I once heard a quote that said something along the lines of this: "The pain of sacrifice lasts only a moment. It is the FEAR of the pain of sacrifice that makes us hesitate to do it."
That was me. I was so scared.
Mostly I was scared of disappointing.
Of disappointing my parents.
Of disappointing my brothers.
Of disappointing my bishop.
Of disappointing God.
And it wasn't a wonder why I had that fear. I was something to be disappointed of.
But I want to express to you that quote again: "The pain of sacrifice lasts only a moment. It is the FEAR of the pain of sacrifice that makes us hesitate to do it."
There was a boy who loved me in all the worst ways. But tried to love me regardless. I was going to have to sacrifice that. And I was terrified to be alone.
There were two parents, who thought the world of me. Who thought I was a strong, independent girl that I really wasn't. And I was going to have to let them down. And that was a sacrifice I almost wasn't willing to take. Almost.
There was a bishop. Who I had lived next to me my whole life. Who was best friends with my dad. I could only imagine the disappointment when I told him. And that was a sacrifice.
And then there was Jesus Christ. The thought of him bleeding in the garden for the thing I had become? ...I would have rather been hit by a bus. I was so, so terribly scared of the punishment I was bound to receive for causing such awful pain on such a perfect being.
But guess what? The quote was right as ever. Though all those things were sacrifices. And they all caused me great pain - it was a pain that was microscopic compared to the happiness I now have.
Because God is not in Heaven, just waiting to punish us. He did not create this Plan Of HAPPINESS to cause his children pain. He WANTS you to change. And I have never been more surprised by anything than when I felt that. That he is rooting for me, even when I strike out. That He will send me comfort, even when I have just let Him down. That He will take the things you've just sacrificed, and give you something better.
I just couldn't believe it. Because I had always looked at repentance as a punishment. You know? "You did the crime, so now you're going to have to do the time." And of course you have to make amends with the people you hurt, and of course you have to work painfully hard to eliminate the temptation. BUT REPENTANCE IS NOT A PUNISHMENT. Repentance is a gift. God is not an all-powerful punisher. He is merciful. He is saving. And He is rooting for you.
The pain may have been great for a second, but here I am, a few years later, STILL reaping the blessings.
Repentance is not a punishment, it is a gift.