We’re all so often asked to be more. Just the other day I was asked to be ‘more’ at least four times during normal church hours. More active socially within the ward, more loving and kind, more reverent before sacrament meeting, more prepared for the sabbath, a more effective visiting teacher, more modest (yet also more fashionable), more present, more more more…
The Problem With More
I think that “more” isn’t always helpful. It’s well meaning, yet forceful. And often it leaves us feeling inadequate. A speaker may want to call us to action in a way that doesn’t feel like a demand by phrasing the request as simply an addition to what we’re already doing. It’s made to sound reasonable. Like a small nudge in the right direction. Often, though, it instead tells us that what we are doing now – and who we are now – isn’t enough. This is a sentiment that Millennials hear every day from the media, our peers and our parents. Thanks to modern technology, we live in a 24/7 world, with little space to be truly alone or quiet. We are constantly told that we’re going about things incorrectly from almost every angle. Our generation faces unprecedented criticism that leave many of us insecure and doubtful.
With all of this circling my mind, it was easy to find myself completely convinced of my inadequacy the past few days. I found that Church hadn’t left me feeling uplifted and lightened as usual. Instead, I left that day feeling more burdened than ever before. It plagued me day and night. I couldn’t pick up my scriptures for fear that I wouldn’t do my reading ‘right’ or ‘enough’. This dug me deeper into a spiral of not-doing for fear of wrong-doing. Then I’d feel worse because I hadn’t done anything at all… Sound familiar? I was feeling dreadful and found myself crying out both figuratively and literally to the Lord in desperation for something, anything at all to ease my mind.
I left work one day feeling particularly low. It had been a tough day. A superior had made sure I knew I was inadequate in his eyes. Where I work, it’s not uncommon for me to grab one or two of the cakes and sandwiches going out of date that day to take home. That evening I had two sandwiches in my bag, I had planned to have one for dinner as I was home alone that night. I figured I would put the other in my fridge for lunch on my day off the next day.
On the way home, I passed a bag by the side of the road. There was no one around, but from a quick glance I could tell that this bag was all the belongings of a homeless person. A small woolen hat had been put in front of the bag in the hopes of passerby throwing in spare change. I didn’t think twice about placing one of my sandwiches in the bag. I had performed similar acts several times in the past – it wasn’t outside of my normal behaviour to do so. Then I carried on walking.
I got perhaps 6 feet away when I was forced to stop. A force hit my chest, like a hand above my ribs holding me still. I heard a voice say: “You’re doing okay”. I stood still in the middle of a busy walkway trying to process what had just happened. It was several seconds before I could gather myself to move. Just the night before, I had cried out to my Heavenly Father, begging Him to show me that I was doing okay. Now, I had received my answer. He let me be who I am, and then reminded me that who I am is already enough.
We Are Enough
More is great and never a bad thing to strive for. But, more isn’t all we need to strive for, either! Perhaps the next time you plan a talk, take out the word “more”. Find a more constructive replacement that doesn’t leave others feeling inadequate, but instead inspires them on to greatness. Encourage others to strive to be the wonderful individual that God sees everyday!
I may not be anywhere near perfect. I’m definitely lacking in some eyes, and there is much I can improve upon. But, I’m doing okay…and so are you.