“Our future will be determined far less by our starting point and much more by our slope.”

art by Kenzie Jo

Gardeners will water and fertilize the spot they planted a Chinese bamboo tree seed for five years with no sign of growth above the surface. FIVE YEARS. And then, it will grow 90 feet in 5 weeks! Was the tree dormant for those five years? No, it was developing a complex root system under the surface.

If a room starts at 26 degrees and you slowly turn it up one degree, then another, no difference will show with that ice until you get to that magic 32 degrees—and then the ice melts. Change is seen. Was the energy used for those first 5 degrees waisted? No. While one degree showed the change more than others, no degree was more important than the other—all leading up to the moment change. (Examples found in the book Atomic Habits by James Clear)

We talk a lot about the scripture “poisoned by degrees,” but we can also be consecrated by degrees. One small action at a time. And although the change will not immediately show, it is there.

Elder Clark G. Gilbert beautifully touched on this principle with the parable of the slope. He stated, “Jesus Christ sees divine potential no matter where we start[…] Our future will be determined far less by our starting point and much more by our slope.”

Similarly, in D&C 121:33 it states, “how long can rolling waters remain impure?”

It is about our constant churning towards the Savior. Our constant turning towards Him that will produce great changes in us and those things around us.

Look at the saints—their enemy still kicked them out of their homes. Still kicked them out of the state. Still murdered their husbands. Still killed their prophet.

But the enemy did not prevail.

Their foundation of faith created a gospel that shot forth from the soil, creating the mighty, strong tree of the church we see today. A tree that will not be removed. 

Enemies could not stop the mighty waters.

It is the same for our lives.

With our relationships.

With our faith.

We can be consecrated by degrees.

And though the change may lie under the surface, it is surely there. Building a foundation that will shoot forth.

Don’t give up.

Keep your waters rolling.

It is worth the effort.

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