Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Scripture Challenge Week 28: "Good" as the Goal

I did  a lot better on my scripture study this past week. I read and wrote a little entry in my scripture journal almost every night. And that 5-minutes or so each day bought me a whole lot of peace and satisfaction as well as some very helpful insights.

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to truly fulfill our callings here on earth and how to know when we're doing enough. After our "Dare, Dream, Do" Power of Moms event (that I wrote about here), I've been re-examining my dreams a bit. While I'm so grateful for the amazing dreams that have come true in my life and the important realization that I am living many of my dreams, I've got a lot of life left to live and a lot of ideas and passions and hopes - and I'm just not sure which things I should be pursuing - and how hard and fast to pursue them.

I read in Helaman this week about Helaman urging the sons he named after their righteous forebears, Nephi and Lehi, to live up to their names:

Helaman 5:6-7 - "I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came ouf of the land of Jerusalem; and this have I done that when you remember your names, ye may remember them...It is said, and also written, that they [Nephi and Lehi] were good. Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them."

Above all the accomplishments I may achieve in this life, I think the most important thing I want people to be able to say about me is that I was good and that I did that which was good - little, good, kind things. Big achievements can lead to greatness and there's nothing wrong with greatness. But perhaps goodness is better. I think goodness has to do with HOW we do things - and how we KEEP ON doing simple good things, day after day, week after week, forever.

My husband is good. He works hard. He plays hard. And he does it all with kindness, integrity, patience. His dreams are simple and beautiful. His good works actually pile up to some great accomplishments - but he doesn't seem to notice that. He just does what what needs to be done and keeps moving forward with goodness. I want to be more like him.

I work hard. I work a lot. I work to nurture and teach my children, to create a clean, lovely and happy home, to make healthy meals, to create beautiful memories for my family, to be attentive to my husband's needs. I work to provide great resources for moms around the world through Power of Moms. I do a lot of good works. I've accomplished some nice things. And I've tried to do it all with kindness and patience with some fun thrown in there for good measure.

But I'm realizing more and more that when I focus too much on accomplishing big things, I can become less-than-kind and impatient and my "goodness" can be compromised. A focus on accomplishing big good things can mean that I miss out on enjoying beautiful moments and on listening to the Spirit and making good decisions about a new course of action when plan A isn't working out.

Goodness doesn't grow out of working towards greatness. Goodness grows out of doing lots of little good works with kindness and patience and being OK with accomplishing something different than we planned to accomplish. Goodness is nurtured in us when we're doing the dishes and two kids are squabbling and we stop what we're doing to really talk them through the issue - or when we set aside the computer to really listen to something someone wants to tell us - or when we slow down our work towards big things to do the little good things right in front of us with great love.

I'm realizing that perhaps biggest dream is simply to be good at being good.

And I'm also realizing that the phrase my parents taught us to live by during our growing up years, "Good is the enemy of best," needs to be set aside sometimes. Sometimes "Good is the best friend of Best" and focusing on really being good will make us be the best person we can be. Perhaps "Good" is the end goal, not something we get past on our way to "Great."


lacy said...

Saren, I like reading about your scripture study; it's very helpful. And I had a thought about your post. My Great-Grandfather was Harvey Fletcher. He used to tell a story about when he was around 10 years old, he was called up during a large church meeting impromptu to bear his testimony. He was very nervous and after standing at the pulpit for a quiet minute, all he managed to say was: "I'd rather be good, than great." And quickly sat down. He went on to become a well-known physicist and was credited among other things with the invention of the hearing aid. I recently visited his gravesite with my family and on his gravestone, it reads: "Good AND Great."

Tiffany said...

It's kind of like the 'good, better, best' theory. We can't DO or BE all of them all of the time.

Eyrealm said...

Interesting that you would write this just now because on the way home from your house the other night I was thinking that not only are you great but you are good to the core! You would drop anything you were doing and do whatever needed to be done, unless what you are doing is truly more important! Your soul is good to the core! Grandma J. would be so proud of you for that!

Thanks for the scripture updates. Love them!

Rachelle said...

Thanks for what you shared (and the neat comment by Lacy). I needed this line today, "A focus on accomplishing big good things can mean that I miss out on enjoying beautiful moments and on listening to the Spirit and making good decisions about a new course of action when plan A isn't working out."
Thanks Saren!!

Kathryn said...

Nice post, Saren. In the tug-of-war between "good" and "best" I side with Voltaire who wrote that "The perfect is the enemy of the good." This reminds me not to let a quest for perfection paralyze me. When I get too hung up on things being just right, I find I miss producing and enjoying a lot of wonderful things along the way. Hope today's a day filled with imperfect goodness for you and yours.

shawni said...

Love your thoughts, Sar.


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