As I was tucking my little girl into bed last night, we were discussing how she needs to control her temper.
“I know- I try! Its just that its SO HARD!”
“I know,” I said, “Its hard for me too. But choosing to do only easy things doesn’t make us into better people, right?”
“Right.” She said with a sniff.
“You don’t have to be perfect- you just have to do your best. You just have to keep trying.”
She told me more about her day but even after I kissed her goodnight I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I need to heed the very advice I had just given my daughter. That happens to me a lot as a parent. “Control your temper” As I yell and slam a door. “Eat your vegetables!” As I pick out all the lima beans (aka legumes from hell). “Don’t be late!” “Wear a jacket!” “Practice piano!” “Don’t make fun of people!” Sometimes being a good parent makes me feel like a total hypocrite. But then, if I only ever asked my kids to do what I’m already good at the bar would be depressingly low. “Eat those donut holes children!”
A little over two weeks ago I was called to be Young Women’s President in my ward. For those of you who don’t speak Mormon, I have been assigned to oversee the teaching and activities of the teenage girls at church. It is an exciting and time-consuming calling- an enormous responsibility and one I certainly did not anticipate having at this time in my life. From the moment the bishop asked me, I have been plagued by self-doubt. I know someone else- many other elses- would be better suited to the calling. Someone more Presidential, perhaps. Someone who makes her own lasagna noodles and goes to PTA meetings and prepares adorable hand-outs with churchy-puns on them. Like “Bee-lieve!” with a hand-stitched bumble bee quilt for every person in class. Someone who doesn’t make fun of the hymn “In Our Lovely Deseret”. Someone who at least appears to have it together. Someone much better than me. I mean, you’d think this blog alone would supply sufficient evidence against my ever being a role model for impressionable youths. I sometimes wear fishnet tights to church. Its no secret that I watch The Walking Dead, that I listen to loud music, that I yell at my kids when they’re being anai (the plural of anus). No secret that I occasionally space everything I should be doing and read The Hunger Games series for a fourth time, or compulsively cheat at board games. People accept and even like me as “the slightly off but harmless underling” and I am very comfortable with that. I was very comfortable with that. Now I feel all lost and vulnerable. Like a lost and vulnerable baby owlet who suddenly discovers she has been assigned to lead and nurture a lot of other hormonal and unpredictable owlets. Where’s the mother owl? Nobody knows but we suspect predatory animals. Anyways. So I’ve been crying a lot- my emotions ranging from Peaceful Confidence to Overwhelming Panic. All these FEELINGS for a person who avoids I-15 and ordering Chinese food because they cause me anxiety. So if this new calling is giving me heart palpitations, why WHY would I agree to it?
Well. Because I love God.
And because I love the teenage girls in my ward. Because I have faith that I was issued this calling for a reason- even if I don’t know that reason yet. Because I know I will have help and that I’m really not as alone as I often feel. It is clear that I wasn’t asked to be Young Women’s President because the bishop mistook me for the most organized, energetic, or personable woman in the ward. And maybe my tights and media preferences and weaknesses don’t matter to God as much as my concern and love for others. I know I have a lot to learn and undoubtedly this calling will be a learning experience. I am unqualified and scared. Its going to be hard for me. But choosing to do only easy things doesn’t make us into better people, right? And I don’t have to be perfect- I just have to do my best. I just have to keep trying. And if I’m going to do this thing right I should probably stop making fun of “In Our Lovely Deseret” even if it does refer to children’s voices as being oh so sweet as my youngest daughter screeches “I’M BORED!” when in innocence and love like the angels up above “I WANT MY BLANKET!”they with happy hearts and cheerful faces meet!…
Pray for me.