Hello friends. Welcome to another episode of the Seedpodcast. I missed last week. I was so sick and didn’t plan ahead. I didn’t have something in the works and I had a fever and a hacking cough. I would probably still sound a little stuffy today, but I am back from the dead. Really. I feel like I lost a week. I think we’ve had the flu in our home, so I just let myself be a woman who was sick. I laid in bed a lot. I ate some chicken soup, and I am definitely on the mend, so I am back. It was the first time I’d missed a week for this whole time and we’re almost up to 40 episodes, so that’s pretty exciting.
This week I’ve been rereading a little book called let your life speak by Parker J. Palmer. He’s a Quaker teacher and I find the way he writes so poetic and really insightful. There’s a part in his book where he talks about these monsters that we all face. And you know, these monsters aren’t real physical things out to attack us, but they are things that happen in our minds and I thought I would just take his list of these five things and riff on them a little bit. I had a few of my own thoughts because they are really part of our human experience that we all encounter. We all deal with these monsters and it’s so helpful to know that these are things we all deal with. And it’s helpful to think of the truths that counter these monsters.:
The first one is a thought that continually rears its head. I don’t care who you are, where you are in life, what you’ve accomplished, it’s reoccurring. At some point in our lives we all think “I’m not enough or something is wrong with me. I’ll never measure up.” We can have a sense of real insecurity about our identity and worth. I want you to just accept the fact that it is true, that you are imperfect, right? There’s a lot of things that you won’t measure up to. You’re going to make mistakes. You have weaknesses, and you will fall short. It’s a natural, normal, even essential part of the human experience to see where we fall short and to feel like something in us is broken or missing because the truth is something is missing. We come to this earth and lose a lot, in my belief. We lived in heaven before we lived on this earth. We lived in the presence of perfectly loving heavenly parents. And then we come to this earth and there’s a big veil that separates us from our previous life, from our spiritual capacities, from an immediate and intimate connection with heavenly parents, from the certainty of our identity as children of God. And so we come to this earth and inevitably feel incomplete because we are incomplete. We’ve forgotten who we are and when you come to this fallen world in bodies that have natural carnal appetites that can get sick, that are forgetful, all of these things. But imperfect and incomplete is not who you are. It’s just the state that you’re in. It’s just the state that you’re in and that fact has nothing to do with your worth.:
You are of infinite worth and your worth is set. It’s not ever going to change. You are 100% lovable. You are full of potential and it’s not derived from what you do or how you look or any other measurement. It comes from the simple fact that you exist and that you are a child of God. I love this quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He said, “This is the paradox of men- Compared to God, man is nothing, yet we are everything to God.”:
This beautiful world is made for you! In the spring time especially, I just revel and glory in the rebirth and the new leaves on the trees and the blooming flowers. It’s so miraculous that it just keeps happening over and over and just for the joy of it, right? The trees don’t need to be beautiful. They just are. Oh, it’s so amazing and I love it that we need to just remember. Yeah, we’re broken and that’s okay. It’s okay to feel like that, but it has nothing to do with our worth.:
We need to really think about what our definitions of enough and perfection are when we feel like we won’t measure up. Measure up to what? We’ve got to question those expectations that we have of ourselves or our interpretation of the expectations of others. What we think someone else might expect and then are trying to live up to or measure up to that. We don’t even have a clear idea of what those things are that we’re measuring ourselves against. Obviously we won’t ever be able to live up to that. Right? What is enough? What would that look like? Can you even objectively define that. And I have another quote I want to read to you. I found this on a friend’s Instagram feed this morning and it’s a quote by Chieko Okazaki, and she says, “Jesus Christ is not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don’t need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief.”:
Okay, what even is the definition of perfection or perfect? Is it flawless? Or maybe the definition of perfection is things just as they are supposed to be? The reality is in this life, you’re supposed to make mistakes. In this life, you’re supposed to have weaknesses, and so the argument could be made that you are perfect. You certainly are enough. It’s totally natural to feel like there’s something missing that you’re broken, and that’s true. But the beauty is is that Christ is perfect and he understands you intimately and perfectly and makes up the difference. He fills in that hole.:
