Light the World Day 21: Jesus Forgave Others | Melanie Burk
I am like every other mom—with hopes and dreams for my children, and a desire to do and be my very best as a mother. I pour my whole soul into it, and I have found that there are joyous days where everything seems to fall into place, and children are loving and happy, and all is wonderful. And there are also bad days where everything (and I mean everything) seems to go wrong! Recently I had one of THOSE days. One wrong thing had tumbled into another, and another. The morning had gone bad from the beginning, there had been spilled milk, tantrums over clothing, and we had been terribly late to school. The weather seemed to reflect our day- it was raining, and I had missed a special school concert my daughter was performing in; instead I had been in the car, wrangling a toddler who was throwing a tantrum....and, well, you just know the rest. It was just one of THOSE days.
I felt SO frustrated inside. I wasn't mad at my children; I know that they are little and doing their best. But I was furious at myself. The mom guilt was thick, and I felt hot anger fill me. The blame game in my head fired rapidly. Why hadn't I gotten up earlier? Why hadn't I been able to handle their tantrums more calmly and patiently? Why couldn't I keep it together and be on time like the other moms? What was wrong with me? And so it continued until I was filled with self-depreciating frustration and anger.
I wish I could say that this was a one time incident, but sadly this is something I have really struggled with in the last few years. It seems that the harder I try, there are just those days where I just cant seem to keep it all together! Not only with my family, but with my clients, and with my friends. I am a high achiever and I am able to get so much done. But especially during this season of four little children, the busy holidays and all that I have going—I absolutely can't seem to measure up to the expectations I have for myself. And sometimes I allow myself to get frustrated and angry at myself.
Ironically, on that same bad day, I had missed the post I was suppose to write for this LIGHT the WORLD challenge. (Another thing I was mad at myself about.) As I tried to gather myself and change my attitude, I looked on the calendar at my new assignment: "Jesus forgave others and so can You." Immediately I felt the tears begin to fall and I knew who I needed to learn to forgive: myself.
Somehow over the space of time, I've learned to rely on the Savior and forgive myself for my big mistakes, but I've started taking responsibility for the small ones. On those days where I can't seem to do anything right, I've convinced myself that its my fault, and that I could have done better. I don't want to pray to God, and bother him with a messy, horrible day. I tell myself it's my fault, my responsibility, my burden, and I don't want to burden Him with things I should be able to change on my own, and surely aren't important when there are so many great problems in the world.
Over the last week I have thought a lot about this-why is it so hard to forgive ourselves? How come I have so much grace, love and patience for family members, friends, and perfect strangers and none left for myself?
In the scriptures is says,
I give unto men weaknesses that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
— Ether 12:27
During these rough days, where my weakness is so abundantly clear, I've been applying this scripture all wrong. I've been letting myself think that it was MY work that would change my weaknesses. But that isn't what the scripture says. It says "my grace is sufficient for all." As I have prayed over how to start forgiving myself, and have more patience with myself that phrase has come to me over and over again. I need to let His grace be sufficient in my life, and realize that I just can't do it all, no matter how hard I hustle and believe that I am enough: I am simply not enough. I need to rely on His grace in all areas of my life.
Someone I greatly admire, Neill F. Marriot said "I am not enough. With Christ I am enough." This has been mind shifting for me—realizing that I will never measure up, and thats ok! I am just not enough, and I must rely on Christ for all details of my life—big AND small—and for all those messes I get myself into because I overcommit, over-schedule, and lack the ability to do all that I want to do. Furthermore, I have learned to forgive myself in my weakness and be ok with this knowledge that I just can't be enough, otherwise I am denying His grace in my life.
Another quote that has continually come to mind in my prayers is from Patricia Holland: "We must have the courage to be imperfect while striving for perfection." I think I've allowed myself to think that courage meant running harder, longer, faster, and failing less. This is impossible, and it's just not true! Now I know that bravery means more of recognizing our need for Christ and His grace, and relying and depending on Him for all details, and courageously forgiving and loving myself in all my failings. In short, I need to let go and let God.
In this season of business, I want to say to you what I say to myself: Believe in God's grace and forgive yourself! Do not let your weaknesses and bad days overwhelm you. Be loving to yourself—be your own best friend! I know that we can't possibly do all that we want and feel we need to do, but that if we turn to God, He will magnify all of our efforts- our awesome days and our weak and terrible days too, and He will make everything enough.