Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Pursuit of Perfection

Another subject that has been boiling around in my brain for some time.

On my mission, I was introduced to a rather insightful book called "Believing Christ" by Stephen Robinson. I was also told of a book call "The Continuous Atonement" by Brad Wilcox. Both these books explained the Atonement and what its intended role in our lives is.

Before I get into that, I read somewhere that cases of depression are significantly high in LDS women. The explanation of that is that we are told that we have to be Supermoms, get all of our callings done, do satisfactory scripture study, prayer and Family Home Evening, satisfy the kids and husband, keep our visiting teaching sisters taken care of and keep an immaculate house and yard.

Yeah, freaking, right. Anyone can tell you (in and out of the Church) it cannot be done. If all the legions of angels came down to help you, you might have a chance. But since that's not happening any time soon (at least, I doubt it).

And we tend to be very hard on ourselves. I am as guilty of this as the next person (ask my mission president and my companions - a few of them seriously started to question my sanity). We aren't perfect.

The beauty of it is - going back to my opening paragraph - we aren't required to be. At least, not all at once. Perfection is a process that is going to continue well after we have passed on from this life. We will always be progressing and growing. I will still be correcting typos in the next life and apologizing for misguided fits of anger (luckily, it doesn't happen too often). The Lord is going to give us as many chances as we need as long as we are trying. So, if I miss a night of dishes or if the dog poops in the living room and I can't find it - it doesn't matter in the long run.

That's the great thing about the gospel of Christ - there is always some kind of hope even when things have gone the way of the penguin (meaning "south"). It irritates me that so many dwell on all the negative aspects of life - as though there is no other hope to be had, so let's all smoke dope and die. I'll admit, I fall into that trap often enough (and I get plenty irritated with myself) - but there is always going to be a second, third and fourth chance. There is a balance, though. We do have to expend some effort, but it's worth it in the end.

So - be happy. It's trite and cliche - but I've found that cliches are cliche because they are true. Be happy because there is plenty to be happy about - even if your siblings are driving you nuts and the bank account is dry (it's called a recession. Real estate took it in the pants. Everyone has financial problems. Save your pennies and find something to laugh about.)

PS, One other talk I found insightful: "The Myth We Call Perfection" by John L. Lund. And this is actually on CD so you can listen to it in the car!

PPS, I didn't add these links because I'm being sponsored by Deseret Book or anything - I just wanted you all to be able to see what I'm talking about. Hey, I just told you to save your pennies - try your local library or borrow it from a friend.

PPPS, Mom - this is what I wanted you to read.

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