I’m not done yet. Or, continuation on a theme.

Your comments on Tuesday’s post made me feel happy and sad all at the same time.   Happy because Sister Beck’s words gave you comfort.  Sad because I wish we women weren’t so hard on ourselves. The devil is so tricky, twisting the freeing doctrines of the gospel and making us feel suffocated by them. He convinces us we’re not good enough if we don’t do it all.

Anyway, just as a continuation of yesterday’s theme, I wanted to share this excerpt from a VERY cool talk I just found today by Elder M. Russell Ballard. Read it. It’s worth your time. (Here’s a link to the whole article.)

My dear sisters, both young and not so young, speaking to you for a few minutes tonight is a distinct honor for me. I pray that the Lord will bless me that my remarks will be helpful to each one of you.

I am aware that you are a very diverse audience. Tonight I see beautiful young and innocent faces, shining with a zest for living. I also see white-haired grandmothers, who radiate a genuine love for the Lord. Undoubtedly some of you are newly baptized members, while others have spent their lifetime in faithful service to the Church. Among you are those who are married and those who are single, those who are divorced and raising your children alone, and those who are widows.

Many of you are healthy and happy and are in tune spiritually, while others bear the burdens of poor health and loneliness and may be struggling to find peace of mind.

Some of you very likely are striving to be “super-moms.” You feel a need to spend time with your husband and children. You want to be sure to have family prayer, read the scriptures, and have family home evening. You also feel the need help children with homework and music lessons; keep your home presentable; prepare nutritious meals; keep clothes clean and mended; chauffeur children and possibly their friends to school and to a variety of lessons, practices, and games; and keep everyone in the family on schedule, making sure they are where they should be when they should be there. And that is all within your family and home. It makes me weary just reviewing all of this! It doesn’t include PTA, volunteer service, or caring for family members who are ill or aged. You feel the need to protect you family from the many evil influences in the world such as suggestive television, films, and videos; alcohol; drugs; and pornography. You are committed to and faithfully fulfill you Church callings. In addition, many of you must earn a living because financial pressures are real and cannot be ignored. If anything is left or neglected, you may feel that you have failed.

To you who feel harried and overwhelmed and who wonder whether you ever will be able to run fast enough to catch the departing train you think you should be on, I suggest that you learn to deal with each day as it comes, doing the best you can, without feelings of guilt or inadequacy. I saw a bumper sticker the other day, sisters, that may say it all:

“God put me on earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind, I will never die!”

Remember, sisters, we all have our own challenges to work out while passing the tests of mortality, and we probably often think ours are the most difficult. Recognize limitations; no one can do everything. When you have done the best you can, be satisfied and don’t look back and second-guess, wondering how you could have done more. Be at peace within yourselves. Rather than berate yourself for what you didn’t do, congratulate yourself for what you did.

And sometimes, yes, we do need to better (usually only in those few essential items that we tend to overlook while we’re trying to save the world), but that voice from Heavenly Father that is meant to encourage change says, “You can do better, and I will help you.”  He does help.  I have felt His help to shape me in loving ways so many times.  So let’s give ourselves a break, ladies, and stick as close to Him as we can; He’ll pull it all into focus for us and nudge us in just the right ways.


16 thoughts on “I’m not done yet. Or, continuation on a theme.

  1. I love this! It reminded me of a time when I kept an “I’ve Done. . .” list, rather than a “To Do. . .” list. I would only write down things I had accomplished. Then at the end of the day, I could review it and congratulate myself on all I had accomplished rather than be reminded of where I had fallen short. Maybe I should start that again! 🙂

  2. I’ve had “Super Mom” on the brain this week – did you see my post from the other day?

    It’s tough. Because yes, I KNOW I can do better. SHOULD do better. NEED to do better. But that same motivating guilt can also be crushing. Like you said, it’s a fine line. One that the adversary uses to his advantage.

    To me, if you’re guilt motivates a healthy change, then it’s from the Lord. (Although He might call it “compelling” you to be better, not “guilting.”) If you’re guilt just depresses you and cripples any growth, it’s from the Dark Side.

    By their fruits shall ye know them.

  3. I think as moms we unconsciously subscribe to the world’s standards to do do do. Doing is great. There are many works we need to do. But some of these great works definitely take away from family and more importantly even our own time with our creator.

    I have a dear friend who was just diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Her diagnosis is grim. And she’s been SO busy that she neglected symptoms of being unwell and didn’t go to the Dr. I am sure its hard for her not to wonder – what if…

    If mom’s don’t take care of themselves spiritually, emotionally and physically we can still mother but perhaps not as well as God intended or as led by the Holy Spirit. I am not sure…

    I just know I want to be a great mom…be a great daughter of God…be a great wife…But I don’t think my HUGE to do list will bring me those honors.

