Change can be hard. Life can be hard. But making changes in our lives is necessary as we grow, learn and begin to understand our purpose in life better. God expects us to become better people and to learn from our mistakes.

Think of a baby; a baby is cute, perfect and loved by his or her parents. A parent loves his or her children just the way they are; and because of that love, parents want their children to learn how to walk, talk, use the bathroom on their own, feed themselves, get dressed and get an education. It's the same with us and God. God loves us just the way we are; but He wants us to learn, make necessary changes and become who He knows we can become. He doesn't want us to remain stagnant or to do things that are detrimental to our progress.

Life is about making changes and gentle corrections. It's about becoming our best selves. We have to learn from mistakes and not make them again. Repentance is sometimes needed to fully make those changes in our hearts and minds.

Change means learning

As we learn more, it changes who we are. We understand the world differently. We can gain empathy for others. Learning from life experiences or from schooling helps us become who we are as individuals. Our lives are shaped by how learning changes us.

And because learning changes us, we need to be careful how or where we learn things. The media — television, music, movies, books and social media — can be full of things that pull us further away from God and who we can become. Partaking of media that is violent, sexual or full of other negative influences can damage our perceptions of what is right and wrong; it can desensitize us to evil. It can change who we are inside.

Conversely, seeking good media can help us make better choices, seek out more good and have a clearer understanding of "black" and "white" choices rather than seeing decisions as "gray" and of little or no consequence.

Change means when you know better, you do better

Once you learn the difference between right and wrong, it is then up to you to make correct choices. Doing what is right is not always easy. Pressure from peers or fear of what others will think can often prevent people from making good choices. But as you truly change, making right decisions becomes easier; it becomes more natural and a way of life. Changing for the better eliminates the last-minute decision-making that often leads to bad choices. When you know better, you do better; and that comes through true change.

Change often includes repentance

Part of learning and understanding why you need to make good choices involves repentance. When we've done something wrong, we have to acknowledge it, apologize, make it right if we have hurt someone else, and make it right with God. It is a change of heart and mind. Repentance is an action word that is centered around the atonement and change.

It's easy to get bogged down and think you've gone too far to repent and make changes, but it never is too late. God wants us all to use the atonement of Jesus Christ. After true repentance and change, God remembers our wrongs no more. The atonement changes our hearts and heals us. Religious leader Boyd Packer stated, "The thought is this: The Atonement leaves no tracks, no traces. What it fixes is fixed. " It just heals, and what it heals stays healed."

As God's children, He wants us to learn, grow, make positive changes and learn that repentance can change our lives for the better. He loves us just the way we are, but also wants us to become who He knows we have the potential to be. We can only become better people through making necessary positive changes throughout our lives.

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