When we think of the word “Integrity” we link it to the idea of morality, to having strong moral values and principles. And when we (or others) do something that “lacks integrity,” we tend to judge ourselves, adding shame and guilt to the fact that we missed the mark.
Did you know that there is another definition of integrity, which is equally valuable for us to consider?
The word integrity also means that when something has integrity, it is whole and complete. It is unimpaired, it is sound in construction. In other words, if something has integrity, it is working the way it was designed to work.
For example, if a box has integrity, it will hold things without falling apart.
If a refrigerator has integrity, it will keep food cold consistently and will stop it from spoiling prematurely.
If a bicycle wheel has integrity, it works. It goes around and around without being wobbly or touching the brake pads as it spins.
Now, suppose you hit a bump in the road, and now the wheel hits the brake pads every time it comes around to the spot that hit the bump in the road. Is there anything inherently wrong with the wheel? No. The wheel is still a wheel. It still has value. It is simply not working as it was designed. We call it “out of true.”
The spokes need to be adjusted so that it functions the way it is designed to function.
We wouldn’t say there is anything inherently wrong with the bicycle wheel, right? It just isn’t working.
The same is true for us. When we miss the mark, sin, or fail at something we try, there is nothing inherently wrong with us, although we certainly like to believe that there is. We often don’t see that we are simply out of true, just not working at our optimum level of which we were designed to work.
Instead, we add shame on top of what isn’t working, which just simply isn’t necessary.
An appropriate amount of guilt may be in order, but once we recognize our short-coming, it isn’t helpful to wallow in self-judgment and tell ourselves we “should” have done something different, or we SHOULDN’T have done something the way we did.
How about we stop that conversation and simply recognize that we are out of true and need to make some adjustments. There is no need for self-incrimination. There is simply an opportunity to clean it up.
If our short-coming falls into the category of a “sin,” we can repent. Simple as that. We can clean up the mess and give our word to God again and restore our integrity. This is what the power of the Atonement affords to us. It was never God’s intention for us to wallow in guilt and shame. That is Satan’s craftiest lie, that we aren’t enough, and it is never very helpful!
Being stuck isn’t any fun. How about we acknowledge that something is out of true and take the steps to step into what’s next. No shame or guilt is necessary. Peace and joy are waiting for each one of us.
It’s easier than we think it is. We are already uncomfortable, right? Why not be uncomfortable on purpose, for a much shorter time, and clean it up already? It feels SO MUCH BETTER!