As a woman, a Mormon, a mother, a human – I am constantly coming up against myself as my own worst enemy. It seems that no matter how many inspirational talks I hear and get all charged up about, no matter how many good habits I begin and successful events, talks, or experiences I have, I am still left with that nagging feeling that it isn’t enough, that I am still convicted by the edict that help comes “after all you can do.” 2 Nephi 25:23 promises me grace and hope, but those five words are my albatross.
I’ve heard the talks, I know intellectually that I can only do so much and that little all isn’t meant to be a bludgeon . . . and yet it is. I find myself weeping in the silence of the night for my inadequacies, my fear that no matter how much I do, it will never be good enough to equal that looming all.
Those are my bad days. Most of the time I know that my all is different every day. When I’ve put in ten hours on different pursuits and still have more to do, I can easily shrug and feel good that I’ve done the best I could for the day. So what does “the best I could” really mean? Can it really be that fluid? Can one day’s “all” be much less than the next day and still be acceptable? I think it can.
I believe that life is as fluid as the river Jordan. We are not stuck in some Dead Sea of instructions, practices, and degrees of worthiness. Like the workers of the field who came late in the day as opposed to those who worked in the heat all day long, all receive their pay as promised. I do believe this, and yet. . .
This isn’t just a scriptural or religious difficulty. When do I spend enough time with my children or grandchildren? When is my home clean enough or organized enough? How much is enough in the bank, enough food stored, enough free time, and on and on. The only conclusion I’ve been able to be at peace with is that for me, enough is when I can tell myself “well done.” It doesn’t happen that often, but it does happen. Does that mean that we are not only our worst judges, but our best as well?
“Sometimes the part of that scripture that rings in our ears is “after all we can do,” and we hurry along through life trying somehow to be good enough. What that scripture is telling us, however, is that our efforts will never be enough, and we are saved through a monumental act of love.” – Maurine Jensen Proctor
- Do you think that perhaps knowing that nothing is ever enough is enough?
- Is the important thing not the enough at all, but the willingness to keep trying, keep doing good, continue being aware and progressing and reaching from good to better, and now and again actually arriving at best?