Ep. 12 – The Holy Ghost from A to Z: *Encourages* You
Messing up can be hard. But the Spirit can encourage you to move forward, “growing from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.”
- The Holy Ghost from A to Z: What the Spirit Can Do for You (by Liz Kazandzhy) will be published in June
- Quote from E – *Encourages* You
- You may also need extra encouragement when you’re faced with your failures. Instead of turning to God in repentance, you might find yourself paralyzed by shame. In such situations, allow the Spirit to work on your heart, communicate God’s love for you, and drive away your shame. With the help of the Holy Ghost, you can truly learn to “cherish the gift of repentance,” and you’ll be able to “grow from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.”
- I share words of encouragement that the Spirit shared with me recently: “You’re human, not a hypocrite. God planned for this. Just learn.”
- This week, pay close attention to how God encourages you through the Holy Ghost, and write about those moments in your journal.
- Learn more about The Holy Ghost from A to Z
I’m Liz Kazandzhy, and you’re listening to the cozy little podcast “Latter-day Saint Book Nook,” where we talk about books from a gospel perspective. Whether fiction or nonfiction, religious or not, great books are like wells of wisdom just waiting to be drawn from, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. So if you love books, and you love the gospel of Jesus Christ, you’re in the right place. Come and learn from the best books to help you live your best life!
Hello, and welcome to my podcast! For those who are new, in between my book review episodes, I share short spiritual thoughts from my upcoming book The Holy Ghost from A to Z: What the Spirit Can Do for You. Every chapter is based on a letter of the alphabet, and today I’ll be talking about the E chapter, which is that the Holy Ghost can encourage you. So, as usual, I’ll share a quote from the chapter, share a personal story about when I’ve experienced this blessing from the Spirit, and I’ll end with a takeaway invitation to help you apply this principle.
So without further ado, here is the quote.
Quote from the E chapter
You may need extra encouragement when you’re faced with your failures. Instead of turning to God in repentance, you might find yourself paralyzed by shame. In such situations, allow the Spirit to work on your heart, communicate God’s love for you, and drive away your shame. With the help of the Holy Ghost, you can truly learn to “cherish the gift of repentance,” and you’ll be able to “grow from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.”
Pretty short but also pretty powerful. Satan is really good at paralyzing us with shame, but the Spirit is even better at speaking peace to our souls and reminding us of the incredible Atonement of Jesus Christ.
So I had an experience recently—a few weeks ago—when the Spirit gave me words of encouragement. And I have since been able to kind of “grab hold” of those words in difficult moments. So, I’m going to read to you a post I wrote on my Facebook author page where I shared about this mantra that the Spirit shared with me and how I’ve been blessed by it. Here it is:
“You’re human, not a hypocrite. God planned for this. Just learn.”
When I get depressed, I get REALLY depressed. It’s like the positive part of my brain shuts down, and the negative part goes into overdrive.
I’ve thought about what I can do to get out of that pit of despair once I’ve fallen into it. I thought about reading my personal mission statement, but when I do that, all I can think about is how much I’m not living up to who I’d like to be.
So, I decided I needed something else—a personal mantra. Something I can say to myself (even out loud) to at least keep my head above the water instead of drowning in my depression. And this is the mantra the Spirit helped me come up with:
“I’m human, not a hypocrite. God planned for this. Just learn.”
And here is why those words are so powerful to me.
1. “I’m human, not a hypocrite.”
I’m an author and a podcaster. I wrote a book about how to stay close to the Spirit. I often share spiritual thoughts on social media. And on my podcast, I constantly give advice about how to live the gospel more fully.
And yet I mess up and fall short ALL THE TIME.
Lately I’ve had this nagging feeling—surely from the adversary—of “Who do you think you are? One minute you’re talking about loving others, and the next minute, you’re yelling at your kids. You talk about the joy of repentance, but then you get angry because of your weaknesses. You’re a hypocrite who doesn’t even practice what you preach.”
And I probably would’ve kept believing that for a long time if it wasn’t for the Spirit putting that phrase in my mind: “You’re human, not a hypocrite.”
People who read what I write and listen to my podcast might think I’m some spiritual giant who lives a near-perfect life. But I’m not—and I don’t.
Yes, God blesses me with a lot of insights, and He’s blessed me with the ability to share those in an eloquent way. But that doesn’t mean I always live up to what I share. So does that mean that I should stop sharing it? No!
Because I BELIEVE it. I believe the gospel with all my heart, and I believe that the more fully we live it, the happier we’ll be.
I’m not a hypocrite—because I WANT to live the gospel and I’m TRYING to live it.
But I AM human, and that’s okay—because it turns out that this is all part of God’s plan.
2. “God planned for this.”
Elder Lynn G. Robbins said, “Repentance isn’t [God’s] backup plan in the event we might fail. Repentance IS His plan, knowing that we will.”
God knew we would not make it through this life being perfect. But He had a plan in which everything could still work out in the end:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
That’s His plan—a Savior, an Atonement, mercy, grace, love, repentance, forgiveness. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
That’s why Elder Bednar called repentance “a principle of hope and healing, not of discouragement and despair.” And why President Nelson called it “a never-ending privilege.” And why Elder Robbins described it as “God’s ever-accessible gift that allows and enables us to go from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.”
So, to remind me of all this during a moment of darkness, I chose that phrase: “God planned for this.” So I can remember that even though I can’t be perfect, I CAN embrace God’s perfect plan, and I CAN become “perfected in Christ” (Moroni 10:32) … eventually.
And what can I do in the meantime?
3. “Just learn.”
I can learn. Not judge myself and learn. Not hate myself and learn. JUST LEARN.
Because “each mistake we make becomes a lesson in wisdom, turning stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.” (That’s yet another great quote from Elder Robbins.)
After I turn my heart toward God in repentance, this part of the mantra helps me to stop looking backward and start moving forward again.
I can look inside me and around me to figure out why I did what I did—not with judgment, but with a sense of calm, compassionate curiosity.
I can turn every bad day into good data.
I can learn from my mistakes.
I can do better next time.
Well, if you’ve ever struggled with feelings such as mine, I hope this mantra helps you as much as it’s helped me.
You’re human, not a hypocrite.
God planned for this.
This Week’s Takeaway
Well, I hope you felt the Spirit encouraging you as I read that. And that’s my takeaway invitation for you: This week, pay close attention to how God encourages you through the Holy Ghost, and write about those moments in your journal.
Well, thanks so much for listening to this episode. As a reminder, my book is called The Holy Ghost from A to Z, and it comes out in June. If you type that into Google, you’ll find several places where you can pre-order it, including on Amazon and CedarFort.com, and you can also find out more about ldsbooknook.com/holyghost.
That’s all for today! Until next time!
Thanks for listening to Latter-day Saint Book Nook, hosted by Liz Kazandzhy! If you enjoyed this episode and you’d like to support the podcast, please share it with others, post about it on social media, or leave a rating and review. You can also visit ldsbooknook.com to stay up to date with me and the podcast. Thanks again, and I’ll talk to you next time!