Friday, September 19, 2014

Trying to Do Too Much

It took me a few days to watch it, but there's a new Mormon Message video out - "You Never Know." I'm not quite sure what to think of it, and I know others are wondering as well. I totally agree with the basic premise that you don't always know the affect your service has on others. I absolutely love the quote from President Hinckley at the end. I know it was meant to be inspirational, and it can be.

However, I was bothered by a few things, like where's the dad, and why didn't she say "no" to even just one of the many extra requests, and why did she give in and serve cold cereal instead of eggs, and how on earth did she get a science board put together in just a few minutes?

Basically, I'm grateful those types of days are in the past, yet I realize for my daughter and daughters-in-law, and many other friends, they're not. And so I want to leave something encouraging for you.

I'm assuming the dad was off on a business trip, otherwise he should have been leading family prayer. But have family prayer. (You can tell that was a habit for this family in the video, because the kids requested it.) Make it a habit. Morning and night. Even if it's loud and noisy and short!

In the last general conference, Sister Reeves said:

A friend recently cautioned, “When you ask the sisters to read the scriptures and pray more, it stresses them out. They already feel like they have too much to do.” Brothers and sisters, because I know from my own experiences, and those of my husband, I must testify of the blessings of daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening. These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes. 

I liked that it was because of family prayer that the boy in the video remembered he had a project due. Better then than later at school.

Don't be afraid to serve, but also don't be afraid to say no. One trick I learned that helped ease the guilt was to offer an alternative. For example, "Today's not a good day to take dinner, but I'd be happy to do so tomorrow," or "I won't be able to make 4 dozen cookies for the activity, but I could bring a bag of chips." It also helps to prepare in advance. Make the cookies on a day when you have plenty of time, and then stick them in the freezer for an unforeseen future occasion. (Also, remember that it is okay to say yes and change plans if the Spirit guides you to do so. That's another reason why inviting him into your life each morning is so important.)

I recently read another talk from the last women's conference that really stuck with me. This one was from Sister Wixom, and in it she said:

"As we strive to keep our covenants, our feelings of inadequacy and imperfection begin to fade."

She was talking specifically about temple covenants, but I think it applies to all covenants. I love that the key to getting rid of feelings of inadequacy and imperfection is found in honoring our gospel covenants. That's what is taught in the scriptures - put God first, serve others, keep the commandments, follow the Golden Rule, love one another, let your light shine, seek the treasures of eternal life, and on and on. It doesn't have to be paralyzing, it can be empowering.

We are daughters of a Heavenly Father. We have the help and guidance we need to reach our full potential. We just have to ask. And sometimes that guidance comes in the form of someone else asking for help. That's okay.


  1. I noticed a few of those things (from the video) as well that I thought why? As I see it media kind of summarizes some things and this can be displayed in a bit of an unrealistic sort of. That clip feels so much like what one week is like for me. Sometimes I am just so thankful when I make it through a day or a week.

  2. I watched this video yesterday and I had the same reaction. It was good that she was trying to help people, but if I could have changed one thing for her, it would have been to ask if she could take dinner over tomorrow. Then her kids could have had real food, she would have had time to listen to her son tell her all about the science fair (who is more important to her than someone else in the ward anyway), and she could have kept her promise to meet her cousin at the airport-- the only person she was truly committed to from the beginning of the day. What the video didn't show was how disappointed her cousin was. Sure, it was good to take dinner to the family, but was that the best thing for her day? And aren't we also asked to keep our priorities in line and simplify our lives? And not run faster than we have strength? I agree that they were trying to put out a good message, but I felt like it contradicted a lot of other gospel principles. Maybe this is naive to think this now, but even when I have more kids that are older, I never want to live my whole life like that! Stress! I'm grateful for the principles of stewardship that help me know when to say no and when to say yes. Thank you for your thoughts on this!

  3. I also had the same thoughts and this morning was telling Weston about how frustrated and sad the video made me. I asked why she didn't order pizza for the Caraways? Or say she would do it tomorrow? And I was really bothered that she gave in to her daughter and gave her cereal. I totally get the feeling of being overwhelmed and having too much to do, but I think that's when it's time to cut back and set boundaries because if we keep trying to be everything to everyone, then we certainly won't fulfill anyone's expectations or desires and we almost definitely will become exhausted and unhappy. I didn't like that they made President Hinckley's quote to mean something like "You never know what good you can do, so make sure you do everything." I don't think that's what he meant at all. Like you and Elizabeth said, it's about following the Spirit and setting priorities and making sure the most important things (family and personal scripture study, time with family, family dinner, etc.) happen each day.

  4. Amen!! I had so many of those similar feelings when I watched that video too. In fact, Megan, I thought of pizza too! I remember a time when somebody brought our family subway sandwiches, and it was awesome! It IS okay to say no. In fact our family avoids extracurricular activities for these very reasons. Our family comes first, not activities. I was very grateful for the examples of consistency with family prayer. Don't you sometimes regret that you can't pray for people in movies or videos like this, I wanted to pray for her, for her absent husband, the kids...the people at Helm's Deep, etc! Thank heaven we can pray over and receive comfort for our real lives. Love you all.