“We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.” Dallin H.Oaks
Do you have any idea how liberating this statement is?
Since 2007, this has been my measuring stick for what I choose to include in my life and what I choose to focus on. This measuring stick has recently been seriously tested and I got confused about the importance of a couple of good things and their place in my eternal grand scheme of life.
I found something good and got excited about it. I started spending time with this “good” thing, and soon I was not doing the “better” thing – like finishing up a few details with our school preparations. I was so busy that I was not doing the “best” things – like being available to my children or my husband. I was too busy to take care of my responsibilities to my home like cooking dinner on time and doing laundry – and ultimately to my family since no one is happy when they are ignored, hungry, and out of clean underwear.
I kept telling everyone that this good thing was going too fast, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be that so heavily involved in this good thing, and feeling guilty about it. The promise of money was exciting, although an additional source of concern for various reasons. I felt uneasy about how to explain my concerns when several people kept telling me that they had prayed about and felt that this was the answer to my prayers. That made me feel more pressure – if it is the answer to their prayers, it was a good thing for their families and I felt funny about having qualms about the amount of time this good thing was taking from my family.
My dear hubby works long hours and is not the type of person to just take charge of all of my responsibilities, unless invited. We have good routines of helping each other and do it well – but face it: cooking is not his strong point or his desire after a long hot day at work. JitterBug is twelve and full of all the emotions and needs of a budding teenager who feels lonely and wants more – but hasn’t figured that part out yet – (and boy, do I remember that year of my life…) HorseyBug wants me to be available for talking and hugs – to watch a movie with her – and just be there in her life when she wants me. JuneBug and BittyBug want, need, and deserve a mother who is present in body, mind, and spirit. They want me to read stories, to play and giggle, to hold them, and to be enjoyed.
Finally, on Wednesday, I decided I needed to know what was the best thing to do for my family. I prayed specifically that I would KNOW what my answer was. That this lingering lure of the possibilities of making money could be placed where it needed to be in our lives – if this was the plan for our family that I could get a grip on all the areas of my life – as a wife, as a mother, as a homeschool teacher, as a dietary manager and cook, as a child of God who needs to spend time with Him, as a business person, as a friend, as a visiting teacher, as a Church member with a calling…the list can go on. I hate dealing with guilty feelings and the feelings of inadequacy.
That evening I decided to pull out two talks that have in recent years been my standard bearers for my personal decisions. An inspired talk from Dallin H. Oaks titled “Good, Better, Best” was on the top of the pile. As I read the first line: “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families”, an incredible sense of peace came over me and I knew what my answer was. I have called all the necessary people and removed myself from the money making part of this good thing. I feel no guilt. I feel no regret. No amount of money was going to be enough for my family to make up for the lack of time spent on our eternal goals.
I am still excited about this good thing, and thankful that I can use it. I am grateful that the Lord knows each of us and our needs and answers our prayers individually. I am thankful for friends who know that too and don’t judge me unfairly when we get different answers.
I spent a thoroughly delightful Friday with my children – we snuggled and watched a movie, we worked together, and I spent one-on-one time with each child – in the here and present mode. What a precious moment that money cannot buy.
I prefer my eternal treasures!
Here is an abbreviated video version of the talk Good, Better, Best if you want to watch it.