No More Feeling Like a “Flawed” Person…

pat hollandFor years, when I’ve been asked to speak to a church group, I’ve shared the same quote toward the end of the talk. I’ve been quite surprised at the response. Many, many individuals have approached me afterwards to say that the talk or presentation was fine, but that they really, really wanted a copy of the quote. I suppose I could have saved a bunch of people a bunch of time by just sharing the quote to start with, skipping my lame talk, and having a closing prayer.

Of course I’ll share it with you! The quote is from Patricia Holland. She is married to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. I love Elder Holland, but over the years I have grown to love Sister Holland and her teachings. She is a gifted teacher/speaker with a pure testimony.

A little background will help. Elder Holland is known as a fiery, powerful, inspiring teacher. He seems to have limitless energy and is consistently offering hope to those who are tired or discouraged. If he and I spoke in the same meeting, I would cut my talk by 99% to leave him all of the time to share his thoughts. Almost anyone would do the same.

Here is the quote/thought/principle/truth:

For many years I tried to measure the ofttimes quiet, reflective, thoughtful Pat Holland against the robust, bubbly, talkative, and energetic Jeff Holland and others with like qualities. I have learned through several fatiguing failures that you can’t have joy in being bubbly if you are not a bubbly person. It is a contradiction in terms. I have given up seeing myself as a flawed person because my energy level is lower than Jeff’s, and I don’t talk as much as he does, nor as fast. Giving this up has freed me to embrace and rejoice in my own manner and personality in the measure of my creation. Ironically, that has allowed me to admire and enjoy Jeff’s ebullience even more.  

Somewhere, somehow the Lord “blipped the message onto my screen” that my personality was created to fit precisely the mission and talents he gave me. For example, the quieter, calmer talent of playing the piano reveals much about the real Pat Holland. I would never have learned to play the piano if I hadn’t enjoyed the long hours of solitude required for its development. This same principle applies to my love of writing, reading, meditation, and especially teaching and talking with my children. Miraculously, I have found that I have untold abundant sources of energy to be myself. But the moment I indulge in imitation of my neighbor, I feel fractured and fatigued and find myself forever swimming upstream. When we frustrate God’s plan for us, we deprive this world and God’s kingdom of our unique contributions, and a serious schism settles in our soul. God never gave us any task beyond our ability to accomplish it. We just have to be willing to do it our own way. We will always have enough resources for being who we are and what we can become. (LDS Women’s Treasury: Insights and Inspiration for Today’s Woman, p.98)

Now, I’m not going to analyze the quote or what I love about it. I just want to share one thing: It is tiring and discouraging to try to be someone else. Maybe, better said, it is tiring and discouraging to try to not be us. It does make you feel like a “flawed person” when you don’t feel like you are doing it as well as the neighbor, the other teacher, the last person who had your current calling, etc. It is just tiring. But I can testify, along with Sister Holland, that while we all need to progress (which often requires change) “we will always have enough resources for being who we are and what we can become”…

If, per chance, you feel like Sister Holland’s thoughts will help someone you know, share this…

Be encouraging,

BJM

These views are personal, and are not the official views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...
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