photo credit: mark6mauno Deucez via photopin (license)

You know how they say you can always find someone better off than you and someone worse off than you? The same is true of religion. You can always find someone living their faith more diligently than you and someone less diligently than you. The trick is to realize that because then you cease comparing yourself to other people (theoretically). We’re all somewhere on that continuum and probably move up and down depending on the day. (As an aside, I think we can be pretty sure that at least some of the people who live their religion more diligently than we do are miserable doing it, i.e., doing it for show. And now I’ll have to repent of that very unchristian thought. But it’s still true.)

So A) we’re lost in the pack of religion runners, but it doesn’t really matter; we’re all going to cross the finish line sooner or later, one way or another. Now B) is worth pondering. Whenever you’re feeling grumpy because you choose to watch tv shows that don’t technically qualify as making your home a temple; or you don’t sacrifice your lifelong goal of becoming an Olympic gymnast because the meet is on Sunday; or you sleep in instead of going to a church function, just remember, you’re still living your religion more diligently than someone. Now, this isn’t a way to excuse laziness, it’s merely an acknowledgement that we are all at different places in our gospel knowledge and we need to walk before we can run.

Back to living your religion more diligently than someone else even though you don’t live it half as diligently as the shiny people next door. If you feel this grumpy around the family that glows with gospel light, imagine how grumpy are the people who don’t live their religion half as diligently as you do. If Shiny Family was the only example available, it would be too high a bar to meet and the less than diligent would give up. By you striking a more middle of the road path, you make a bridge between not diligent and blindingly diligent. Someone who’s still barely walking in the gospel can see in your example that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It might be nice to hit the high notes all the time, but few of us do.

Let the Shiny Family shine if that’s their thing. You do your thing  as diligently as you can. Someone out there is more likely to keep trying because your level of diligence is realistic for him or her.

No slacking! But no guilt either.


  1. Somehow this made me feel comforted about not being as “good” as I should be and a desire to do better even while my mind is screaming “but….but…we’re not supposed to compare!”

    1. To be honest, I felt deflated when Elder Nelson was talking about the young girl who sacrificed her competition to fulfill her commitment to the Stake RS meeting. I gave myself a good talking to, and then shared it as a blog post.

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