Time for a game of "What If...?".
What If you were born to a faithful and loving family and raised in the Church? What if you attended Primary as a child, YM/YW as a youth and graduated from Seminary and Institute, then served and returned from an honourable mission before getting married for Time and All Eternity to your sweetheart? What if you did all the right things?
So, pretending that this has been your life, what are the little things that you would have done in your life today? What would you have done when you woke up? What would you have said to your spouse?
What would you have done getting dressed, getting children ready, going to work or school? What would you have done while driving or taking the train? What would you have said to your coworkers?
What would you do when you got home? What would you have said to you family, or done? What would you do that evening, when you eat dinner, and before you go to bed?
(Feel free to write these things down in your "Filling My Reservoir" journal, if you wish. These sorts of things are marvelous dreams!)
Looking over this list of little things that you would do, do you do them now?
If so, mazel! Keep up the good work.
If not, why not?
Over the years, I've had several conversations with several people about lifestyle choices. And they have, invariably, said to me, "Oh, it's easy for you. You were born in the church" or "Oh, well, you've always done that sort of thing," or "Well, I've had a lot of challenges in my life."
Honey, every single one of us has challenges in our lives, some of them so dire and powerful that it nearly killed us. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. Is put here on this earth to be tested. Sometimes the bad things that happen to us are consequenses of our poor choices. But other times, bad things happen not as a consequence, but as a challenge given to us by the Lord.
Regardless, it's unfair and self-pitying to think that we might be more challenged than someone else and we should be cut some slack.
Why should we use that as a pithy excuse for not doing or behaving or being the sort of person we, ultimately, want to be?
It might be that in the past you were abandoned, orphaned, abused, neglected, starved, forgotten, bullied and ran over by a truck. But why should that disqualify you from saying, "Today, I shall be a Disciple of Christ."
Yeah, the past happened. Sometimes it's regretful or painful. But will it disqualify me from making a choice today, right now?
A friend of mine, a few weeks ago, declared she and her husband were going to stop smoking. Alas, her resolve didn't last long. A week ago, she excused herself from our little gathering to go out for a puff.
Boldly, I said to her, "Don't smoke that cigarette."
Her reply: "You don't know what it's like. You've never smoked." She's right. I never have. Granted, that makes it easier for me to choose to not smoke a cigarette.
Yet has her past history of poor choices and bad experiences mean she can't choose not to smoke? No. She will always have that choice. "You can smoke the next one, if you wish," I explained. "Just don't smoke that one."
So what if you weren't born in the church and constantly nurtured within the arms of the Gospel, as it should truly be lived? Does that mean you can't live today as if you had been raised thus?
There is absolutely no reason at all that you can't behave today as if you were the noble Latter-Day Saint you aspire to be. You cannot be stopped if you don't want to be.
Excuses are the Adversary's tool to discourage you and beguile you to behaving less than you are worth. Stop making them.
This might not seem fair to you, but if you behaved today as if you had been a Saint your whole life (regardless of your past), you will get the blessings of being that Saint, because of today. That is the Saviour's way.
What If... I behaved today as a strong, faithful Latter-Day Saint, full of joy and the spirit of Christ?
Who cares what yesterday was like? This is today.
Choose today to make your stand.