Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page

Why compare yourself with othersA young man came to our home last week to sell us some knives.

I let him make the appointment with us because he was the son of a good friend, and he said that he would get credit towards scholarships, even if we didn’t buy anything from him.  I had no intention of buying anything from him, but I just couldn’t say no. I know, I’m a sucker.

He gave a great presentation.  I let him know that he was doing a good job, but at the end, when he was trying to “close the deal,” I had to let him know that we just don’t really have the need.  I didn’t see any point to spending a lot of money on an admittedly great product, when I am doing just fine with the stuff I already own.

I told him “we’re good, we just don’t need anything right now.”

In contrast to all being well in my kitchen, I didn’t feel the same with myself.

When everything is good, we often don’t feel the need to do anything differently, but sometimes when life is “not so good” it can be hard to know what to do differently.

I had been struggling with feelings of inadequacy. (Okay, so it really is an ongoing struggle.)  I know there are things that need to be improved in my life, but so often I have allowed that to be a source of beating myself up.  “Why did it take me so long to figure this out” , “What was I thinking when I continued to ….”

Then it got worse… I started to compare myself to other women and moms. It always seems like other moms have it all together, while I constantly struggle.

I read two books over this summer.  The first one was, I Am More Than Enough:Helping Women Silence Their Inner Critic and Celebrate Their Inner Voice by Robert Jones and Bryce Dunford. The second was Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma.

I enjoyed reading both of them, but “Cleaning House” became my free-time read.  (The book I keep in the car and read while I’m waiting for kids at tennis lessons, violin lessons, or doctor appointments, etc.)  It was very entertaining and I was learning from it, but I soon found myself feeling like a failure as a mom, because I was comparing my parenting with the things that she chose to do with her kids.  I found myself thinking “why didn’t I teach my kids these things while they were younger?”  “She’s right, these things are important, I should have done (fill in the blank) with my kids”  Then pretty soon I felt pretty worthless.

And you know what happens when you have that kind of pity party?

NOTHING!!

No one wants to join you for that. No goals get set or accomplished. I wasn’t improving anymore, I just felt like a failure.

Then I picked up my first book, “I am more than enough” and I realized that there was a balance that was missing in my life.  This books subtitle is “Helping women silence their inner critic and celebrate their inner voice.”  It’s all about comparing ourselves to other women, recognizing the damaging effects it can play on our psyche, and how to combat that habit and learn to recognize that we are all okay just as we are.

So as I was learning to make some progress in teaching kids new skills in parenting through reading one book, I was forgetting the teachings of the other book, in letting “me be okay with me.”

I recognized right there that something needed to change.  I needed to re-discover the things about me that are good.  I have done a lot of things “right” in my parenting, even if I have made some mistakes also.  For me, I needed to accept both truths.  The only way I am going to make progress is to realize what I have done that is good, and has had positive results, and use that knowledge to address the problems that I own in my parenting.

For example, when they were young, I read lots of books on parenting and tried to implement the things that I learned. I had rules in regards to how they could treat each other. We read together. We went to church together. We took time to play and do projects together.  As a result, all 5 boys get along with each other pretty well.  They value the friendship they have with each other and will most likely be friends the rest of their lives.

I’m now at the stage where I’m trying to help them become men.  Independent. Self reliant. Responsible. A few of my boys are already there, but I still have two at home, and I know first hand, how quick those last few years will fly by.  There are still more lessons I need to teach them, before it is too late.

Then the other night, as we were reading our scriptures as a family, I read these words in 2 Nephi, in the Book or Mormon.

24 Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!

25 Wo be unto him that crieth: All is well!

26 Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost!

27 Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more!

These scriptures really hit me.  Suddenly I realized that while it is important for me to recognize the good things that I have done, and that I am okay to be who I am, there is always room for improvement.  I should always be searching for ways to grow and become more and do more.Improvement and Gratitude

I made the decision that I would record my progress in a very simple way each night in my journal. (It has to be quick and simple or I won’t find time to do it)

This is what I have been writing.

