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.