  4. Women have a tough load to bear in this world. We not only need to look good, but be the best at everything. Competing against this “supermom” can be draining. When I was in school full-time with my first, I couldn’t help but feel down that I had not cleaned the house, made dinner, or kept everything PERFECT for my family because I needed to focus on homework. I learned a good lesson, mainly through blogging: do what you can and congratulate yourself on what you have accomplished. I think we all have our times when we compare, compare, compare. I think we should, instead, remember that we are all divine. Seeking to do our best is…the best thing to do!
    P.S. Thanks for the thoughts. I was tipped onto your blog and am enjoying it greatly! I love reflections on motherhood from other mothers!

  5. I have been pondering the same topic for a few weeks. Now that my children are off at school…I wonder…should I be doing more? Going to work? Volunteering? Substitute teaching? etc…the list is endless. The world is telling me to go go go go now that the kids aren’t here all day. Then I look around at my home and realize I have as much to do as ever…just not fix boo boo’s during the day. While I was trying to take care of the kids plus all the stuff of running a house, things were lacking. Now I hope to consentrate on being more efficient and running “life” in a smoother manner. If I get really good at it (ha ha) I can go and do all those millions of things the world has to offer. This has helped me feel less guilt. I am sure I will have to re read many times. Thanks!

  6. This reminds me of the home teaching message this month by President Uchtdorf. I just sent this quote to a friend that is dealing with some things that are overwhelming and hard. I loved these paragraphs from the message:

    “May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don’t reach beyond your capacity. Don’t set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don’t feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don’t compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones. The virtue of your own life will be a light to those who sit in darkness, because you are a living witness of the fulness of the gospel (see D&C 45:28). Wherever you have been planted on this beautiful but often troubled earth of ours, you can be the one to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).

    My dear sisters, as you live your daily life with all its blessings and challenges, let me assure you that the Lord loves you. He knows you. He listens to your prayers, and He answers those prayers, wherever on this world you may be. He wants you to succeed in this life and in eternity.”

    I especially love, “Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest.” So true. So simple.

  7. I also believe it’s important to get the right kind of help when we need it. Sometimes that list really DOES need to be worked through. I’ve been lamenting on my blog lately about the chaotic state of my house. Moved two kids out to college, moved two others to different rooms, then suddenly lost my dad and was gone for yet another week. And I came home from the funeral sick. But I had obligations I HAD to meet. Classes to prepare and teach. Groceries to buy. Basic necessities for my family to provide.

    And the chaos around me has been so stressful I can’t even pray without being distracted by it. When my well-meaning but a week too late RS president started sending people over with meals, it nearly put me over the edge. I didn’t need dinner. I needed help with my house.

    So finally I called two trusted friends, explained my plight, and before I could even extend the invitation, they were volunteering to come over tomorrow to help me finally dig out and get my house in order.

    We do have a lot to do. That’s why we need each other so much.

  8. Thank you for sharing this! It’s so important to celebrate what good we do rather than beat ourselves up for the things we let slip in the juggle of it all.

    Buried deep in my archives is a post called “One and a half perfect moments” where I opened with an epiphany from Mosiah 26: The community was witnessing “iniquity in abundance”and Alma was “troubled in his spirit.” He “inquired of the Lord,” and later it says he “poured out his whole soul to God”. (Been there, done that.) But what’s remarkable is his answer: The Lord temporarily ignored all the stuff that was going wrong and reminded him what was going right.

    He said “Blessed art thou” five times, each with a specific reason, a sign of progress, something that was right on target. He even praised him for the very act of asking. The story says that “when Alma had heard these words he wrote them down that he might have them.” (Ah, how we need to remember these streams of mercy!) God still threw in a plug for repentance and forgiveness, but not until after he had blessed him and praised him. And they “began again to have peace and to prosper exceedingly.”

    It is so good to remember that Heavenly Father pays way more attention to the stuff we do right than the stuff we’re not so hot at. (This is also a good parenting technique for us to remember when we’re dealing with our children.)

    Thanks for a wonderful reminder.

  9. I have a to do list and I put little things on it so I can check them off–such a feeling of accomplishment ; )

    I need to remember to just “deal with each day as it comes”.


  10. This is beautiful. I shared your post with my husband the other night, as well as my sisters and mom. And I plan on posting a link to it this coming week on my blog. It was just too amazing.

    My husband says the same thing, that we women are much too guilt ridden and need to focus more on what we accomplish, not on what we don’t accomplish. Now, if I could just remember that more…

  11. Pingback: Tribute to Sister Julie B. Beck « Diapers and Divinity

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