The second monster is this belief that life is a battleground. Do you feel like you are in a fight with your life or your body or the circumstances that you find yourself in? Maybe health or relationships, things you didn’t choose but just have happened in your life? Fighting and competition are exhausting. Life is not a war, but our resistance to what is happening can certainly make it feel like it’s a war, like it’s a fight, like our life is a battle and the nature of the universe is just opposition and battle. But here’s the thing. Pain is inevitable. Hard things will happen. It’s our resistance that creates suffering. Pain times resistance equals suffering.:
The truth is all things in the universe are working together for your good, so we just need to say “yes” to our lives. Our toddler throws a tantrum and we can just say, yes, this is the experience I’m having right now. I get to have a toddler having a tantrum. Or do you have an illness or even a chronic health condition? When those things happen, we just need to embrace them and say, yes, this is part of my experience. It’s not good or bad, it just is, and I can learn from this. I can grow from it because for sure I know that the universe is working together for my good.:
We need to say yes to our lives and give up the exhausting battle. The structure of reality is not a structure of battle opposition, or competition. It’s really a structure of cycles. There’s birth and death and rebirth and so we need some opposition. We need the winter so we can have spring. We definitely need to experience some pain, but we don’t need to magnify it into suffering. The only way we do that is by getting stuck in the story that this is a battle. Something’s gone wrong. This shouldn’t happen. Things shouldn’t be this way. The reason we know they should is because they are, and when we can say yes to it, we can totally eradicate that monster of belief that life is a battle ground. The reality is that things are working together for our good.:
Now the third monster is this lie that I’ve got to do it all myself or I need to fix this. We often think we need to fix problems. We need to fix our children, we need to fix our bodies, we need to fix relationships, or “I don’t do this, it won’t get done right.”:
The truth is that we’re all in this together and not a single person has the power to control any other human being other than themselves. No one controls the weather, right? There’s just things that happen outside of us and I promise you if you did nothing, the world wouldn’t fall apart. I think often, especially as moms, we can get trapped in the jaws of this monster– even on things just as temporal and surface as the way we take care of our homes, the way we fold laundry or clean a toilet– if we think there is a right way and I’ve got to do it myself. I remember being asked by a friend a long time ago when we were young and early married how I get my husband to do the laundry and the dishes and do so much work around the house? I just had to ponder that question for a while because I wasn’t sure if there really was anything that I was doing to make that happen. I think it was partly just his choice to do that. But I started noticing my friends or sister-in-laws being very critical of how their husbands did laundry or washed dishes or cleaned something. Right? They couldn’t do it right. They couldn’t do it right, and so they didn’t do it. They just stopped. If someone’s going to be criticized for the way they do laundry every single time they do it, they’re just going to stop doing it. And that was my secret sauce. I have a husband that does a lot of laundry and dishes and tidying up around the house, partly because he’s just naturally more organized than I am. But also because I don’t criticize how he does it. He’s going to do it differently than me and that’s okay because it’s getting done, and if I do nothing, the world will not fall apart. I don’t have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don’t have to do everything. Now in this little book, Let your Life Speak, Parker Palmer, calls, this attitude functional atheism. Thinking that I have to do everything myself is basically living as if God doesn’t exist. Ultimately we do need to acknowledge that there are things beyond our control, that there is a benevolent and loving God in control of it all and that things will work together for our good. We can let go of that burden of having to do it ourselves because we can’t and we’re not intended to. It’s a load that we get to share with our family, with our friends and with the Lord.:
Okay. The last two monsters are fear and the first fear is the fear of the natural chaos of life. Things change. And really the only constant is change. A wrench often gets thrown into our best laid plans, things that we could not ever even have anticipated. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t plan. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have goals or make efforts to create things the way that we want them, but when something happens that’s beyond our control we have to just kind of roll with it and accept that that’s part of life. We shouldn’t fear that natural chaos. We shouldn’t fear the falling apart because it’s from chaos that things are created.:
