I received an email this week that challenged me to write a newsletter once a week. What?! The idea being that if I knew I was going to be writing a newsletter, then I would pay more attention to what is happening and find some deeper meaning to some of the experiences I have. Well, I thought it was a great idea for my sister in law! So I forwarded the email on to her. When she responded by saying she was excited to write a month of newsletters, I took a moment to consider whether I also should take on the challenge.
The thought occurred to me that maybe this is how general authorities have so many stories from their lives that they can recall and tie into gospel principles. Maybe if I thought about it a little more, the Lord is actually teaching me truths through my ordinary, every day life as well. So what the heck, here goes!
Tuesday night Sabrina informs me she needs to do her hair in a bun mohawk for her theatre performance Thursday evening. Which naturally makes my stomach tighten because me and hairstyles…well, let’s just say they haven’t yet mixed.
So Wednesday morning I sit her down, and we watch a YouTube video “Stuffed Bun Mohawk”. It looked simple enough, so I parted her hair. And I tried to get my fingers to do what the lady on the video did, but I felt like I had no control over what they did. So we watched the video two more times because it LOOKED SO EASY; I must be misunderstanding a simple instruction. But no, every time I went to try it I felt smaller and smaller. So I watched other, similar videos, all of which said “easy”, “simple”. And every time I turned to Sabrina’s head, all of the little negative voices in my head screamed at me; and I was paralyzed. Honestly, tears were welling up and I wanted to scream at all of those people and hit a few of them. Because it was NOT easy! (Luckily my beautiful friend Cami was willing to step in and bun mohawk her hair for her performance).
As I sat there wanting to cry and disappear, I did take a few minutes to contemplate the situation. How often do people say things are easy, that you can do it; yet it isn’t for us, and we feel frustrated, anxious, insignificant or unworthy?
On the other hand, how often do we give the impression something is easy and that if you just try, you’ll be able to do it.
Like last week during our Relief Society lesson, a wonderful lady shared how she has learned to be specific in her prayers. And when she is specific, she receives amazing answers and sees miraculous results. And yet again, I wanted to get up and leave the room because “ha”! I have been very specific and been working so hard to be in tune and to do everything necessary to be “worthy” to receive, yet I have never been more frustrated at the lack of response I’ve been getting. In that moment, I felt small and confused.
Or when my kids are encountering something in their school work or their attitude, and I say “You can do this. I know you can! You just need to try.”. But the more I say that, the harder they cry. I’m being positive and encouraging, so get over yourself!
I could go on and on with examples. So what did I learn? That easy is relative; that I need to be more gentle with myself and with others; that maybe I need to step in and do it for someone because how they feel about themselves is more important than that they need to be able to do it right here, right now; that I might need to lower my expectations (gasp!) to allow for growth; that God gave us all strengths so we can help others where they are weak.
What will this next week bring?