Three things that I did right today:

Three things that I am grateful for:

Three things that I want to improve in:

If there are more than three, I save it for the next day.  By using this method it helps me to stay focused on what works, how God is at play in my life, and it keeps me reaching to become a little better each day.

So far, I have felt much better about my life as I record these simple things.  I think it keeps my ADD mind a little more focused, and it reminds me of my ability to progress with God’s help.  I look forward to the new school year, and the opportunities that I may have to learn along with my kids.

I am so grateful for the words of Christ that we learn through reading in our scriptures, and I also recognize God’s hand in helping me with the most important job that I have. That of being a mother. With his help I may have those wonderful moments when I can say “we’re good,” and know that means we are making good progress.

 

Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Email this to someonePrint this page

Miracles are all around usI heard a quote this week as being from Einstein.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.

The problem is that Einstein never actually said this. We would like to believe that someone who is known for their extreme intelligence said something so thought provoking. Have you ever thought about what you think a miracle is? Is a miracle something that seems impossible?  Is it something nice that happens that we would like to believe is divine?  Are miracles things of the past? Is a miracle even possible?

In church last Sunday, the question was asked to a group of children.  “What is a miracle?”  The answers they gave were examples of miracles in their sweet precious eyes.

“When my mom lost her keys and we prayed about it and she found them.”

“When my sister broke her arm and they thought she would need surgery, but when they checked it further they said she didn’t need it”

“When Jesus died and was resurrected.”

It was good to be reminded that these small children recognized divine guidance in their lives and the child who recognized the most important miracle of all.  The resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

After the children had all given their thoughts about miracles, the teacher said

“A miracle is something that happens that is both extraordinary and was brought about by the power of God.”

If you believe in God as the supreme creator, then you could live your life as is everything is a miracle, like the quote says.  But if everything is a miracle, then I’m not sure that you could say that there is anything really extraordinary about them.

In teaching the children about miracles we give examples like Moses parting the Red Sea, or Jesus calming the storm.  These are extraordinary events that can help to define miracles.  But what about in our everyday lives? Are there things that can happen to ordinary people like you and me that can be considered a miracle?

In John 16:24, Christ said

Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

I believe that God is a God of miracles. He wants to bless us. He wants to give us good things, and He wants us to recognize His hand in our lives as He works for our benefit.

Jesus taught us that

If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  (John 14:23)

Through living a life of faith and obedience to Christ’s teachings, we will feel their spirit with us.  We should feel welcome to ask for the things that we need and recognize when the Lord has intervened in our lives.

I think that when I slow down and begin to see the Lord’s hand in my life, I recognize how blessed I am, and that leaves me more open to ask for the bigger things that I need, allowing miracles to take place in my life. Those extraordinary blessings that the Lord gives to me when I can do no more than what I’ve already done.

Sometimes the miracle is in the trial that is removed from my life.  Like when a loved one is declared cancer free, when the doctors said that there was almost no chance for that to happen. But sometimes the miracle was just having that person in my life, even if for a limited time, and being with her until the day before she returned to our Father in Heaven.

Not all stories have a happy ending.   People get sick, some children live their whole lives with disabilities, sometimes families fall apart despite the best efforts and endless prayers of some of the members of the family. Sometimes we don’t get the miracle that we expected or desired. Sometimes the miracle is the calming in a broken heart that tries to remain faithful even as the trial remains.

I decided to start writing in my “gratitude journal” again this week, and I decided to add some things to it.  I think it could be helpful to begin documenting anything that I can see as a miracle in my life.  My hope is that through recognizing the miracles I will be better able to find hope in the future, and faith to take my problems to the Lord. By seeing and recognizing miracles, I will be reminded that He does truly care, and will be there to listen to me and to help me when I come to Him in prayer. I look forward to documenting the manifestation of God’s grace in my life.