(By Guest Author Mitch Borden)
In the book of Mormon there is a story of a prophet named Alma who is the son of another prophet named Alma. The second Alma is often called Alma the younger. He had three sons, Helaman, Shiblon and Corianton.
For most of my adult life I have been a big fan of Shiblon. I wanted to be like Shiblon. When Alma the younger was about to die and giving final counsel to his sons; Helaman who was to be the next prophet received lots of spiritual counsel and instructions, Corianton who had been wayward received a loving rebuke and lengthy instructions, and Shiblon got a verbal pat on the head equivalent to a 'good-boy'. I wanted to be Shiblon.
I certainly didn't want to aspire to leadership or to be in the limelight.
And I didn't want to screw up big time like Corianton I just wanted to do what was right and hope that someday somebody would tell me I've done a good job. That was my quiet secret desire. So much so that when I heard someone praising Shiblon I was jealous. He was MY hero. I, I was going to be like Shiblon, not this guy speaking at the pulpit.
Now let me change direction briefly and I will come back around to Shiblon.
Have you ever felt that you're not good enough? Like no matter how hard you try you always fail. Have you ever felt completely insufficient? Have you ever felt worthless that you will never measure up? Do you feel like your best just isn't good enough? Well let me put all of your questioning to rest. You aren't! You aren't good enough you are insufficient you will never measure up. And it's ok. That is the message of the Gospel. Or rather; that is why the gospel message exists. That is why I need Christ. Because I have spent nearly 2 decades trying to be like somebody I know nothing about (Shiblon.)
Shiblon probably screwed up every day of his life. I can say that because I truly believe Jesus Christ is the only perfect being to ever walk the face of the earth. I imagined that Shiblon was near perfect and I was hoping to be like him. That if I could try a little harder and be a little better and sin a little less that I could receive somebody's quiet praise "good job." But that is all a lie. I'm calling it the Shiblon syndrome. I think an overwhelming number of us are guilty of it. Cause we build up somebody we don't really know in our minds to be something they aren't and then judge ourselves for not being more like the fictitious version of somebody else. I'm done with that. I no longer want to be like Shiblon. I can be happy being like Corianton. Corianton made mistakes, we know that because at least some of them are right there in black-and-white for everyone to read. Well I have made mistakes too. I am far from being the perfect fictitious version of Shiblon I held in my mind. But just because I have fallen short and I'm not good enough or worthy on my own does not mean the story ends there.
As I said earlier this is why we have the gospel message this is why God sent his only son. Even though I've spent my life being taught this and have taught it to others for years and years; I am just barely really appreciating the fact. That until I accepted my own broken status. And my shortcomings and limitations I can never have the peace that he offers. I've held myself to the inaccurate belief that since I have accepted Him and repented that I need to be perfect now. I am so far from it. I am so acutely aware of my imperfections I get uncomfortable and it bothers me when I am praised for some bit of good I may have done. Because no matter how much I sacrifice, no matter how many profanities I refrain from shouting,no matter how much perceived good I do I am still imperfect in so many ways. The truth is I am insufficient. The truth is I am incapable of being better on my own. But He, HE is capable. He is capable of taking sinners like me and Corianton and making us more.
There's a famous verse in the book of Mormon that says if all men were like Moroni (a spiritual and military leader alive at the same time) then the very powers of hell would be shaken forever. Less famous are the following verses that say that Helaman and his brothers were no less serviceable to the people. Did you hear that? Helaman' brothers Shiblon the good boy middle child and Corianton the sinner. Corianton who is most famous for messing up, repented and became a force for good as strong as Shiblon, Helaman and Moroni. I am abandoning the Shiblon syndrome of judging myself by an imaginary perfect person. And instead I'm trying to recognize that I am on what I will call the Corianton course. I don't need to be perfect today. I would like to be, but for now I will have faith in Christ that he can turn me into who he would have me be.