Developing Christlike Self-Discipline

Rather than focusing on our mistakes and losing hope, we can discipline ourselves with kindness in a Christlike way.

Photo by Krissana Porto

At the end of one long week, I sat quietly in a pew waiting to take the sacrament. The familiar words of the prayers went in one ear and out the other. I meant to think about the Savior and how I could better utilize his Atonement in my life, but I started thinking about my plans for the next day. After a few minutes, I realized how far my mind had wandered from the sacred moment at hand. I felt like a failure. Couldn’t I focus for just ten minutes on the most important part of my week?

Although I still get distracted easily during my personal and public worship, a tip from the Adjusting to Missionary Life handbook has changed my perspective on how I can improve my ability to focus. In the section “Resources for Managing Intellectual Demands,” one tip addresses this problem: “When you get distracted, kindly but firmly direct your attention back to your task. Do this as often as you need to.”

The instruction is so simple, and the words “kindly” and “firmly” especially apply to how we should repent. Rather than focusing on our mistakes and losing hope, we can discipline ourselves with kindness in a Christlike way. Christ gives correction with compassion while not dismissing the seriousness of our sins and weaknesses (see Doctrine & Covenants 121:43 and John 8:10-11). We can do the same!

Disciplining ourselves kindly and with hope includes patiently working on our struggles and turning to Christ—no matter how many times we make a mistake—because “as oft as [we repent] and [seek] forgiveness, with real intent, [we are] forgiven” (Moroni 6:8).

Find more tips about applying the power of the Savior’s Atonement and handling the various demands of life in the Church’s Adjusting to Missionary Life handbook.  This resource includes an activity that can help you identify specific challenges and solutions to adjust to different stressors in a variety of ways.


—Brittany Passmore, Latter-day Saint Insights 


Find more insights

Read or watch Michelle D. Craig’s talk “Divine Discontent” to learn more about how to repent with hope and self-love.

Learn more about forgiving yourself by reading or watching President Boyd K. Packer’s talk “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness.”

Find more tools to let hope into your life in Marissa Widdison’s Ensign article “The Bread and Water of Hope.”

Study Doctrine and Covenants 121 to gain inspiration about correcting others and ourselves with compassion.

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