Every Good Thing

In our Stake Conference this weekend, Elder Holland (via broadcast) spoke of RESOLVE. "I don't want to talk about new year's resolutions. Because let's be honest - here we are the 17th of January and of the 6 resolutions you've made you've already broken 3 of them, seriously bruised 2 and are only barely hanging on to the last." Touché.

So, he spoke of the verb resolve - a commitment - and suggested we resolve to forgive. Yes, others - naturally. But more specifically and emphatically, he kept insisting that we forgive ourselves. "A negative view of yourself leads to a negative view of others and a negative view of life. You will be more willing and more able to see good in others if you can see the good in yourself." Again, touché.

"Every good thing you have ever done pleases Him. Every good thing about you and your character and your personality pleases Him." I tried to think of the good things about me and my character, but it was hard. Everything seemed to fall short of what I seemed to expect.

I turned to my husband for a little pity: "I can't think of anything good about me. What's good about me? I don't know that I'm a good anything." "You're falling right into the trap, you know," he said. "Instead of saying 'I'm a good mother' - which seems to be too big of a step for you, you need to think 'What am I doing to try to be a good mother.'"

And that made all the difference.
What I'm doing to try to be a good mother:
- I read an awful lot of Dr. Seuss books.
- I bathe him on a fairly regular basis.
- I make oatmeal for breakfast.
- I take him places and teach him things.
- I pray with/for him.
- I sing Happy Birthday over and over upon request.

See? There are plenty of good things about my effort to be a good mother (even if I can't quite say unequivocally that I am a good mother, at least I can be pleased with my effort - and I think the Lord is too).

So that's the thing about forgiving myself - for me it's about letting go of the ridiculous expectations (and consequent figurative flogging when I fail to meet those perfectly) and think instead of all the good things about my efforts to get there. And keep at it.
photo via usgennet.org


  1. On the drive home Steve said, I hope you learned something from Elder Holland today!

  2. And here I was hoping my husband had learned something (ha!)