Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Only Eyes That Count

There is a huge difference between being good enough and being perfect. Those who are perfectionists have difficulty seeing that difference, unfortunately, and so they allow despair and discouragement to derail their progress. Why is this so?

While I have a touch of the perfectionist in me, I am not incapacitated by it. Long ago, I realized this journey toward perfection commanded by the Savior, would take eons, lasting well beyond this mortal life.

That is not to say that, as a mother, I haven't had, and don't still have moments in which I wonder "Am I good enough?" As I watch my son or daughter flounder and struggle over a life issue, I can't help but ask myself, "What kind of mother am I? Couldn't I have prepared them a little better for this?" It's interesting to me that, other than "Mother of the Year" competitions, there is no ranking system for parenthood. We have to rank ourselves.

Writing is a different matter. There are ranking systems and plenty of awards competitions that serve to pat certain writers on the back, while causing others to doubt their own ability. We have the oft-disputed 5-star ranking system on Amazon and Goodreads, allowing perfect strangers to weigh in on the fruits of our countless hours of creating, writing, plotting, and revision. An author friend recently put forth her own list of "Do's and Don't's" for readers when it comes to ranking a book. Many authors feel as she does, but not all. I, myself, reserve the coveted 5 stars for those books that impact me profoundly, causing me to think about its contents for at least a few days.

But her point is valid. Those rankings make a huge difference to authors, not only in terms of sales but in terms of self-esteem about their craft. If we get a 3-star review or (shudder) even less, we can't help but ask, "Am I not good enough?"

As we approach Easter Sunday, the day when we most celebrate Christ's atonement and resurrection, let's remind ourselves that all that the Savior suffered in Gethsemane was a powerful response to that question: "Am I good enough?" His answer: "Yes." He tried us in the balance and did not find us wanting. His sacrifice was for every single one of us. No, we are not perfect, but we are, all of us, most assuredly good enough.

And then He broke the bands of death so that we might have eons with Him to continue our pursuit of perfection.

When it comes to ranking ourselves--as mothers, as writers, in anything, really--we cannot afford to listen to others or, sometimes, even to our own inner doubts, for we "see as through a glass darkly." His are the only eyes that count.

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