Be Grateful for Who You Are

by Katie Messer, daughter of Bernadette Waldrop
(A Laurel in Young Women)

The other day a good friend decided to make a cake. It looked really, really good. The problem was she mixed up the quantity of sugar with salt. She put in a cup of salt and a teaspoon of sugar. It looked good to eat, but looks can be deceiving.

I mean look at my mom--she looks weak and fragile, but she’s full of spit and vinegar, as my Dindin would say, and won’t lie down and die. Just kidding--I love you mom! But now that you’re all listening… it’s back to the cake.

You can look at that cake and imagine how good it tastes, admire how much work was put into making it, and wish your cakes looked just as good when they were frosted and decorated. You look at the beauty of the cake, sneak a taste of the frosting as you “accidentally” brush by the cake, and think more envious thoughts toward the baker of this apparent divine culinary masterpiece.

But looks can be deceiving. Remember the salt and sugar mix up? One decent mouthful of that “culinary masterpiece” will have you spitting in your napkin or rushing to the porcelain masterpiece. Things just aren’t always what they seem.

I’ve found nowadays that we focus so much on the best qualities of others, and compare ourselves to those qualities thinking, “If only I was as good as so-and-so.” What you don’t know is that so-and-so is struggling with the same insecurities, wishing their talents away for the perceived talents, qualities, and looks of others. We constantly compare ourselves to others, thinking they are perfect and have it all together, when really there is only one who was perfect and had it all together, and that was Christ.

For every time we put ourselves down or compare ourselves to others we deny the uniqueness of our own existence and creation. Heavenly Father made only one of us. It is true that to be a successful athlete such as Michael Jordan takes dedication, practice, perseverance, and physical and mental discipline.

However, I don’t think that Michael Jordan can twirl a flag like Brindi, manage a puck like Jordan, play piano like Bryton, sing like Sister Amanda, give short and sweet testimonies like Brother Gavin, be as happy as Zach, keep 17-year-olds engaged while taking about Moses like Brother Brad, or break dance like Bishop.

The reflection in the mirror is a gift from God, along with its accompanying talents, strengths, and weaknesses. Don’t wish your uniqueness away through envying the talents or qualities of others or wishing you could be different. This is Satan’s way of diminishing our self-worth and minimizing our talents that are there for the benefit of ourselves and those we meet along our journey.

It is not prideful to appreciate and share our skills and talents, and it is not Heavenly Father’s plan for us to hide them under a bushel. As quoted in the scriptures, Matthew 5:14-16 reads:
14: Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
15: Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.
For those of you that weren’t quite listening because you were thinking, “Wow, I wish I could give a talk as good as Katie,” remember the subtle and gentle suggestion of Pres. Uchtdorf and “STOP IT!”

Notice the opening phrase in verse 14, “Ye are the light of the world.” It doesn’t say, “They are the light,” or “Everyone else is the light,” or “For those with the light”… It clearly states without ambiguity that “You are the light of the world.”

It is a waste to hide your light because you think someone else’s light is brighter. It may simply be that their bright light is needed for a particular dark corner, and you dimming yours means it is unavailable for those that may need it when the time comes.

Our journey is unique, and those whose paths we cross and who we travel with are equally unique. As a sweet innocent teenager I’m simply asking you to consider taking a step back and appreciate the you that is you (imperfections and all) and honor what the Lord created. Most of you would never consider asking the Lord for a redo of your child or children--you love them passionately and unconditionally just as they are. You wouldn’t want them any different.

Somehow we have a different standard when it comes to ourselves justifying our envying under the disguise of humility and avoidance of pride. It is neither humility nor the absence of pride, but a lack of gratitude for one of the Lord’s amazing and unique creations gifted to the world in the here and now.

Be grateful for who you are. Be prayerful in discovering the uniqueness you have and the intention the Lord has for you with your strengths, talents, and weaknesses. Be mindful of His plan for you, your journey as the you He created.

I know that if you do this then you will grow closer to your Heavenly Father, and be more in tune with the Spirit. You will have a greater attitude of gratitude, and find joy and richness in your journey.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.