I guess you can call me naive but I always looked at the Atonement as a way to resolve problems that I’ve brought on myself. Like if I make a mistake, get in a fight, steal something, lie, etc (not that I do any is those things) the Atonement is there to assist me in making restitution for those things. I can apologize for lying to someone but that doesn’t clear the debt to God. That’s what the Atonement does, right? That has been my understanding of it up until a few months ago.
Recently I fell into a situation where I felt as if I had been attacked. It hurt me and knocked me back. In that situation I didn’t know how to handle it. Everywhere I went I walked around bugged about it (I’m not telling you what it was) and then one day I talked with my friend Derek and he asked me if I had tried relying on the Atonement, to which I was confused. I hadn’t done anything against God’s will to be in this situation. Why would I need the Atonement to get me out of it?
I asked Derek what he meant and his response simply “do you think the Atonement is limited to repentance?” to which I cautiously replied “Yes?”. This is when I learned exactly what I needed to learn at that very moment. Derek explained that the atonement is the great equalizer. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is there to make bad things good again, if we let it.
Letting the atonement do the work is the tricky part. What I was doing previously was similar to what I see in my kids. Occasionally my kids will argue. They usually come to me when they fight and then I ask them to explain the situation. However, sometimes, when Aubrey does something Mackenzie doesn’t like, Mackenzie will tell on Aubrey so I’ll start investigating and right then Mackenzie will hit Aubrey, which ruins everything I’m trying to accomplish. This was also my approach to fix my own situation. I was taking my own actions to fix the situation rather than relying on the atonement to solve the issue for me. (stop focusing on my parenting skills, that’s not what we’re talking about!)
So often we (I) think there’s something we can do to fix a situation we’re in. I went through stages thinking that I just had to do one thing more and everything would come back together the way I wanted it to. I hadn’t consider that the Lord has a say in my plans. It was after listening to Derek I finally understood that I didn’t need to fix the situation, I needed to fix me. I needed to make the things in my life right that were out of line, I needed to focus on only me. It may be selfish but you can’t be good for anyone else when you’re broken.
I did just what my friend recommended and in doing so my pieces fell back in place. I ignored the thoughts that I came up with to fix the situation and put my efforts into my kids, my work, my friends, etc. Over time I figured out that I’m not a bad person and that not everyone will like everything about me. I also came to the realization that it’s my place to do what I know to be right no matter what consequences it brings to me. I know, those of you who have actually read this far are shaking your head at me right now. I’m horrible, I know! I just figured this out. I’m just saying that the secret to happiness and smiling is to actually rely on God. In hard times focus on yourself and make sure you’re the person that you’re supposed to be. Be patient! God’s timing is everything. Rushing a situation only makes the results rushed.