie awake, wondering what it would feel like to be the victorious main character, and when I’d finally drift off, I would have a grin on my face.
I loved living vicariously through the characters in my books because I was certain that someone as ordinary as me could never be a hero.
I quietly held on to this belief until it was challenged a few weeks ago in my college psychology class when I was asked to write about my heroes. The first faces that came to mind were of the women in my life. At first, I pushed back against this idea, thinking that so many people write about how their mothers or aunts or Young Women leaders are their heroes. But then I realized that was exactly the point.
Most of the people who’ve changed my life aren’t social media moguls or billionaires or renowned experts. My heroes are people who have taken the time to show me Christlike love and help me understand who I truly am.
Our power as righteous women comes from realizing our own importance, our divine identity, and our capacity for accomplishing many things. In turn, realizing our own worth allows us to help others understand their strengths and their infinite worth as well.
Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President, encouraged us “to find our gifts and develop them, remembering who gave them to us, and then use them for His purposes. As we share our gifts to bless others, we are experiencing the power of the priesthood in our lives.”1 It is so important for women to always understand that the world “need[s] your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices.”2
Furthermore, as mighty as we can be as individuals, we are far stronger when we come together. Burdens can be heavy when we stand out or stand alone, but together we can “bear one another’s burdens” by mourning “with those that mourn” and comforting “those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8–9). We need to stop judging and competing with one another as the world does. We need one another in the ongoing Restoration of the gospel.
When I was younger, I defined heroism as one person saving the world through an extraordinary sacrifice. Heroism was something you would see in a news story—a daring firefighter pulling a baby out of a burning building or a brave husky rescuing its owner during a brutal winter storm. But my definition of heroism has been expanded. Heroism is the loaf of bread from a ministering sister because she was inspired to serve you. Heroism is sending an encouraging text to someone because you felt a prompting that they needed to hear your words. Heroism is offering your shoulder to be stained by the tears of a mourning sister. Heroism is humble, quiet, and brave. Heroism is the courage to take small steps to serve and love others, even in moments of exhaustion, uncertainty, or apathy. Heroism is wrought in small ways, for “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).
While the light of our individual heroism may have a seemingly small radius, it is together that the light of Christ’s love can reach every corner of the world. As our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, has said: “My dear sisters, nothing is more crucial to your eternal life than your own conversion. It is converted, covenant-keeping women … whose righteous lives will increasingly stand out in a deteriorating world and who will thus be seen as different and distinct in the happiest of ways.”3
As cool as dragons and magic and epic battles are, one day—when I read the book of my life—I want to see that I was patient in the face of adversity, kind in the face of cruelty, and meek in the face of hate. I want to read about me conversing with the lonely and defending the marginalized, helping them see themselves the way God sees them. I want to know that because I was confident in who I was and knew the power of my influence, I helped change the world for good, helped further the work of the Lord (even in small ways), and helped prepare the world for His return. And when I do, I’ll see I did it with the help and influence of my beloved sisters and women who have been amazing examples of discipleship.