Thursday, July 19, 2012

I Judge My Worth By What I Do

I've recently gotten myself into something of a mess. I've said yes to too many projects and am now so swamped I'm about to go crazy. Literally, I don't sleep, I don't have time to eat and I barely see my husband. I'm working full time, stage-managing a show (which is a full time job in and of itself), working as an intern for a non-profit doing communications and creating an index for someone that I've never met's family history. This is on top of the writing I normally do for the Exponent and other blogs. I'm not writing this to say "Look how cool I am!" I'm trying to figure out what motivates me to get into situations like this.

Part of my problem is that I want to feel I'm contributing to society. My job, while a good job, is fairly specific and can't really be said to add to the goodness in society. I catalog books, and while books are great things, putting book information into a libraries system just doesn't cut it for me in the do good for the world department.

The bigger issue though is that if I"m not doing something extra, something different, something useful, I feel like a failure at life. And my idea of is useful is pretty specific. The fact that I'm the person supporting my family financially doesn't feel important enough to me to make me feel like a useful person. I don't know why.

I'm beginning to wonder if my drive to do too much is based in the Mormon idea of earning salvation. In most other Christian traditions, salvation is free to those who accept it. They don't need to earn it through good works or perfection. But in Mormonism, we need to earn our way to heaven, by serving, being worthy, etc. We are only saved after we've done everything we can do. But then, because Mormons claims Christianity, we are also taught that all we do is never going to be good enough, so Christ fills in the rest. But he only fills it in if we do everything we possibly can. This creates a bunch of stressed out Mormons who do a lot of good but feel they haven't earned their way to heaven.

I have no idea if I believe in heaven or the Atonement, but I was brought up to do everything I could do. I wonder if that stuck; if I'm not doing every good thing I can possibly do, then I feel like a failure.

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything; just trying to figure it out.  

1 comment:

  1. The expectations we place on ourselves can be the heaviest weight of all. I felt completely exhausted just reading about your current workload.
    Sometimes we can overlook the deeds for the greater good which we are actually doing in our everyday, ordinary lives (and workplaces).
    Having read this post, I have no doubt you are doing this on a regular basis - the intent of our heart dictates our actions and interactions with others - you clearly have a desire to make a difference for the better - I'm sure others are benefitting from this.
    I have a very simple faith. I know I will never reach the 'benchmarks' of being good enough or worthy of salvation. I am so thankful this is not a pre-requisite for getting over the line (in my opinion).
    Be good to yourself, and the importance of taking time out to smell the roses should never be underestimated. Best wishes. Jeff.