Chaos is the precursor to creativity and I’m so thankful for this realization. I can remember looking at an art catalog, I think it was for like Penland School of Crafts a few years ago. It’s one place I’ve always dreamed of going for a week long workshop. There were several pages of amazing handcrafted artistic jewelry and it had staged photo after staged photo of these beautiful things that people had created. Then later in the catalog it was a zoomed out picture of a workshop of an artist sitting and working. Immediately under his hands there was some order, but then all around him on the table was tools and supplies and sketches and scattered papers and cuttings of wire and just a crazy chaotic mess. Just looking at that picture switched the light bulb on in my mind. I was like, yes, that is me. That is totally how I operate. I am so good at creating a whirling dervish of piles and chaos. And it’s out of the chaos that order is created and we actually don’t get beauty unless we have the disorder first. So the natural chaos of life is the precursor to creating beauty and to create what needs to be there. It’s where growth comes from. It’s such a powerful realization to have that we don’t need to fear it. We don’t need to be afraid of change or things that we can’t ever predict, because they’ll happen, but they give us the opportunity to create even more abundance and amazing beauty.:
The last is the fear of failure. I tell my kids all the time, you can’t be good at anything unless you’re bad at first. Failure is part of how we learn. And failure can be a death of sorts, but when something dies, that opens up the opportunity for rebirth. We have to let things go, to have space to let new things in, and we can’t get up unless we’ve fallen down. We don’t need to be afraid of failure because our worth is set. Your worth isn’t contingent on what you do. Trying and trying and trying until you’ve done something well feels good. And that’s why we do it. We do it to gain some mastery, to have an experience, to see what’s possible. But you don’t have to be worried about being a failure if you fail at something because you are of infinite worth. You are a child of God and nothing you do or don’t do will ever change that.:
And when we let go of being afraid of failing, we can have so many more experiences. When we can hold on to the truth that we are of infinite worth, then we can have some bumps in the road and we can fall down and get back up. We don’t have to be afraid. We can just go forth with some bravery, some courage, and some hope for the possibilities of success.:
So let’s just summarize one more time. The monsters and the ways we overcome them.:
The first is the thought that I’m not enough, but the truth is that you are a child of God with Intrinsic Worth. You are enough. And that doesn’t change.:
The second monster is the belief that the universe is a battleground in life as a war. But the truth is that all things are working together for your good. The structure of the universe is not a battleground. It’s cyclical. There’s birth, death and rebirth.:
The third monster is feeling like the ultimate responsibility is mine to make things happen or to fix things. And the truth is we’re only asked to do what we’re able to do and then we can trust the rest to other hands.:
The fourth is a fear of the natural chaos of life, but we don’t need to be afraid of that because chaos is the precondition to creativity.:
And the fifth is the fear of failure. But by allowing something to die when it’s time has come, we create the conditions under which new life can emerge. Failure is a kind of death, but that gives opportunity for new doors to open new possibilities and another chance.:
I hope you have a lovely, lovely Easter weekend. I just want to end by saying how thankful I am that I know I’m not enough and that I don’t have to be because Christ is, and that this time of rebirth and renewal is a beautiful reminder of His reality and the partnership that I can have with Him in my life.:
Okay. So I’ll just share again the title of the book. Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer. It’s a little book and it’s an easy read, but there are so many good nuggets. He went through a period of clinical depression and he talks about, finding meaning through that experience. He is a leader and a teacher and has so many good things to share. Let me just read a favorite quote and this one’s just right up my alley. He says, “Self-care is never a selfish act. It is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on this earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.”:
So that’s my resource recommendation for you this week. Parker J Palmer’s book, Let Your Life Speak.:
Thank you friends for being here with this week. I would love it if you could go into iTunes and subscribe to the podcast and leave a rating and a review. That would be so great. And if you love what you hear on the podcast, share it with your friends. That would be great too. You can come see me soon at the Latter-day Saint Home Educators conferences we’ve got one coming up in Williamsburg, May 15th through 17th and then a couple of weeks later at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, May 29 through 31st. I’ll be speaking at both of those. At the one in Logan. I will be doing a full day seminar. That will be awesome. So hopefully I’ll see some of you there. If you know someone that lives close and is homeschooling, you could share this with them and maybe they’d like to come see me there. You’ll go to LDSHE.org to register for those conferences. They’re great for you and for your youth ages 12 and up. That’s the big thing I’ve been working on lately. And as always, you can do yoga with me Monday morning at 7:00 AM eastern on the Seedpod Yoga Facebook page.:
Happy Easter, friends talk to you soon.: