We’ve had a sort of theme this week about personal revelation. It reminds me of some thoughts I had recently as I talked to my friend on the phone a few weeks ago. I could hear her sewing machine whirring away in the background. “I’m working on the ‘chastity part’ of my daughter’s performance dress,” she explained. (For Mormons, modesty is an important element of showing respect for ourselves and others, and honoring our covenants.)
I piddled around my house doing a few mindless chores while we chatted. And as I listened to her working away, I felt it…that painful realization of my inadequacies and inabilities, my weaknesses and even mistakes. A little side conversation — with myself — was brewing at the edges of my consciousness.
She amazes me! I wish I knew how to sew better. What will my daughters do when they need help with altering a dress?
I’ve felt tension rise within myself at many other times, too. It’s not just related to my inadequacies. Sometimes it’s from fear associated with important decisions pressing on my mind and heart. I felt it when I was a student trying to decide on a major. I felt it when I was deciding on where to start my career. I have felt it while sorting through possible solutions for health issues.
What an interesting decision. Should I be doing that in my life?
What if I haven’t found the right answer yet?
What if what I have chosen is actually the wrong thing?
I’ve struggled against the voices in my head countless times in my roles as homemaker and mother, too, especially when I compare myself to others.
Hm. She seems to really love having her children in that extracurricular activity. Am I robbing my children of a good experience because we don’t do that?
Oh, look at her house. I don’t even come close to measuring up to what it means to be a good homemaker!
Note to self: I shouldn’t invite her to my house. Her garden is amazing! All it seems I know how to grow is weeds!
Oh, my poor kids (or husband). Too bad I’m not like more like that woman. They’d be so much better off!
This complex gets even more complicated when faced with the reality that sometimes, in talking with or observing, or hearing from, or reading about others, there truly are thoughts that come that perhaps are legitimate nudges about ways I can do things better.
But sometimes these thoughts are nothing more than distracting, if not destructive.
I have been pondering the recent talk given by Sister Julie B. Beck a lot. As the president of the Relief Society of the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she has the responsibility to give us counsel and guidance (credit payton). I feel like I’m only starting to understand the importance of something she talked about, and has talked about repeatedly: personal revelation, or the process of seeking and getting answers through prayer and guidance of the Holy Ghost.
A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important.